I am an atheist

img_1226I am a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. I never got brought up this way, I have always been told to have an open mind and that I should never say never. I have many reasons for disbelieving in a God or gods, and until I started University I thought religion was pointless and a waste of time. A few of my reasons very briefly would be something along the lines of:

  1. Where is the evidence for God
  2. I don’t like the argument of design (the argument that says the world is so beautiful ONLY God could have created it)
  3. Since the entire universe and all of creating can be explained by evolution and scientific cosmology, we don’t need the existence of another entity titled God.

However, this post wasn’t about why I don’t believe in God or about how stubborn I was when it came to the argument about God. This post was to say that just having a better RME (religious and moral education) knowledge has let me open my eyes and become obsessed wbhnf52251ith now trying to learn about as many different religions as possible.

My RME knowledge before University was that I watched Avatar in RME in High School, I learned something about the 5 Ks in Sikhism and that Jesus was the reason for Christmas and Easter. Now, since beginning my University journey I have learned that all of these religions are so beautiful and interesting.  They have stories to tell, they are the reason people push forward in life and even if something bad is happening – their religion gives them hope. Now, for me, that is extremely important. Hope is what the world needs in a world filled with hate and abuse and Trump. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen, it is a feeling of trust and can make people in the darkest of places feel better because they have something to believe in.

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Taking away the fear of just teaching in general, I felt reasonably confident in all other areas of the curriculum in terms of how I felt about the subject. However, only a few subjects (P.E and the expressive arts being the others) made me worry about becoming a teacher and being able to teach without hating what I was teaching. I didn’t want to learn about other religions and I had no interest in learning. However, since I have researched on my own about certain religions (Hindu being my ‘religion of the moment’) I have learned a great deal – and not just about what others believe in but about other important areas. Such as our values, our family, our home, how we feel, how we are to others, kindness and again, hope. When I thought of RME before I though about boring lessons, now I look with new eyes and I am excited to go on placement and teach about the Holi festival, about why Hindus celebrate this and how it is important. I’m excited to incorporate art into this, I am actually looking forward to being out of my comfort zone teaching children about Religion, and with this I have opened my eyes to the Expressive Arts (however, I am still working on how positive I actually feel about this) and to other religions also.

To the people who know me really well. They know how I feel about religion. They know that my views are so strong against the belief in a God etc. However, since looking into not even a handful of religions my mind has been opened. It turns out RME is completely me. It is about kindness(which, by the way – Random Acts of Kindness Day is on Friday 17th Feb), it is about love, trust, respect, believing and hope.

9 Replies to “I am an atheist”

  1. Really nice post. A mix of the personal and the professional coming through. I tend to agree with you about religions. I used to be quite iconoclastic in my thinking about them however as I get older I see that in essence they are about kindness as you say.

  2. Enjoyed reading this post after @derekrobertson referred to it in a recent tweet. It’s a very positive view of how religion has the potential to benefit society.

    I’ve always imagined RME as a difficult subject to cover, without introducing some personal viewpoint on religion as a whole, or atheism/humanism as an alternative world view. In trying to present the best of each religion, do we include those that don’t fit with our own views around what is currently socially acceptable? Quakers might be easy, but could you present the Ku Klux Klan in a positive light? And what do you do with Pastafarianism?

    Should we discuss how religion is interpreted? Is one person’s hope, another’s horror? Is it wrong to describe people as being Christian, Hindu, Muslim, given the vast variation within those definitions?

    I do wish you all the best in your future career, and don’t envy you the task ahead, but an open mind will serve you well.

    1. Hi there!

      Reading your comment has made me view this from a different perspective now, I never thought about how one persons ‘hope’ could be another persons horror! This is very interesting!

      I actually a class lesson recently on Hinduism, but when discussing Hinduism I first talked about religion and if anyone had any religions in the class they would like to talk about, I then discussed with the class what my belief is (very briefly). I think in RME it is important to make it personal, as RME is a personal subject. If I didn’t say my views when I asked them theirs it wouldn’t be very fair.

      Thank you for the comment:-)!

  3. This is such a thoughtful piece of writing and really demonstrates your reflection. I hope you experiences in PE and Expressive Arts pedagogy will make you feel more positive about teaching these areas too!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      I have just seen this, thank you for the feedback! I hope I do feel more positive in these areas as well.

  4. What an honest and thought provoking post Micha. I am also an atheist (happy to explain why sometime!) and would even question why we have religious schools, or possibly why RME is a specific subject in the curriculum, but as you point out it is essential we have an open mind. When I taught I enjoyed learning about different religions alongside the children. I am also interested in pre-history and theories of how people lived thousands of years ago are often framed alongside belief systems and spirituality, which I find fascinating. I hope you can take this new found enthusiasm and inspire the children you are teaching!

    1. Hi Richard, before I had even started looking into RME properly, I didn’t actually agree with RME in schools and I thought that if you had your own belief and religion then it shouldn’t actually be taught in schools. However, when I went into my placement I discovered the children didn’t know much about religion and from what I have seen they really enjoyed learning about other peoples lives and how others live.
      Thanks Richard, I hope I can inspire the children I am teaching too!

  5. How interesting and admirable that you would choose this as a topic to write about. I too am an atheist, but also found other religions fascinating to teach and discuss with the pupils. In terms of Social Justice, religion has to be taken into account as, for some children, this is such an important part of their life and culture. There is often a fear in ‘getting it wrong’ if you are non-religious and teaching RME, but surely the most important part is that different cultures are being shared and understood.

    1. I did have a fear of teaching RME because I wasn’t religious and actually felt I didn’t really have a ‘right’ to teach it either as I don’t know about religion a lot. It’s not only about the religion but about the values and the morals and I agree that the most important part is about sharing cultures and understanding how everyone can have the same morals or viewpoints but actually look at them in a different light.

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