Friday, January 20, 2012

Atheism and Homosexuality

I am often asked to what extent my atheism is linked to my homosexuality. It would be a lie to say they are not connected at all. However, my path to atheism occurred independent of anything having to do with me being gay. I am sure plenty of my readers are thinking to themselves "that is bull". Many people have said to me "you must be an atheist because you are angry at "god" for making you gay, or because religion and homosexuality don't mix." But I assure you that it is the truth. My path to atheism was an intellectual journey, while my path to acceptance of my sexuality was an emotional one.

As I wrote in an earlier post, my finale 9 years of religious life was very much based in fear of a scary, short tempered, intolerant god. This fear kept me from asking the obvious questions that in the end led me away from religion. I remember one time in synagogue on the Sabbath, we came to the "prayer for the sick" and I saw some people talking during the reading of the prayer. I thought to myself "now the sick people might not get better because they need all the prayers they can get." What a dumb thing for me to have thought! It is as if I imagined god thinking to himself  "this person is going to die because only 1,000,000 people told me how great and loving I am, and I really need to hear that from 1,000,002 people." But actually I did not imagine that. I did not question the idea that more prayers equals better results that had been taught to me by my teachers and rabbis. It was taught to me and I accepted it as fact.

I only learned to start asking questions when I started to study at university. I started my BA in history back in 2007 and it was a life changing experience. I was exposed to philosophies and historical facts that that I never knew before. Most importantly of all I was taught to always ask questions and to never take anything you read at face value. These new lessons allowed me to look at my life and the world and come to my own conclusions.

While my becoming an atheist was not caused by my being gay, my becoming an atheist made it much easier for me to accept that I am gay. Walls that once existed were torn down. What was taboo was now not. Of course that is another topic for another post. Keep reading :)


  1. It's a pretty wild thing, the way the brain develops. Abstraction doesn't come until after concrete thinking and so at the tender age of, well... pretty much anything less than 20, kids accept, as fact, what they're told. I feel like it's not until later in life that we grow a brain capable of saying "hold on a second!"

    But it's the scariest thing to give up on all the "facts" that make up the foundation of your life. Kind of like in cartoons when the waiter pulls the tablecloth out from under the cutlery and candlesticks. Everything might fall, but... it usually doesn't. You give up the "facts..." pause, breathe, exhale and realize "I'm still standing." Powerful stuff.

    I think I'm pretty tolerant, but I have a really hard time with extremely religious people who haven't taken the time to explore religion and what it means to them PERSONALLY, and rather accept it because they've always been told to.

    Do you ever get the feeling like a true and honest and proper appraisal of religion and life can't help but lead to the conclusion of atheism?

  2. I have found in my conversations with religious people that if they are truly willing to listen to the arguments they will agree. However, their "faith" keeps them within the religion. They will say things like "there are things we can't understand" or "God makes it like that to test us." And once the conversation deteriorates to that level there is no point in continuing.

    It is very scary to realize so much of what you have been told over the years were false. The very foundation of the world is not what you thought. There is no god up there judging you, so you are fully responsible to come to right conclusions on your own. I believe a lot of people just cannot handle that.

    It also seems internationally as logic and humanism grows, religion grows and becomes harsher in response. I am scared to think of how countries like Israel and the US will look in 30, 40, 50, 100 years from now.