For you all,
A new year to me is a time for joy, comfort, renewal, and forgiveness. I think of the people who are important to me in my life, I think of the less fortunate, and I think of how I might have been a better person in the last year, and what changes I can make in the New Year. I hope that I can give more to the causes I hold dear to my heart in this new year to come.
As your atheist friend, I promise to help you when you need help, love you when you need love, challenge you when you need to be challenged, forgive you when you ask for it, ask for forgiveness when I need to, and be there for you in any other way I possibly can.
I won’t worry about saving your soul, but will challenge you to be a better person here on earth, as I hope you will do for me. I will ask that you not wait for an afterlife to celebrate the life you have, but live your life to its fullest measure now. I will not assume that if I wrong you, we can meet in heaven and work things out; I will try and work things out now.
I will not mock or devalue your faith, whether I disagree with it or not, but if you subvert your faith because you are in my presence, then I will question how firmly you hold your faith.
I will be offended if you trust me so little that you think I wouldn’t respect your wishes to pray over supper, wear a cross around your neck, go to church or tattoo a picture of Jesus on your back if that’s what you want to do. It is your faith, not mine.
I will ask that you understand that I didn’t come to my belief that there is no god because of some whim. I will hope that you understand that it is my sincerely held belief that I see no good evidence of a benevolent, omnipotent, and all knowing god. Also, I don’t see any evidence of ghosts, angels, spirits or other super natural beings that either support or battle an almighty god or interfere in our lives. If you and I are having issues, it is because of you and I, no one else.
I will hope you understand that the phrase "I don’t believe in god" is different than "I don’t believe there is a god," which is a subtle, but important difference. The second statement is the one I prescribe to.
I hope that you can see one day that I do have faith, but that it is faith in you. You have been there for me; you’ve helped me when I needed a hand; nursed me when I was sick, listened when I needed an ear to bend, comforted me when I was sad or grieving, and celebrated with me when the opportunity presented itself.
I hope that instead of praying for me, that you will call me, come see me, email me, text me, or write me. To me, all those things are better than a prayer I will never hear.
All in all, what I value in you is your humanity. I see no need to prescribe your kindness, loyalty, and strength to a heavenly father, maybe just your earthly mother and father, brothers and sisters, and other friends and family who helped make you the imperfect, but lovable person you (and I) are.
In the end, I hope for you all the all the things I hoped for you when I was a Christian; Joy, health, longevity and most of all, love.
With all my Love, Gina Webb