Am I really that wrong for being an Atheist?
noun: atheist; plural noun: atheists
a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
“he is a committed atheist”
“why is it often assumed that a man of science is probably an atheist?”
Am I in the wrong when I tell people that I’m an Atheist when they ask if I’m religious? I am religious with many things, but not in the sense that they were asking, I guess.
I religiously change my cats’ litter box, I religiously spend time with my better half, I religiously watch my favourite TV series, I religiously listen to music every day when I do certain things, I religiously work, I religiously try and improve myself, I do a lot of things religiously, but religiously praising a “God”, that I don’t do.
I always get a strange look when people find out that I’m not a “believer”, and more strangely when they find out why I don’t believe.
I was raised in a traditional household where you go to church on Sunday’s and you don’t use the “Lord’s” name in vain, but that changed when I was 13 years old, I know, it’s very young to be having such drastic thoughts that would alter my life in the years to come, mostly for the better.
So here is my story…
I’m 13 years old, getting ready for school, everything is normal (Normal in the sense that I’m busy running through my daily routine before school). I’m in the 6th grade, top of my class in every possible way, not much left to achieve as a 13-year-old, 1st team in all my chosen sports codes, and exceptional academically and culturally.
I attend all my classes through the day and by the time the last period arrives, I’m blind in my left eye. DAMN!
The biggest shock of my life, I’m a healthy teen, no history of any medical conditions in the family that I would have to worry about at that age, I am shocked to the point where I start crying in class. My friends are all just as shocked as I am.
I get picked up by my mom and she immediately makes an appointment with the optometrist for the next morning.
Long story short, after a week in the hospital undergoing tests, they discover a mass behind my eye. I get sent for further tests, and eventually, they discover that I have a tumor behind my eye that is pressing on the nerves behind my eye.
I get told that it needs to be removed immediately as I could permanently lose my vision if this isn’t done.
I’m a 13-year-old kid that just heard that I might have a cancerous tumor behind my eye and that it could get worse or spread even further.
All of this happened in May of 2005, a time of my life that I would never forget.
My father just walked out on us, never to be seen again, my life is changing and I have no control over it, it is terrifying and oddly exciting at the same time.
A week goes by, a week where my life would change once again. After discovering my tumor, doctors booked an emergency operation for exactly one week from the day. We decide to go visit my uncle in the countryside so I can relax before the big day. I have never been in the hospital before this and I was petrified, to say the least.
On the way to my uncle’s house, a double tanker truck pushes us off the road causing the car to roll 17 times down a hill in the middle of nowhere. My mom driving, my brother in the front seat and me sitting at the back. My mom was hurt all over but refused to have anything done so she could be by our side in hospital, my brother broke his wrist and femur and spent the next 6 weeks in a hospital bed in traction to repair his leg, and as my luck would have it, I sustain severe injuries to my head, the same head that has to have a tumor taken out of it in only a couple of days and a broken vertebrae on my lower back. A taxi passing by with a few passengers sees the car bumper lying in the road and stops to investigate and sees the car lying on it’s side at the bottom of the hill. An off-duty paramedic is on board and calls the emergency services while he tries to take us out of the rubble of the accident so we can receive treatment as soon as the ambulance arrives. My scalp is literally hanging by a thread and people are scattering all over the place to salvage our belongings so it can be taken to the hospital with us.
We get to the hospital I’m supposed to have my surgery at and without a second thought the Dr. postpones the operation until I am back on my feet and my head is healed. I get put on some of the strongest anabolic steroids on the market, and just to put this into perspective, if you are a bodybuilder you would take half a tablet a day, I had to take 6 full tablets a day, this, just to keep the tumor from getting bigger until I could eventually have my surgery. It’s decided that I would have my surgery in September of 2005, and would only be able to return to school in November to write my final exams.
The healing process of my head healing caused some other complications, where the vehicle had cut my scalp open, the wound had made a hole where there was a piece of skin missing, and after having 89 staples in your head, I can promise you that this is the last thing you want to happen.
My head is healed, I now need to have the operation to remove the tumor from behind my eye, the surgery is not an easy one and the doctors are battling to find a safe way to do the surgery without causing permanent damage to any other part of my body, and they eventually decide that there is no easy way to do the surgery but it has to be done.
The day of my surgery arrives, I’m scared out of my boots for what is about to happen, I have only had one operation in my life and that was to repair my head after the accident. The doctors tell my mom that the operation will last about 7 hours at the very least and that they would keep her informed. 9 hours goes by, my mom receives a call out of theater, “Ma’am, your son is dead, we have tried to resuscitate him twice already, but we will try one more time…”, phone drops, my mom is in tears, she is about to loose her eldest son to an operation that was supposed to save his life, phone rings again, “Ma’am, he’s alive, we managed to bring him back, he was dead for 7 min, every organ in his body has failed, it would be a miracle if he pulls through…”, phone drops once more.
I was dead, dead, like not alive anymore, not part of this world anymore, I left it without even knowing that I did.
I wake up in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital and all I hear is my mom crying and the beeping of the machines, a pulse oximeter on my finger and a whole bunch of cables and drains coming from my heart and my head. I hear the doctor speaking to my mom, “Ma’am, the next few hours are critical, he lost a lot of blood, he is weak and he just had 11 hours under anesthesia, it would be a miracle if he makes it through the night. I start panicking, trying to pull everything off my body, I was not about to die, again. They sedate me to keep me calm to make sure I get the rest and treatment that I need. The ceiling lights are going blurry and I was out. For the next 16 hours, I was fast asleep, I wake up to have dinner, the doctor comes to check on me and said that I have to spend another night in the ICU, he apparently then told my mom that I was not yet out of danger.
I wake up the next morning, I have a lot of pain, it feels like I was hit by a train, the doctor comes to check on me once more, the first words out of his mouth was the following, “This is amazing. Son, you are what we call miracles around here, you are 100% fine, you survived with all the odds against you, you pulled through and I don’t see why we have to keep you here any longer.”
After just 2 days, 2 days after I died, I was discharged from hospital. I walked all the way to the car, on my own, without any help.
So after this story, I would like to come to the point.
Why are you an Atheist when there are so many beautiful things in the world, the doctors said you are a miracle, who do you think saved you?
Here is my answer to the ever so popular question:
There was no bright light when I died, nothing that countless preachers have told me my entire life, nothing that they said was written in the Bible happened to me, nothing that anyone has ever told me who had a near death experience told me actually happened to me, and I mean, I was actually dead.
Do I think that they were lying to me all this time? Not at all, I think we all have our own versions of the truth or at the very least, we all believe in something different, or like me, in nothing. Nothing I can’t see or feel.
I believe in love, I believe in everything happens for a reason, I believe that you will be treated the same way you treat other people, I believe that respect is a rare thing, it’s difficult to earn but very easily lost, I believe that your parents are there to protect you from everything bad in the world, but at the same time you have to create your own version of the world, create something that makes you happy, and if you can’t be openly happy, create your own version of happiness.
You are your own person, no one could ever tell you what you can and cannot do, no one could ever tell you what to believe in, respect others, not everyone will respect you in return, but that is not the point, respect them regardless, respect them until they give you a reason to not respect them anymore. I promise you that you will have absolutely no respect for more people than you would actually respect. However, the few you do respect would have earned your respect and you would appreciate it so much more. Respect other people’s beliefs, event though they might not respect yours, everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, and you do not have the right to tell them otherwise.
Love as hard as you can, play as much as you can, go to as many concerts as you can, appreciate the people who love you, they do the things they do because they love you, and that doesn’t mean that you always have to understand what they do. It’s the small things in life that make it all worthwhile. Appreciate everyone who loves you, they will kill for you, and you would probably kill for them.
You, and only you, can be the best version of yourself. Don’t let the cruel world out there dampen your spirit, it might be tough now, but you will live to tell the tale, you will live to love another day, to play another day, to go to another concert.
Live today like it’s your last, dream as if you’ll live forever.
Make plans for tomorrow, it gives you something to look forward to, something to get out of bed for tomorrow.
Don’t let today be the last thing you remember.