Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A year as an atheist

From Religion News Service:
This Easter, Teresa MacBain will mark an anniversary that’s uncommon for an ordained minister — her first year as an atheist.

Last March, MacBain, now 45, stood at a podium before hundreds of people in a Maryland hotel ballroom at the national convention of American Atheists and told them that, after a lifetime as a Christian and 15 years as a pulpit pastor, she had lost her faith. ...

If there are any pastors there who find themselves perched on the edge of going public with their own loss of faith as she did, she will have some advice to give them.

“Go for it, but be prepared,” MacBain said from her home in Tallahassee, Fla. “They should be prepared for unexpected love and acceptance from the freethought community and they should be prepared for the worst from friends and family and people you would have never imagined. ...

“The freethought community just wrapped its arms around us,” she said. “Not just me, but my whole family.”

That includes her two adult sons and her husband, who is still a Christian and stood by MacBain through her change of heart. He has become a regular at weekly freethought meetings where she said his beliefs are respected. ...

For almost every gain, there has been a loss. The biggest, for her, has been the many friendships she lost, some decades long.

“I don’t think anybody is ever prepared for that,” she said. “It is something I still deal with. When you care for somebody, the caring doesn’t go away because they have removed themselves from your life. That does not happen. Those have been very hard things for me.”

Another low: the emails, messages and phone calls from people who wish her harm. Anonymous people have threatened her with violence and rape.

“I had to shut down one of my email accounts because I could not stand to open it anymore,” she said. “I was a mess.”

Just imagine that. Not every atheist is a good person, and certainly not every Christian threatens violence against people they disagree with, but I have to think of all the people who tell me we can't be moral without God. Ha!

And you know, it's not just the threats of violence and rape, either. I don't know a single atheist who'd abandon a friend because they became religious, not one. But non-believers commonly lose friends when they come out of the closet, and sometimes lose their families, as well.

It's not everyone, of course. Her own husband is still a Christian. But just try to tell me how we can't be moral without 'God'!

PS. I've blogged about Teresa MacBain before. Here, for example, is her talk at the Oklahoma Freethought Convention last year. It's quite interesting.

No comments: