I wish that becoming an atheist or agnostic came with a manual. I had so many questions when I started last year and it seemed like other secular folks were so much more well-adapted to secular thinking than I was. Here are some answers I’ve found to the questions I had:
What No One Told Me About Being Secular
1.) It’s okay if you still believe in a few superstitions.
I still indulge in tarot readings and reading my horoscope. They’re fun, guilt-free and mostly harmless. But you have to remember that only YOU can be in charge of the outcome of most of your choices. Other than that, there are a lot of things that are out of your control. The future and its obstacles don’t get easier. You just adapt to them better.
2.) You might be tempted to pray sometimes.
Whether you pray for your safety or you pray for someone you wish you could help, becoming a humanist doesn’t immediately turn your religious switch off. Like any habit, it takes practice to quit it if you want it to go away. But, more likely, it’ll go away quite organically over time. You start learning to either take charge yourself or to accept what is over time.
3.) Don’t fret about your first existential crisis too much. Eventually, you get used to nothing having any inherent meaning.
My first struggle with the purpose of life and death came when I was taking care of a three-week-old kitten. She was dying and I couldn’t figure out why. I cried so much and I desperately wanted life and death to have a purpose and I wanted there to be some kind of afterlife where my kitten would be safe. But, like I said, none of it gets easier. You just get strong enough and smart enough to handle it. You become mindful of each moment and finding your own purpose and answers for life’s big questions actually becomes quite thrilling.
4.) It’s okay if you’re not ready to come out about it yet.
I’m not even ready to come out about it to my loved ones yet! The world can be quite harsh, hateful and even violent towards secular folks. Loved ones have the surprising capacity to turn on you when they can’t control what you believe anymore. So, it’s understandable. But when you finally come out about it, you add to the growing voice that says, “It’s okay to not believe.” 💕
What else would you add?