Journeys to Humanism, theHumanist.com’s regular series, features real stories from humanists in our community. From heartwarming narratives of growth, to more difficult journeys, our readers open up about their experiences coming to humanism.
I was an evangelical Christian for over thirty years. But the day my third daughter came out as lesbian, my world was flipped upside down. How could I reconcile my long-held bible beliefs that condemns people who identify as LGBTQ+ with the fact I know my daughter, a kid who was never rebellious, who was level-headed, kind, loving, and yet…a lesbian?
Her brave act forced me to examine and question what I believed and why. It was a long process but I walked away from Christianity, religion, and the idea of a god. It was amazing how I actually found myself again, the person inside screaming to be freed, instead of being forced to live a life of conformity and always needing to please others.
The whole process of moving away from Christianity also made me strong enough to end my marriage of over twenty-three years. I knew less than a year in to my marriage that things were bad. But my church taught that women are to submit to their husband. So I prayed, and prayed, and cried, and prayed more, went through bouts of depression and despair, and I still stuck it out. That is, until I found enough of myself again to know that I had the strength to finally say “enough.” And so I did. Even with eleven children, nine of whom were still at home.
And through all this, I found the real ME again. It was so liberating. And I realized that if Planet Earth is going to survive, if we’re going to have anything to hand down to future generations, it is US who have to pull together to make our planet a place of peace, of giving, of sharing, and of helping those in need. It isn’t any god, or any effort of thoughts and prayers that is going to turn this world around. We need to embrace our humanity, our diversity, our differences, and make this work for our survival.
And that is why I am a humanist. I believe in humans. We alone have the ability to make our world a better place. Through mutual effort, respect, and determination, we have the potential to become, truly, a utopian society as the future projects in Star Trek. No countries. No poverty. Science and education forging the way to eliminate social classes, income disparity, greed, as we become a society planet-wide that takes care of its own.
Religion may never fully go away, but we can still (and must!), as humanists, pave the way by showing the example of what love, acceptance, and true morality can do without the need to believe in a god. To show what true love and care is. It is up to us to lead the way in setting the example of peace, love, and embracing need, whatever it is. Humanism truly sets the moral example of breaking down societal and cultural barriers, raises the dignity of each individual, and accepts people as they are, where they are, and who they are. We have potential! And I want to be a part of making my little corner of the world a better place.
I am now sixty-six, a nurse, and working home health trying to help people get healthier. I’m still a work in progress and hope I always will be. There’s so much to be done. If I can pass anything down to my eleven children and twenty grandchildren (so far!) its this… be yourself. Don’t let any person or organization tell you who you should be. Only you know you. And remember that we are one big family here on planet earth. When I see pictures of earth from space, I don’t see lines marking countries. We need to work together as one people to make our world better for everyone. No one should be in need, or lie in a hospital bed worrying about how they’re going to pay the bill. The LGBTQ+ person shouldn’t fear living in Jason Aldean’s small town. Kids shouldn’t fear being shot down in their schools.
I believe humanists are the ones who need to pave the way to make this world what it can be… a place for us all to thrive and live in harmony.