The night was windy but warm as the cool breeze from outside slipped through my window. It was early May of 2012. I was sitting on a small gray couch with a laptop on my lap. My fingers were scrolling down my Tumblr page and I noticed a link with comments saying, “Please help her!” Driven by my curiosity I clicked the link. On my screen, a young woman who looked to be around 19 years old, appeared. She was wearing a black hoodie and her blonde hair was tangled in bunches. I noticed the dark circles under her eyes and the tear stains on her face.
“I can’t do this anymore…,” she said in a soft low voice.
She spilled her entire life story in a trembling voice. Her father had beaten her as a child. At 5 years old she was taken to foster care. Her foster father molested her and was arrested. She was sent back to her biological father who beat her and threw her out into the streets. Tears were streaming down my face as my heart sank deeper.
“It’s all ending. I’ve taken plenty of pills with alcohol. I love you guys. Goodbye,” she cried.
My thoughts were, run to her and help her! My body started shaking. I thought, God, please don’t take her with you. Please, show her that she can be happy. I prayed for what felt like hours but “God” didn’t answer any of my prayers. The girl slipped away from us because no one was able to get to her in time. We were able to find out that she died that night just minutes after I had seen the video. My heart shattered, as I felt angry with myself, at the world but mostly at “God”. I was never entirely sure of my faith in him until that moment because it was obvious to me that I didn’t believe in “God” anymore. All the faith I had in “God” disappeared all at once.
Why was it important for me to have “God” save the young woman? It was vital to me because I didn’t want someone so young to end their life. Although I didn’t know her personally, I could see that she was a wonderful person. On her blog she talked to people about not giving up because she cared about them. She made the effort to save people’s lives even if her life was falling apart. This type of strength is uncommon in people these days. I wanted “God” to not let her die because she deserved to see her life change. She deserved to see that even with all those struggles, she could still be happy. Her life could have become better in a little time, but she didn’t stay to see it. I could see how no one was there to help her get through her problems and I thought that “God” would be my only hope for keeping her alive. This young woman had dreams and hopes for the future and I wanted her to have the chance to accomplish her goals. I understand one thing about depression and feeling suicidal, people don’t want to end their lives only the pain. I desired to have God help her end the pain, but not by letting her die.
How has my life changed since I stopped believing in God? My life has changed almost entirely since I stopped having faith in God. My family doesn’t support what I believe anymore. Before they were never bothered by me not attending church, but now they think I need to go and ask to be forgiven for losing faith. Not all my friends are happy with me being an atheist. Certain friends think I could be a bad influence on them. Others assume that I blame all my problems on their “God” and they say that I will be punished for that. On the other hand my life has changed in a positive way. I used to feel like a puppet, being controlled by someone else who “thought” they were making me stronger. Now it feels as if the strings were cut off because I don’t want to believe what society wants me to accept as my faith. I can walk freely and make decisions that make me happy. I don’t feel ashamed of listening to music that people assume is
associated with a “devil”. I take actions without being afraid to do so. I met new people that believe what I believe. They accept me with no judgment. I would have never thought that my religion or society’s idea of a “religion” would have put boundaries between my life and the world.
Do I think I’ll ever believe in any religion including a “God”? There are times when I feel alone and I want someone to believe in to keep me strong. Then I realize that I am not alone because there are people who care about me and they can physically be here for me. I see religion as a way the world and people are separated.
“This land is ours because God gave it to Abraham and his descendants”, people exclaim.
“We’ve lived on this land for years and it belongs to us”, claim others.
This argument to me seems pointless because this is driving separation between groups of people. I don’t believe there will ever peace in the world unless people stop believing that something greater is controlling us. I can’t accept any religion because “God” isn’t tangible and neither is anything that is related to religious beliefs. I don’t comprehend why people want to believe that they’ll receive another life simply because they are “good” people. I think to myself and wonder, how good do you have to be to be considered good? I mean why not just enjoy this life, right now? I can’t bring myself to believe that there is a God that lets people suffer, like that young woman, because “he” loves us. Then I wonder, why does society believe it’s even a “him”. I am never going to accept a religion that seems to cause more confusion than acceptance and more hate than love.
All in all, this experience can teach people to think about what they truly believe in. Today, the beliefs of many are influenced by family or friends, but people should take into more consideration what they legitimately believe to be true. People should be allowed to believe what they want and not what society wants them to accept. If someone doesn’t believe in God, they shouldn’t be forced to. Society should accept the many opinions of different people. I learned a lot from this experience because I learned to appreciate my family and my “true” friends. Also, I learned that faith doesn’t have to be that you believe in “God”, it can also mean believing in yourself and what you really value. I value music most therefore; music is my faith. I can accomplish taking control of my own life and not letting others get in the way of the choices that make me happy. I wish that I could have been able to save the young woman in the video, but unfortunately I have to live with the fact that she was at a breaking point. Society made the woman feel as if no one cared what she was feeling and what she was going through. People feel that way all the time. I know that there’s always someone who cares. It may not be God for everyone but there’s always someone who will try to help you. If I could speak to her, I would thank her for making me stronger and giving me the push I needed to accept what I always felt was true. I always had little faith in my religion. Everyone forced their beliefs on me even though I disagreed. I accepted their beliefs because I didn’t want to be an outcast. It feels better to voice my real opinion although not everyone is happy with what I have to say. Society should allow people to voice their beliefs without any judgment. At the end of the day, one has the right to believe in what they want and to value what makes them happy. Learn to cherish how you truly feel without the fear of standing out from everyone else.