Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists
That description is taken straight from Wikipedia (so excuse the links and the notations). I am an Atheist. I do not believe in any God. I do not practice anything religious. I do not celebrate religious holidays (how they are celebrated for any particular religion.) I celebrate Christmas, which to me, is a holiday of giving and spending time with your friends and family, not Jesus' birthday. I celebrate Easter, with egg dying and candy, not the rising of Jesus from the dead. I do not attend church or read from a bible of any sort. We do own two religious books. Da Jesus Book and The Qur'an.
I became an Atheist about 10 years ago. My parents went to church before I was born. I was blessed or something after I was born (not baptized). I went to a Christian school for preschool and kindergarten. After a long break from church, I started going to church with my mom on a weekly basis. There was a time when I thought I believed in God, but I wasn't sure. There was a lot of back and forth on my part with religion. There were too many unanswered questions and I wasn't too keen on listening to some guy in the sky that no one had ever seen. I didn't like the idea of living my life as dictated by some people who wrote a book. I was conflicted in the fact that this book and these people said things were a certain way, yet science has proven time and time again that things were a completely different way. After my mom said I didn't have to go to church with her anymore (I was notorious for falling asleep during the sermon) I continued to try to have faith. I read my teen bible that my mom had bought me. I continued to try to believe in something I couldn't see.
Ultimately, I came to my own conclusion that I was not a Christian. I did not believe in God. In fact, I did not believe that any deity existed...in any shape or form.
Another reason I am put off by religion, especially Christianity, is because of the...well...let's face it...the nut jobs like the Westboro Baptist Church. The people who believe that their way is the only right way. The people who kill and harass other people because of their life style or their religious beliefs. The people who disrespect people who don't have the same beliefs as they do. Those people turn me off from Christianity and religion. The people who believe that gays and lesbians aren't entitled to the same treatment as heterosexuals. The people who believe life starts at conception and that abortion should be illegal. The racists. The pedophiles. The people who use religion as an excuse to do horrible things. (Please note that I am all for people having opinions...what I am NOT all for is people using the bible to make ridiculous accusations and hate on people for NO REASON.)
I am not saying that religious people are inherently bad. Both my mom and mother in law are Christians. I love and respect them both. Personally, I think my mom is epitome of a good Christian woman. I really do. And I love and respect her for that. I don't tell her on the phone that being a Christian is stupid, because I respect her and her right as a person to believe what she wants. While she may not like my choices or beliefs, she does not disrespect me. She doesn't tell me that I'm ridiculous for believing there is no God.
There is a certain stigma behind being an Atheist. Most Christians think that Atheists are bad people. That we have no morals. I can tell you that is not the case. Sure, some Atheists are bad. So are some Christians....along with Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, and Wiccans. Bad people are just bad people, but not entire religious groups. I try my hardest to live a moral life...I don't cheat on my taxes (though that's mostly in part because I have no taxes to cheat on since I don't work. Ha!), I don't go around stealing or assaulting people. I think I'm a generally nice person...though I do have a tendency to get a little irritated when people are ignorant and I put my foot down and make my opinions known....but that's not because I'm an Atheist, that's because I have a lot of opinions. I try to raise my kids to be happy, healthy individuals who can contribute to society.
“No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.” -- George H.W. Bush
That's my deal. I'm an Atheist. I try to be the best person I can be. And I'm sorry if you think that me not believing in God is offensive. It is not my intention to try to offend you....and if you are offended by my lack of faith, then maybe you should do a little more soul searching and get better acquainted with yours. Personally, I believe that if you are offended by the fact that I am an Atheist, then you aren't very secure in your religion.
The bottom line? Please show me some respect. No, your preaching and telling me this or that about God isn't going to magically make me a believer. Telling me that I'm wrong or that I'm going to hell isn't going to make me a believer. In fact, the likelihood that I will stop talking to you is significantly higher if you do these things. I don't tell you that there is absolutely no God because I believe that religion is something that people need to come to their own conclusions about. I respect your right as a person to believe whatever you want, and I would expect the same from you. I won't pretend that I'm not an Atheist. I am an Atheist through and through...I even got a tattoo....its on my arm for all to see. It says "infidel" in Arabic.
in·fi·del (nf-dl, -dl)
n.1. Offensive An unbeliever with respect to a particular religion, especially Christianity or Islam.2. One who has no religious beliefs.3. One who doubts or rejects a particular doctrine, system, or principle.
I am an Atheist, and very proud of it.