The Growing Atheist

I want to take a moment to explain what I mean by the title of this blog.

I grew up with a Christian family, and my mother was always striving to “grow in Christ”. The implication was that we humans are never a finished product. No matter how we strive, we are always unfinished, growing, learning, … and yet also imperfect, sinning, dirty, undeserving, and needing god’s grace.

I am an now an Atheist, and have shed most of that upbringing. But I have found that there is one nugget to be kept: I agree that we are never finished, never perfect, never all-knowing, always have room to improve, until the day we die. (And even then, our influence may live on and affect others, hopefully for the better. This is to be strived for. Indeed, this may be the ultimate legacy one can leave.)

Obviously, as an Atheist, I do not believe in the whole concept of sin (beyond violating the golden rule) nor the need for god’s forgiveness. That entire dimension of potential “growth”, to me, seems to be completely contrived and without purpose.

The growth I believe in is that which benefits the individual and humanity. I strive to remain humble, and always remain open to learn new things. I want to contribute to the advancement of humanity, to the pool of human knowledge. It was Isaac Newton who said “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” I can make no claim to be any giant, but I can only hope to in some way contribute to the platform of human knowledge that ultimately advances us all.

As I age, I see the changes in my face, my body, my outlook on life, my goals, my meaning. I am mortal, but my contribution need not be. Aging is acceptance, acceptance is understanding, understanding is growth.

My mother was and is a growing Christian.

I am a growing Atheist.

February 16, 2011
329 words





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