Musings of a Godless Liberal

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Solstice, Christmas and what it all means to me… December 22, 2011

Filed under: Atheism — Hope @ 9:36 pm
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I am not Pagan. I am not Christian. I am an atheist. And yet I still celebrate Solstice and Christmas. I do this not because of any mystical beliefs or in remembrance of ancient mythology. I do it because I appreciate symbolism and enjoy creating meaningful memories and traditions with my family. I don’t need a divine reason to do so.

I know I also don’t need a holiday but it helps create the feeling of a connection to something larger. As we celebrate we know that a lot of other people in the world are also taking time on the same day to create some meaningful memories of their own. As fellow citizens of humanity we prepare together, we anticipate together, we celebrate together. We are connected not because of a supernatural being but because of our common desire to be so. I am so awestruck by this idea that bringing a god into it seems almost cheap.

My son lighting his Solstice wish lantern

My daughter releasing her Solstice wish lantern.



Welcome September 18, 2011

Filed under: Atheism,Politics,Writing — Hope @ 3:39 pm
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Just what the world needs, another blog. Another person pushing their ideas and opinions about the nature of things out into the cacophony of voices that we are already deafened by. Well, thankfully I’m not writing this blog for the world; I’m writing it for myself.

You see, writing is my therapy. It helps me spew forth all of the random things floating around in my thoughts and then organize those thoughts into a philosophy or set of principles by which I guide my life. I have another blog where I also write for myself (though I do admit to taking great pleasure in knowing others are reading as well) but I am limited there. I have opened that blog up to friends and family who may or may not know that I’m an atheist. Who may or may not dismiss my spiritual and/or political views based on some long ago incident which they think is my motivation. Who may or may not ostracize, judge or become confrontational with me in my daily life. I suppose I should be strong enough to say a giant “FUCK YOU!” to any and all who would do such a thing but I’m not. I don’t like confrontation but I also don’t like keeping things pent up inside. So, instead I write. I’ll do it here, anonymously, on the topic of religion and sometimes politics, especially where the two overlap.




Filed under: Atheism,Relating to believers — Hope @ 2:52 pm
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Yesterday I attended a memorial service for a friend’s mother. She was only 50 and the last several years of her life were spent battling a disease that she knew she couldn’t defeat. I was lucky enough to meet her a few times and was able to immediately sense what a giving, loving, positive person she was. I also know that her children and grandchildren adored her and she loved them unconditionally. Her friends and family talked about all of these things but, in spite of the abundance of wonderful things that could be said about this lovely woman, the majority of the service wasn’t about her at all; it was about heaven.

Heaven is the concept that makes it difficult for many people to give up religion. It is one of the things that holds me back from confessing  my atheism (or pushing the issue after a confession) to a few important people in my life. It was also one of the last things I was able to let go of during my transition. The idea of heaven is so important that a few books (each of which are laughably transparent in their use of emotional manipulation, IMHO) have soared to the best seller list lately. People who are not religious by any stretch of the imagination are still preoccupied with the idea of heaven.

I don’t believe this preoccupation is because people want their mansion or streets of gold. I don’t believe it’s because they want eternal life. While immortality is probably a significant factor, in my experience it isn’t the driving force behind the idea of heaven. The thing that makes heaven nearly impossible to release is the idea of letting go of our loved ones and accepting that we will never see them again. It is accepting that their last moments, no matter how horribly painful or confusing is really the end. It’s difficult for me to stand my ground and try to convince people otherwise because it seems too cruel when someone is grieving. When my friend, who knows I’m an atheist, looked at me imploringly and wanted to know if I believed her when she told me her mother-in-law sent her a sign that she was taking care of the baby she’d lost five years ago I could not bring myself to tell her no.

Instead I found a way to be honest but still, hopefully, comforting. I told her that I believed in the possibility (though in my mind I qualified this with very slim) and that I don’t know everything. This is the same thing I say to my husband about his parents. He is far from religious but is also not an atheist. The idea of his parents simply being gone seems too much to bear so I don’t push the issue. My mother, who is also not overly religious, clings to the idea of not only seeing friends and family again but also that they are somehow happy and secure now. I can’t possibly be the person to take that away from her so I remain silent about my beliefs. There is a part of me that feels dishonest when I do this but another part that feels it is the right way to handle things, at least for now.

I’m sure I don’t have many readers at this point but for the few who’ve stumbled upon this post who are also atheists, I’m curious: How do the rest of you handle these situations? Do you stand firm in your beliefs, even with the grieving? If so, how do you handle it compassionately? If not, do you feel dishonest or guilty about holding back?