Okay, I'm going to open up a bit here. Perhaps more than I should.
It seems that each day, I wake up thinking about new arguments against religion--new analogies that may make a light bulb go off for some Christian that will trigger doubts--or perhaps a new quote that may send a listener back to their Bible for investigation.
I spend a large amount of my time scheduling debates with Christians, arguing against those who are 'pro-fetus, anit-choice' and getting guests to appear on Dogma Debate so I can, yes, debate them.
And when I travel, I meet some amazing people. Believers of every faith, even quirky, magic Native-American goddess ones, and of course, nonbelievers.
When I stand back and watch some of their day to day activities, I see them helping one another. I visit these different cultures and small-town churches, and see that there is no homeless shelter, because everyone has a home.
I see religious retirement homes with 19-yr-old volunteers that aren't doing it for community service.
I see organizations designed to help children, who put on free community events, and provide free medical care and education in their respective communities.
And then, I feel guilty.
I feel guilty for not directing my focus toward a more charitable cause,
such as a medical center for kids, or a volunteer program for the elderly. I feel like I'm wasting my time.
Witnessing these touching human interactions, I begin to have a bit of cognitive dissonance of my own, and wonder if I'm happy; and more importantly, if I'm making anyone else happy, or truly doing the world any good at all.
Am I really making the world a better place? Or am I wasting a lifetime being against something, rather than for something? It seems that I am always taking a negative position, starting a fight, or challenging authority in protest.
To be honest, I don't like the way that feels, and in my darkest hours, I've considered giving this all up to focus on a more charitable cause with immediate results.
And then, I remember what's at the root of the monster I'm fighting.
The kids that I see others helping, are growing up in this world, and will have to deal with the discrimination facing them.
I often look out over the playgrounds and wonder which ones will grow up to realize they are gay or lesbian, and need a straight advocate on their side, willing to fight against the religious majority.
I think back to the letters I've received from retirement homes, where atheists in their final years have requested books by Dawkins or Hitchens, and have been denied on the basis of 'hate speech.'
And then it occurs to me; those who I start fights with, are those who are oppressing our innocent human population in one way or another. And that means, I am not living a life against religion, as much as I am living a life for freedom and equal rights.
And if that means trampling religion as it stands in my way, so be it.
Those religious oppressors have set them self against science, progress, truth, and civil rights; and have appointed themselves as spiritual leaders, claiming to have knowledge we're not righteous enough to have.
And when you set yourself against something as powerful as human evolution and sociological progression, you're asking to be destroyed. That's where I come in.
And then I feel guilty again. Guilty for considering not doing this any more, and letting you down.
Each and every atheist out there can make a difference. While the results aren't always immediate--every respectful discussion you have, that challenges religious authority, is a step in the right direction.
Don't worry if you have doubts about your purpose, or wonder if you're really living a life believing in nothing like we often hear. We're not.
We believe in each other to continue evolving and progressing, despite those who want to keep us in a stagnant pool of fear.
And most importantly, we believe in a future without religious discrimination.
Our life is not against anything, but those who oppose freedom from religion. And that, my friends, is a life worth living, and a war worth fighting for.