Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How I discovered I was an Atheist, Part 2: Who's afraid of the Dark?

When I was small I was, like many small kids, afraid of the dark.
Not because of what I knew, it was because of what I didn't know.  Was there a monster under the bed? Was Dracula or Barnabas in my closet? Was Bigfoot standing outside my window?  It was the 70s there was a lot shit to be scared of when you are a kid.

When I turned 10 I made a conscious decision. Another one of my "freeing" moments.
I decided I was not going to be scared of the dark anymore.  I was upstairs in my room, it was Christmas break and I had been playing with a set of paint by numbers I had gotten as a gift  (yes, yes I am going to into how can I be an atheist and still celebrate Christmas...later).  While painting (I am a terrible painter and my parents got a picture of a car to paint, I would have preferred an X-Wing or something like that) I kept thinking that if there is no God, no Santa (I had figured that one out as well), no nothing, then there were no ghosts, no vampires, no bigfoot and certainly no devil.

So I turned off the lights. And I waited.
And waited.
And waited.

And eventually nothing happened.

I just sat there in the dark. I listened to my parent house creak and groan. I looked out into the dark, sitting on the floor with my back to the bed and I waited till something happened.

I was good. My little test had proven to me, or at least in it's limited fashion to the 10 year old me, that there was nothing in the dark.

The learning here is that once you let go of one set of irrational beliefs the rest also fall away.

My discovery of my Atheism was gradual and had some fits, stops and detours along the way, but it was always a positive experience.  I can't say that all my interactions with organized religions were also positive.

1 comment:

  1. I used to be scared of the dark as a kid and I too decided to confront it. My big fear was shutting the curtain after dark, I'd always try to remember to do it while it was still light. One day I decided to confront this fear and stare boldly into the dark while closing the curtains - only to see a pair of green glowing eyes staring in at me. I screamed and ran out of the room.

    When I calmed down I realised that it must've been the next door neighbour's black cat on my windowsill. It was a long time before I tried to tackle that fear again. :-)