And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."' Luke 12:19
Although I don't have it all figured out yet this is my philosophy of life. I've had a rough life and I've had my highs and lows just like anybody else, but I feel that I am privileged to have had the opportunity to live this life. As a believer I lived as though this life was nothing but a way station to the life that awaited me after my physical death. I invested a lot of my time in activities which at the time I believed were my calling from God. I preached on the streets, in various churches, and ministered to the sick and down trodden. I believed in those days that my time on this earth was not mine; it was the Lord's.
As a believer I thought that my will and what was important for me was irrelevant. I wasn't put on this earth to do my will but the will of the Lord. In my mind I constantly held what I believed were conversations with the Lord. Jesus was my first thought in the morning and my last thought when I went to sleep. I prayed often and read my Bible with such awe and reverence and did not see anything wrong with the Lord or any of his actions.
I believed that sin was everywhere and I constantly fought it back in my own life. Sin being defined as something that is offensive to God such as disobedience to his word etc. was always looming. I saw this life as disgusting and depraved and felt sorry for how people willfully rejected Jesus and did not appreciate the sacrifice of his life as atonement for their sins. I prayed that they would come to repentance and that they like myself would come to see the error of their ways. I wasn't worried about their earthly physical lives; I was more concerned for the ultimate fate of their souls.
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
I realize now that when I ministered to the masses I did not do it from a position of arrogance, but one of genuine concern. I believed what I preached fervently and I worked on a daily basis to make sure that I was in God's good graces. I guarded my thoughts from straying and when I did have a thought that was ungodly in my estimation I would ask God for forgiveness on the spot. I saw everyone in the world that did not have Jesus as scattered sheep without a shepherd.
The idea that God was just also blinded me to the fact that he was a murdering tyrant that did not deserve my love or worship. I like many believers still do today did not have a problem with God's brand of Justice. His flooding the world or ordering the ancient Hebrews to murder entire towns and cities did not bother me. I thought that he was God and he created us and could therefore do as he pleases with us. I did not think to question his so called actions and saw him as the ultimate good.
Today, my life is different but I can honestly say much better than it was when I was a theist. I value this life and this time now as the only life I will ever have. I have more compassion for my fellow man knowing that I too can be doing well one day and be homeless the next. I find meaning in this life and love those people in my life who are important to me. Life without Jesus has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don't worry about sin, death, or offending a fictional deity anymore. I am not concerned with what happens to me after I die. I see death as the final stop in this journey called life and have come to realize that we all will eventually get there.
I now see death from a biological point of view and therefore no longer fear it. Knowing that it can come at any given time or at any given moment makes me appreciate life even more. I don't have time to sit in a church praising and worshiping mythological beings and nurturing superstitions. I no longer put my life on hold nor am bound to live up to the standards of a god whose morality is questionable. Many of the things that this deity is said to have done to man would normally be called sick and immoral, but people still insist on worshiping him out of fear based on empty superstitious beliefs.
I thought I was saved as a Christian from eternal torment in the afterlife. I believed in that eternal bliss that was promised in the Bible and looked forward to it with blind faith and joy. But as an atheist I believe now that I have been truly saved. I have been saved from living my life shackled to false beliefs and superstitions. I have been saved from fear of death and have broken the chains of mental anguish and oppression that once held captive my mind. Live life now is my motto! Love, laugh, cry, etc. now and cherish those you love because you never know when you will be saying your last goodbye or if you'll ever see them again. This is life; here and now! Don't let it go to waste.
Note: All biblical citations have been taken from the New International version of the scriptures.