I was raised in an extremely religious and conservative family. At fifteen always went to church and at sixteen I started having major disappointments regarding the doctrine. I was against certain dogmas and did not understand their bases. At seventeen I realized that religion was turning me into a love-shy guy, horrible with women. I was very fearful regarding superstitions and demons. Sex, to me, was something full of guilt. At that time I read a book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. It was the first time I had a vision of comparative religion. After that, I never stopped learning. I became a card-carrying atheist, but never had the courage to expose this. I live in Brazil, one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and atheism is received here with actual violence. Exists in popular culture the idea that atheists are potential criminals or sociopaths. It is dangerous to be openly atheist and even the State being theoretically secular, in practice things are quite different.
After reading the book and watching Richard Dawkins and the Meaning of Life I gained a huge force to be openly atheist. He shows such thing is possible! Now I advocate by legal means the right of freedom of speech in Brazil. British and American atheists gave me a lot of courage, specially Richard Dawkins. I’m an aspiring writer and I want to dedicate my art to show people how great is life once you abandon religious belief.
My personal experience in Atheism has been very rich, and what I noticed this time was that, by abandoning religion, I found an unbelievable freedom. I don’t fear anymore sin nor punishing creatures of religion, no hell, no heaven, no longer fearthings of life. No more guilty related to sex. Those who wish to become atheists I say: go ahead. You will not regret. Do not be afraid to abandon the faith. I know it’s scary because we are entering an uncertain trail and only few people venture this ground, but I quote Campbell by saying “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Abandoning the religion will change everything in your life. You’ll feel so much freedom that you will never want to set foot in a church again. Take a look in Mr. Dawkins works and study, it is a life-changer.
A hug to all atheists in the world. Keep moving forward!
Special thanks for Mr. Dawkins.