Atheist Labels can be Confining

I’ve been a blogger for almost two years. When I first “came out” as an atheist, I started with a broad statement “I’m not a Christian anymore.” I realize that was a little ambiguous but it’s okay to sort out your faith or loss of faith as you go, piece by piece, day by day. There’s no right way to become an atheist.

I immediately ran to all the atheist communities online, hoping to find…I’m not sure what I wanted to find-answers, new bff’s, deep discussions? I visited just about every atheist online community, including the assholes on reddit.com/r/atheist (and they are truly assholes), and landed in Think Atheist. I liked it the best, but my interest faded with time. All of the communities serve a purpose, but few people had stories like mine (former reverends join a coercive religious group; minister for seven years; can’t date, etc.) so it was difficult to find people to relate to. I started blogging more about being atheist and as it turns out there were a lot of agnostic or atheist or skeptic friends on my Facebook, so that ended nicely for me.

Blogging is something that requires you to categorize yourself and label yourself, mostly so people can find your expertise or opinions in the vast sea of blogs. Of course when I came out, I wanted to rush to label myself as atheist…because I was.

How did everyone else do it? Oh, big red A’s? 

Ew.To be honest, those red A’s that everyone puts on their blogs are just tacky. And then there’s the rumors of Richard Dawkins being sexist. I’m feminist before I’m anything because I left the church for being so damn confining and oppressive to WOMEN, so when I heard that, I definitely wasn’t a fan and won’t be wearing the Dick Dawkins red A or anything related to him.

Plus, my writing is much more comprehensive than just atheism and I think that’s what I don’t get about the atheist community. Aren’t we people with a wide range of talents and interests? Why just stick to one single subject daily? It’s almost as boring as Christianity and the same old recycled sermons. Yawn. I would bore myself to tears if that’s all I wrote about everyday. To be honest, I started this blog to get my story out and I’ve attracted quite a large amount of Christians. We don’t necessarily get along all the time, because they don’t like my profanity or my attitude, but I still try to find a way to offer them resources because I realize they are hurting because the person they trusted most (a clergy person) abused them or misused them.

I get it, the word atheism is a label and sometimes that’s important. But there’s something important to me about the ability to change and be flexible, especially after being so tightly wound as a fundamentalist. When people ask me if I’m an atheist I like to say that I can be agnostic, atheist and anti-theist all in a weeks time. If I ever become comfortable with medication meditation or something spiritual in nature, then I’d like to explore that without another label being in the way (living life as a “I love Jesus. Do you?” Christian will do that to you).

3 thoughts on “Atheist Labels can be Confining”

  1. “The ability to change and be flexible.”  Not everyone can do it, and its hard to understand why. It’s not necessarily defined by intelligence.  We live in an age of labels, that’s why I try to avoid them all. Once you’re labelled, the “labellers”think they know how you think…and if they disagree with you, they discount what you think. 

    I was raised as a catholic before I ran from its anti-intellectualism as a teenager.  I started a blog a few months ago, and I refuse to categorize myself, even though all the social media “experts” say that’s what you have to do to be successful. Another “you have to be in a box” admonition…and precariously close to the do’s and don’ts I heard from priests many years ago.I admit its hard to stay flexible in a society where people seem to make lightning fast judgements about you. But I keep trying…

  2. I found this post by accident while researching for a college assignment. Very entertaining. 🙂 My husband and I have dropped the Christian label as well, but we haven’t lost our faith in “God.” We just understand “Him” quite differently these days than we were raised. If you ever get a wild hair, check out my book (just for kicks or for kindling) “Raising Hell: Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire.”

    Btw…I have made some amazing atheist friends in my journey (one I met online even edited my book for me), and have discovered that, unlike I was told in church, they are not clawed and fanged, they don’t push little old ladies in front of buses or hold seances and animal sacrifices in their basements every weekend. 😀

    1. Julie,
      Thanks for stopping by. I love when people go through a reawakening of their faith, so to speak. It’s amazing how many doctrines are man-made, but it’s so difficult to see that when we’re sitting in churches that force feed us.
      And no, atheists aren’t typically as people expect them to be. 🙂 This is true.

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