Bellis is a junior English major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
In reality, I’m probably better described as an agnostic. I have no absolute knowledge or beliefs regarding a higher power, but I would like to believe that there is something out there. I like to think everything isn’t random, and there is a being to which everything makes sense.
As far as most people know, however, I’m an atheist, and that’s the result of a few experiences at Drake. I know of plenty of people who define themselves by their religions, but there are just as many people who define themselves in other ways. I am one of them.
Although the topic doesn’t come up often, I become uncomfortable whenever the question of religion is asked because I never know how people will react to me. I never like the conversation that happens after I explain my true beliefs to someone.
A lot of the reasons why I call myself an atheist stems from these conversations. I have explained to people that I would like to believe in a god of some sort, but I have too many qualms with organized religions and too many doubts based on the state of the world to have any beliefs set in stone.
The people I’m talking to always follow this explanation with a persuasive speech. They tell me how different their particular church or religion is, how accepting of everyone it is and how I should come with them to a meeting or bible study sometime to see what it’s like. Though it’s never said, it’s always implied that I should discover how great that church is and convert right then.
This places me in an awkward position, because I don’t want to join them, and I’m always quite certain that their church is the same as any other. I never really know how to tell someone that I’m just not interested, without hurting their feelings, or losing whatever friendship we had in a non-religious setting.
After a while, I stopped trying to explain my complicated view to people. I have found it’s easier to tell everyone I’m an atheist. I’ve noticed that people are far less likely to try to convert someone who strictly doesn’t believe in a higher power than they are to convert someone whose beliefs seem to be up in the air.