Over a year ago, a lady at my job asked me if I believe in God. My answer was no.
What transpired after that was surreal.
First she asked me if I loved my parents. Clueless as to how that even fit into our conversation I answered “yes, I do, why?” She asked me if they were sick or hurt, would I not pray for them. Of course my answer was “no”, and I had to tell her that did not mean that I did not love my parents. Then she called another lady to let her know that I was atheist, and this other lady told me she loves me (um, lady you don’t even know me) and then they said that they would pray for me at some prayer group.
Other instances are my father telling me, “I know you will come back to Christ one day” and my aunt told me, “When I was your age, I left the church, but I came back, so I am not worried about you.” A cousin of mine asked me “why do I hate God so much?”
I bring these stories up to make two points. One is that there are a lot of nescience and mis-truths surrounding atheism in Bermuda. Being such a conservative and [alleged] christian society, it seems that there are a lot of false narratives out there. This, most likely, has been perpetrated by religious organizations attempting to squash questioning of parishioners in regards to their faith, and some of it just pure ignorance.
Secondly, I inherently do not mind that someone is religious. If that is your belief, than I am happy that you are happy. My problem comes when people of these beliefs feel it is their duty to make you feel as if you are something broken, or failed or that something is wrong with you.
Some people in Bermuda need to understand that atheists are persons who are just not convinced in the existence of a God, because we have not seen the evidence for such a being. We have morals just like anyone else. We love, we cry, we go through hard times and good times, but we do not look for something supernatural outside of ourselves for dealing with life.
If you are an atheist, stuck in the closet, just know that you are not alone. There are many others who do not believe in the supernatural. I just heard the statement that “coming out atheist in Bermuda is almost as bad as coming out as gay.” But as with the gay movement, the movement of the non-religious is also gaining momentum around the world. Hopefully one day you can come out of the atheist closet and be comfortable, even in our sunny island.
Eventually, here in Bermuda, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists, etc. can have a voice in their own country and not be met with intimidation or misunderstanding.
If you have a story about being an atheist in Bermuda, leave it in the comment section.