I said in my last post that "god" cannot hurt me in my disbelief. That is true. God can no more hurt me than a 5 year old's imaginary friend can. But, people who believe in that god can.
I'm not speaking here of physical violence which is all too real. We need only look at Jihad, Clinic bombings, or gay bashings to understand that. No, what I mean is that the well wishes of believers can hurt people at times.
When I received my transplant three years ago next week it was an amazing event. It happened quickly after I was listed and the recovery process really is something of a medical miracle (in the sense only that it is an awe inducing feat of technical skill). You are very sick and within a few weeks are healthy and active after a long illness.
Being in the south during that process almost everyone I met said something along the lines of: "It's a miracle and God was looking out for you He has great plans for you!" It sounds innocuous enough on the surface but it assumes quite a lot and puts a lot on the shoulders of someone who has been through a terribly traumatic experience.
But, now I will come out again for a different reason. I am an atheist. I will pause here while you gasp...
Better? Good. It's probably an anti-climactic one as well but it's important for me. For years I have described myself variously as gnostic (due to my flirtation with an early form of Christianity) or agnostic. Agnostic was always a nice dodge since it didn't seem to put people off quite so much. However, in all honesty I was really an atheist.
Long ago I gave up a belief in the god of my childhood. Yet, I'd never had anything to replace that belief and no real way of explaining why I didn't believe to others. So, I kept looking for some form of religion that would somehow bridge my disbelief or allow me to believe. It's amazing what we do to fit in. I'm also one of those people who despite a strong will and short temper does try to please everyone around me whenever possible. I am a natural peacemaker because I want everyone to like me.