If you use my words on your blog, please credit me as Godlessgrrl, with a link to my own blog at http://Godlessgrrl.blogspot.com. Thanks.
What was the final "trigger" that convinced you to become an atheist?
I didn't leap right into atheism when I de-converted from Christianity. I was actually a neopagan for awhile, until I realized that if one deity doesn't make sense, neither do the rest. For awhile I wasn't sure that I was anything at all, so called myself an agnostic. I didn't make the leap into atheism until I had a verbal altercation with a Christian online.
I had one of those moments where I sort of involuntarily stepped outside of the situation and was watching it unfold. And as I watched the behavior of this Christian and saw the things she was saying, it suddenly became clear to me that this believer was convinced that she and her God were of one mind - because her God was nothing more than a projection of her own mind. It occurred to me that this was true of every believer, including myself when I believed.
Then it occurred to me that this was probably some odd form of ego-worship: if God is simply an extension of one's own ego, and one worships God, then that's really just a roundabout way of worshiping oneself. And if one's going to do something like that anyway, then why bother with the middleman, so to speak?
There are other reasons why I am an atheist, but that was what tipped me over the edge for sure.
How did your decision to become an atheist affect your life?
Well for one thing, I had to figure out how the world worked without involving a deity anymore, so I got more materialist and more naturalist on that. I also got less anxious and less self-hating, and loosened up a bit more. I got somewhat more hedonistic, mostly just by giving myself permission to enjoy myself without shame. When I figure out a political or ethical or moral problem now, I can't rely on a holy book or the simple answer "God says so", I have to actually think and use my head to work things like that out, so I use my brain more. I value life more now because it's short, and I don't believe in an afterlife anymore. Stuff like that.
Most of my values didn't really shift that much. I still find family and relationships important, I'm still socially liberal, still a capitalist, still a feminist, still value education, still want to travel and see the world and enjoy life. My politics are still all over the map. Once I left religion I think it got easier to allow my values to be what they really were, because I wasn't trying to force myself to fit into a mould that some deity would find more pleasing.
I'm lucky as far as relationships go; I didn't lose any because of my lack of belief. My family were a bit shocked in the beginning but nobody's cut me off or condemned me for it. I didn't lose any friends either, or lose any jobs, or anything like that. I live in the Pacific Northwest though, which is one of the most Godless regions of the nation, so I think that's part of why. Religious convictions are a private matter here and most people are pretty worldly.
That's it in a nutshell.