I’ve never known belief. I don’t know what losing my religion feels like. I don’t know the feeling of my world crumbling around me, or feeling as though I was born broken and must spend my life making up for it. I don’t know the fear of Hell or of disappointing a higher power. I have no idea what it’s like to long for acceptance by a deity. I don’t know any of these things, but I have tried hard to learn about them. I’ve tried hard to understand my audience and what the vast majority of you have had to go through to get where you are. This is why I started Your Stories of Atheism, and why I invite Guest Posts. I could never do justice to the journey of an ex-religious atheist. I simply have no idea what it’s like.
I’d have to say, though, that the closest I have come to understanding is while reading There’s a Hula Girl On My Dashboard by Logospilgrim. I was lucky enough to have her contact me a while back and offer to let me read her book. It’s a short one, but every page is bursting with emotion; every word invokes feeling. Her journey from broken, drifting and judged Christian, to joyful, content and self-assured atheist is just about one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
In her emails to me, she has been nothing but an extraordinarily sweet human being, who, I can just feel, is bursting for love for her fellow human beings. You can sense, from the pages of Hula Girl, this love and concern for her neighbours grow. She goes from being a confused teenager who is told she is unworthy of her own faith, to a curious adult seeking answers in any spiritual teachings she can access, to a people-loving, selfless, secular humanist who is okay with our utter insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
Logospilgrim has a way with words, there is no doubt, as I found myself continually taken aback by her ability to explain clearly the feelings she was experiencing during her remarkable journey. On numerous occasions, in such a short book, I felt the desire to reach out and hug her and reassure her that no, there is nothing wrong with you! The reader feels compelled to give her the sort of comfort we know she’s seeking, but in the end, she finds it in herself. She saves herself, and I was awash with an overwhelming admiration. The strength this journey took is no small feat.
This story illustrates perfectly the freedom that leaving religion behind can provide. I will never know what it’s like to lose my community, my worldview or my driving force, but Logospilgrim has painted a picture so vivid, I have begun to understand. She’s made it clear, the bravery an ex-theist requires is awe-inspiring.
Whether you’re an ex-religious atheist, an open-minded theist, or a lifelong atheist like myself, if you have the chance to pick up There’s A Hula Girl On My Dashboard, do it. You won’t regret it.