A while ago, I tried to write a post showing the absurdity that is my life by proposing a hypothetical situation in which the roles of Christianity and atheism were reversed. In order to express just how much Christianity was forced on me at school, I wanted to say, “Imagine being a closeted Christian who had to take classes on atheism, sing songs about atheism, read books on atheism, and attend atheist church.” Quickly, I realized that this entire situation is flawed because by nature, atheism doesn’t operate in the same way that religion does.
That post turned into my argument for why my college should require each student and faculty member to sign a statement of faith upon enrollment or employment. In hypothetically reversing the situation, I realized just how unusual it would be if a school required anyone to sign a statement of disbelief. In my experience, atheists are typically accepting and would allow anyone to believe what they want, so forcing anyone to not believe in god would be particularly uncharacteristic.
With that being said, I can’t help but try to treat atheism in my life the same way that people treat religion. Many people I know have small collections of Christian books, so in my eyes it is only fair to have my own collection of atheist books. My college classmates wore clothes with Christian references all the time, so I bought myself a shirt with the atheist logo. (And I now have an entire merch store of my own designs.) I’ve seen hundreds of coffee cups with bible verses scrawled on them, so I’ve got one that says “Atheist”. Hundreds of blogs focus on various aspects of Christianity, so mine is all about atheism.
In trying to treat Christianity and atheism equally in this way, I realized that since atheism is not a religion, and the mere fact that it is a lack of belief (to some, a negative belief), this just doesn’t work out the same way. You can’t replace something with a lack of something. For example, a while ago there was a trend going around with Christian YouTubers to make videos about “My Morning Routine with Jesus,” and I was thinking of how one could counter it with an “atheist morning routine.” Would an atheist replace their morning bible studies by reading arguments for Jesus mythicism, or would they ignore religion altogether? Granted, this is why we have things like secular church.
My fiancé and I look forward to having truly secular Sunday mornings come November by skipping church together. But is it not hypocritical to skip church just to sit home and celebrate atheism and the very fact that you’re skipping church? How productive really is rebellion just for rebellion’s sake? I would be the last one to say that secularism and skepticism aren’t worthwhile interests, but they should be for the right reasons. I read and write about them because I enjoy them, but I’ve decided that atheism activism out of spite isn’t healthy. If I read a book on atheism, it shouldn’t be because everyone else is reading the bible and I don’t want to feel left out. It should be out of genuine interest.
Although I never truly believed in god and didn’t have an entirely full-fledged deconversion, I know that for many people, religion can leave behind a hole in the shape of interests, meaning, and morning routines. The solution to filling that hole, however, is not to dwell on the fact that you’re irreligious; it should be to fill it with something else entirely. This could really be with anything: playing music, being with family, reading books you love, cooking, fitness, art, fashion, science, technology, you name it.
The real opposite of having a coffee cup with a bible verse on it is just having a coffee cup without a bible verse on it, not necessarily an atheist quote. The opposite of having to sign a statement of faith isn’t a statement of atheism, but rather no required statement at all. And the best alternative to attending church is getting so caught up in the life you’re living right now that you forgot church was even going on.
24 thoughts on “A Morning Routine Without Jesus”
I think you hit on a good point. It reminds me of the thought a lot of the uber-religious I know have that if somebody who’s not religious or is an athiest was in charge of government, they’d do drastic reversals on society that were on the way to make Christianity illegal, or make those “disbelief” statements like you were talking about in the hypothetical. Hell, that’s what a lot of the Chick Tracts I read growing up talked about, that you must be a Christian and avoid others (or convert them) if they weren’t because everyone else was leading you on the road to hell.
I wonder if these particular Christians are so threatened by that hypothetical because they know if it was really their world and they were in charge, they would demand all people profess Christian loyalties. It’s projection and a half, so they can’t see it any other way.
And since atheism doesn’t consist of rituals and songs and gatherings and quotes and all, yeah, I think not engaging in a “morning routine” thing works. They won’t understand, anyway, from the sound of it.
The best part of waking up, is jesus on your cup 🎶
“And the best alternative to attending church is getting so caught up in the life you’re living right now that you forgot church was even going on.”
That’t it, exactly. In a way, it’s a null state. It only requires what you put into it, not what you’re leaving out.
Being an atheist in America and having to deal with believers, is similar to a psychologist having to deal with narcissists and schizophrenics. We know they are crazy, but they can’t help their delusion, so it better to be nice, or ignore them.
Hi, CA, I would really love to know, what logo does your atheist T-shirt have on it? I wasn’t aware we had a logo. In fact, I was not aware there is a “we!” Atheists just are, in my way of thinking. We have no real need, or at least I do not, to announce to the world “I am an atheist.” As you point out, a blank cup is much better than a Jesus cup or an A-T-H-E-I-S-T cup. We are just people, going through life doing our own thing, letting others do their own thing.
As for why religions dislike anything that does not speak to their religion, the answer is “fear of doubt.” If “I” believe, and “you” doubt, or ignore my belief altogether, it is “possible” that I may question whether you are right and I am wrong. After all, “God” is supposed to be everywhere, so why isn’t “He” in you? Do I have it all wrong? Ach! I have been infected by doubt! Fear me! I might be contagious!
It doesn’t take much to scare a religious person. That is why they want “everyone” to be like them. If no one doubts, or completely ignores belief, then I am safe. I belong to the crowd.
What would happen to the preacher who came to “work” one Sunday, and his or her church were empty, not one sheep in his/her flock? The preacher would panic… How could she/he afford her/his next meal? Or put jet fuel in that plane he/she rides around the world in, while her/his flock remains at home, barely able to afford shoes for their children? Is the preacher worried about those children? Only after everything she/he needs is paid for…
There are a few atheist logos if you google it. I did a post on it a while back if I may? https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/theres-an-atheist-flag/
Okay, Jim, I have read your post, plus all of the comments. Even replied to three or four, long aftrr the fact. Hopefully thry will get a pleasant surprise in their emails.
Meanwhile, since I don’t vote I can’t really say that I think an Atheist Flag is bullshit and could go much more harm than good. I liked the Scarlet Letter analogy, valleygem!
I feel that all those atheist logo and flags are unnecessary but it okay if it is the logo of an atheist organization and not a logo of atheism
Recently, I came across the VA list of symbols (mostly religious) for vets to select from and to be inscribed on cemetery headstones and such. Many religions, and some more secular. But one was indeed ‘atheist.’ I wondered why and if anyone selects such. I plan to return to the VA cemetery soon to see if I can find one that symbol on it. Some have a blank and some the landing eagle. I may blog this up and see what folks think about this topic.
That would be a good read. Mid day hot, humid, sweltering fun in the cemetery?
Good post. Love your choices. Made me think about apostate ministers who embrace atheism and start Sunday morning activities for others of similar belief.
I’ve seen discussion forums that required statements of disbelief from the membership, or some sense of non-believer status for their moderators. It seems simple enough, just say no to gods, but in practice, a lot of baggage gets bundled in with it.
I forget the source but one community of ex-Christians ran with the slogan that “if you don’t go to church Sunday is just another Saturday”–and that’s a positive. Do what you want, it’s your time and time is a very limited resource. It sounds like you have your own circle of friends, etc. so it should be little to adjust to. Most post-Christians I know find even when they’re confident in leaving the faith for theological reasons they still miss the community–everyone they know still goes to Church and they know that every future interaction they have with them will involve some subtle (on the part of the still church-going friends) reconversion attempts.
I really miss my Christian friends. And though differences in religion don’t have to mean the end of our friendship, I find that I have little else in common with them. All we did together was church and bible and more church. I am now faced with the challenge of making friends with whom we actually have a variety of common interests. A challenge especially because I didn’t develop many of my hobbies that weren’t church related. So I guess the problem for a person like me is two fold, to discover myself and then find people more aligned with my true self.
Enock, look ay it as a marvelous opportunity to do what you want, with whomever you want, or even, golly, alone. I think the true self is there, it will just take time to discover it, perhaps through other people’s reactions to you.
You’re in there, and it’s a whole new world.
I found I had to readjust a lot after leaving church too. You don’t realise at the time that almost all your friends were involved in the church. Ideally they would still be your friends after leaving, but things do get a little awkward after.
I thought it interesting that you pointed out that you tend to treat anthiesm as a religion when it is not. Could that be because of your religious upbringing? If your mother wasn’t religious and raised you without religion would your stance on anthiesm and religion be different? Have you ever wondered?
You probably haven’t heard of ‘atheist churches’. They are a thing, an old thing. Google the Ethical Church.
Those ‘atheist churches’, don’t operate in the traditional way we think of “churches”
Hi CA, Thank you for this thoughtful post. Keep up the good work.
It has been a month since you wrote this post, I am curious how you, and your readers, are doing without your friends from the churches you left behind? When friendships are discovered to be mainly on your old christian activities, where does that leave you? Alone? Without friends?
Or does this open new doors to you? Have you found you can make new friendships with anyone, including christians, as long as the friendships are based on other things? Or do you look specifically for people who are non-beluevers? Or do you not worry if they are believers or not? Are they nice people? Does anything more than that matter?
And have you discovered who is your BFF? For there is only one friend you can say you will have forever, no doubts possible. That friend is you!
It is definitely good to have friends outside of yourself, based on the many things you can build a friendship on. But the inner friend, you, is the most important friend you can ever have. Love that friend to the best of your ability. If you don’t love yourself, will you truly be able to love anyone else?
Best wishes to you all.
I agree. Of course doing all you mentioned (expressing atheism) is harmless, but it it’s in no way a must. It might be more useful in trying to take a stand publicly, when living in a religious community; it might even be cathartic when pressure comes from your environment to subject yourself to religious teachings and rituals.
If you live in a secular country where almost no one brings up religion (such as the UK), that need decreases and life just goes on smoothly, without feeling the need for these things.
Personally, I treat deconversion as healing from a disease, and it’s natural to dwell on it for a while, but I’m sure over the years it will become less of a priority.