Why I’m Weirdly Attracted To Atheists

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I don’t believe there’s a God.

My parents do. They’re super religious. And they’ve both benefited from it a lot. They’re kinder, more hopeful, and healthier because they believe in God. So while I don’t believe there’s a God, I also realize that a belief in God might be incredibly helpful to people.

This is why I never tell them that I don’t believe in God. And when they ask me to pray, I comply happily because it makes them content.

When I tell people that I don’t believe that God exists, but also at the same time, know that a belief in God can be incredibly helpful; they ask me why I don’t just start believing just for the sake of the benefits of belief.

It made sense, so I tried. But fortunately or unfortunately, I couldn’t.

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I used to believe in God, though. My parents basically brainwashed me into believing in God as a kid. I remember a time when I used to wonder, “How does God know that a woman is married and how does he/she send a baby in her belly?”

This naive thought was borne out of the fact that in India, unmarried couples having babies was very rare, and also, as a child, I didn’t understand what sex was.

But now I know better, so I do better.

(A curious side note: Today I asked my 4-year-old niece whether or not he attended his parents’ wedding. He replied that he didn’t because he was still with God at the time. I smiled because I thought that was pretty cute and it almost overlapped with my own past naivete.)

I was always curious though. If there’s a God, why can’t I see one? Why haven’t they made their presence apparent? I never received an answer that could quench my curiosity adequately.

So slowly, I grew into an atheist.

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And recently, I discovered that I’m weirdly attracted to atheists.

When I hear that someone’s an atheist, I’m instantly more interested in them. I first believed that it might be because I’m an atheist myself and I just found common ground to connect with someone.

But on digging further, I realized that it’s more than that. I realized that I’m attracted to atheists because of two reasons:

  • They have the ability to think for themselves.
  • They have courage.

The people who tell you to believe in God are also the same people you’re told to put on a pedestal: Your parents. Teachers. Agents of religions like monks, priests, gurus, etc. Real authority figures, you know.

Going against these people is frowned upon. So when someone disregards them and makes a decision for themselves that they in fact don’t want to believe in God, it’s because of their own ability to think.

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Mind you, I’m not arguing which is right. Maybe God does exist, and atheists are wrong. But atheists think for themselves instead of believing everything they’re told, and I like that; because being skeptical of what the authorities are telling you is no easy task.

Second; even if someone believes they’re an atheist, to tell it to the world again takes courage. It is to claim that you reject a widely held belief; and since we’re herd animals wanting to conform to the majority, this act of rebellion seems pretty courageous to me; and hence, attractive.

So when I think about it, it’s not exactly atheism that I find attractive.

 Atheism is just a proxy for what I truly find attractive in people: courage and free-thinking.

So what I am saying is that atheism or religion; no matter what you choose, these two skills are pretty sexy, and you should spend time developing them.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.