In 1994 I walked away from the Pentecostal church once and for all. I had decided then that those beliefs no longer were rational nor able to stand up against the many challenges of logical reasoning. My departure from the faith was a very long and often fearful process.
The fear was one of the greatest obstacles for me to overcome because of how deeply ingrained my beliefs had become. The Bible for instance is full of ominous tidings in the form of eternal threats for those that dare to leave the faith.
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Hebrews 10:26-27
It is my belief that the fear of death and the desire to live forever are the two driving forces behind Christianity. Taken to the extreme fundamentalist Christians tend to take this life for granted and neglect the many wonderful things it has to offer in the here and now. There is no evidence of the eternal utopia promised in the scriptures nor even for the existence of its Lord and ruler God himself.
The very first pro for my current atheist views is that I have overcome fear and have recognized it as irrational and unfounded. I now live a life based on reason and what can be known through science and logical deduction. Of course I am aware that there are some things that we may never know, but until they are finally discovered and proven I will live as if they don't exist. The idea of the existence of God as described in the Bible is one of those things. I no longer fear his imaginary wrath or contempt for my not believing in him when he (if he exists) has not given me reason nor sufficient evidence to do so.
The next positive thing I have gained from atheism is that I have learned to appreciate this life that we know to exist over the imaginary one presented in the Bible. I have found that I get more excited over a scientific discovery than I ever did over a so called divine revelation. The world we live in is a place of wonder and amazement with something new to teach us everyday. I find biology, astronomy, archaeology, and the many other scientific disciplines out there so much more interesting than the musings of an ancient and ignorant culture and society full of false beliefs and superstitions due to fear and a lack of knowledge about the world.
Being an atheist has taught me to be honest with myself. I know who I am and don't try to live by the hypocritical dogmas set forth by religion. I detest hypocrisy in all its forms and nothing disturbs me more than some stranger in the street telling me they love me in the name of Jesus. If that's not hypocrisy then I don't know what is.
The next thing I learned as an atheist is that I and only I am responsible for each and every action I take. For example if I were to strike my wife and when asked why I did it by the authorities, I cannot sit there and blame her for so called "provoking me," there are other courses of action that I could have taken. Everything we do in this life for better or for worse is entirely our responsibility and its results or consequences are entirely ours to bear. We don't have the Devil and his minions to blame for our behavior the only one we have to blame for our actions is ourselves.
I have learned that before I was a Christian I had morals. In fact, you don't need God or some commandments written in a book by those claiming to be his messengers to know right from wrong. Morals don't come from God but from our own cultures and the societies in which we are reared. If I was born in Iran I would most likely have been raised a Muslim it is what is taught to me by my parents and society that determines what I consider moral and correct.
As an atheist I continue to grow and learn as I go along but in the end I find that atheism and naturalism are far more reliable than any religion. I see religion for what it is: a creation of man and nothing more. There is no need for gods, angels, demons, or pie in the sky. This life has enough to keep us all quite occupied for several lifetimes.
Note: The biblical verse I have cited comes from the New International Version of the scriptures.