I was brought up as a hindu. I had very little understanding of what that meant, but, I knew I had to observe many rituals, pray to many gods and eat a lot of offerings. My world was not my own but was determined by the many gods who decided my fortunes, problems, solutions, life and death. It was a bleak world indeed, one which I could not control.
Then, many things happened. At the end of it all, is the reality that I am an atheist now. I no longer believe that an elephant-headed god determines whether I run into problems or not. It was not an easy task accepting this eventuality. But, it sure was a great journey. A world that I can recognize as my own came into being with a denial of polytheism and paganism. However, the demons come back whenever things do not go as I planned them to be. However, I have decided that I will not let go the contro that I wrested with so much difficulty from the many gods of hindusim.
For me, this struggle is of control. A struggle in which I take a stance that I alone have control over my life and that, things I don't see or feel have absolutely no say in what happens in my life. It has taken a lot of effort and discipline.
Now, I am st a stage where I try to convert people I know. I argue, I fight and and I reason with people's beliefs. And, I have realized it is not as easy thing to do. everyone has a right to believe in what they choose and what they want to believe. I respect that right - however, I will still not refrain from questioning their belief. I do it with everyone within my social sphere and whenever I get a chance to do so.
I find it very difficult to face off against the very people who taught me my first prayers. My aunt and my mom. The early confrontations were difficult and filled with anguish. I almost felt I was betraying their upbringing. Now, I am comfortable taking a stance in the denial of an omnipresent god.
I realize that my belief that one's life is determined by one alone and not by the divine, is not an easy principle to live by. Additionally, who am I to say if this is the right belief? I don't know. However, what I do know is that many of the alternative beliefs have caused great damage and destruction in our world. Therefore, I will try my best to reason against these beliefs knowing fully well that it will not be an easy task. One person at a time, many like me, and maybe we will get there. Maybe we won't; at least some of us would have made an effort.