So You Realised I’m An Atheist.

If I’ve sent you a link to this, it’s out of respect. It’s because unlike most people, you didn’t become combative, disrespectful, or dismissive. I think writing them out will stop either one of us from becoming too invested in what’s said.  It’s also private, as in no one has to see or hear you if you read my thoughts and see the merit in them.  To be clear, seeing merit in my thoughts does not mean you agree, only that my position is well thought out, valid, and makes sense.

Odds are, you read something I wrote, or listened to something that made you go back and make an inference regarding my lack of faith.  For quite a few of my friends, it was This Podcast. Then you asked me one of, or most of the questions I’m going to deal with below.

  • But you seem so nice!

This one always strikes me as…odd. If I am, and have been “nice”, something that’s debatable at best, then does my not believing in your God make the good that I have done for/with you somehow invalid? I stand by all my actions.  My only motivation was my wanting to do something nice for you.   I have no fear of divine retribution, or rather; I have no fear of punishment for not “being nice”.

  • But your parents believed in God and taught you to when you were a kid!

My parents did their best to surround me with the best influences they could.  For my dad it was his belief in a singular Higher Power as he called it, and for my mom, it was her it was her Christian church and faith. From them, I took the value in creating community and helping the people around us.  My life experience has taught me that those values are in no way connected to a deity, the belief that those virtues can only be extolled through belief in a force outside of our own compassion and sense of humanity does mankind a disservice.

  • You didn’t tell me!?

1) You didn’t ask.  2) I’m secure enough in my belief to not throw it around where it’s not asked for.

  • You didn’t say anything when the group had its Religious Moment!

I completely respect your beliefs.  I will never, ever try to detract from your faith.  If it’s what gets you where you need to be in life then its correct for you.

  • You believe in the Devil don’t you?

I don’t believe in any supernatural entity.  Be they Gods, Devils, Angels, or Demons.  I do however believe in evil.  I believe that every man is responsible for his actions and should be held accountable.

  • But what if you’re wrong?

I just might be.  One of the benefits of Atheism is that I can entertain the possibility that everything I believe is incorrect.  That makes it my responsibility to only commit myself to the things that have been demonstrated as true and verifiable.  Even if that truth conflicts with my earlier beliefs.

  • Then how do you explain the (Sun, Stars, Beauty of flowers, intricacies of the human eye, air, the Mind, or something as wonderfully complex)?!

I can’t explain those things; I’m not that educated. Some of the references you cite simply haven’t been explainable yet.  I use the word yet quite specifically; to the best of my research religion has claimed the God was located inside all the things we couldn’t understand.

The heavy burden Atheists bear is that I understand that anything can be understood and demystified if enough men over enough lifetimes devote themselves to unlocking it.  There was a time when people with epilepsy were called “possessed”, women were possessions with no rights, and that slavery was completely justifiable.  It was all God’s Will, and that it had been ratified by religious texts written by men. That is Circular Reasoning, if I’m identifying the wrong logical fallacy please correct me. Over time, education, and enlightenment we found the root causes of these medical and societal ills.  We’ve even made steps towards addressing and eliminating some of these problems.   Let’s not forget that every single medical advancement we enjoy has been, and in many instances still to be won by completely defying religion(s).  Religion(s) that understand an educated populace that knows that there is nothing that can’t be understood is far more difficult to control.

  • But I know you are a good person inside!

(Throws hands up with no idea how to reply.)

  • What I ask of you.

Please be polite because Atheists are people too. The first example that comes to mind is that you should never say “I FOUND OUT YOU ARE AN ATHEIST!”, try saying “Discovered” or “Realised”.  Remember, we FIND OUT that someone is a SERIAL KILLER(!) or AN UNDERCOVER COP(!)


Now I will Play The Black Card!

Did my cufflinks give it away?

Did my cufflinks give it away?

As a Black American; the main belief I have been exposed to and that I can speak knowledgeably on is Christianity.  I cannot recognize, or reconcile Black America’s unyielding allegiance to a religion that is the central article of faith in justifying the enslavement of Africans and the wholesale slaughter of Native American Indians and First People(s).

There was a time when we as Black Americans had no choice but to adopt the names, religions, and behaviors of the oppressors.  Today we have a choice.  I cannot understand why so many of us still choose to comply.

That was not sarcasm.

None of what I just put forth is meant to change anyone’s mind or influence them.  What I hope it does is give you a better idea of where I stand and give you a few tips on how to explain to people if you feel the same way I do.

If you need someone to talk to because no one around you “gets it”, let me know.  Just remember that I won’t have many answers, and you will probably leave with more questions.  That’s a good thing.

If you enjoyed this, send $5 in BitCoin to this address.
It’ll buy me coffee to fuel my mind while I write!




YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com



  1. Carla

    I think there are several different reasons people develop religion 1. They are taught and aren’t brave enough, strong enough to say actually I think something different. 2. We always want to hope. I say that as someone who believes God but more than that I believe in hope. Hope is the alter I’m worshiping at


  2. Pingback: So You Realised I’m An Atheist. |

    I enjoyed reading that. I feel you expressed yourself well. I hope this email finds you well.

    Sent from my HTC EVO 4G LTE exclusively from Sprint

    Liked by 1 person


    My only question is, Where’d you get those cufflinks?! As an avid collector of cufflinks and, an out atheist who wears, Scarlet Letter A , Evolved, and We are all Africans tees, I struggle to find distinguishable dress clothing which I, wear daily as someone who works in a bank. A lapel pin would work well with those cufflinks too!


  5. V.Shepard

    My Dearest Yusef,
    This is why I love reading your thoughts.. THEY ARE YOURS! When people write any information why do we have to immediately decide to take sides with their thoughts or opinions about how they experience life? BE YOU and I’m going to BE ME and if that’s a problem Oh, Well! I’m accountable for ME….which has become my life time journey. Thanks for sharing your journeys with all of us. I’ve been enlighten at times and not in agreement at others but I CHOOSE to continue to allow myself to share in your “living experiences” each time open your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous

    I was reminded of a time long ago when I asked a co-worker how she established a value system without religion. While from a very young age, I was aware that different religions were a viable option, I was truly puzzled by the lack of a belief in a higher being.

    She probably wanted to say, “Dumb ass” but but maybe she just wrote a blog post about it. lol


    • YusefWateef

      Profound statement. I think that Atheists establish their values based on their family and the society they live in first, then move on to cobble their own. I don’t believe that not following religion is indicative of not having a value system, at least not for me or the people I associate with. The same is true in reverse, just because someone claims a religion does not mean that they have decent values.

      Did that co-worker ever answer your question?


      • Anonymous

        She did. And as I remember it, her answer was similar to yours. As I think back on it, I think that I just didn’t like her and that it was a safe way to attack her in a passive aggressive manner. Not one of my finer moments.


  7. Echo

    I LOVE IT! I was raised atheist. My dad is pretty militant and didn’t want us embracing slavery’s oppressive religion. My mom was a disgruntled catholic that quietly practiced her beliefs at home on her own. I grew up in the Bronx Ny so being black and atheist wasn’t a big deal. I went to an all white mainly Jewish school in westchester. My friends were Rastas, Muslim, atheist, catholic, the list goes on. It was a non issue. Until I moved to Florida for my high school years. One of the first question people ask you is “what church do you go to?” For about a week I was honest. “I don’t go to church” I was immediately labeled a devil worshipper and for other jealous reason spent YEARS without friends. The black atheist struggle is so real in the south. People always say slick shit to me about not taking my kids to church. My kids lie and say they go to church to fit in, they say it’s just easier. I don’t mess with them about it, but we have great honest convos about religion around the world and personal beliefs. They’ve also figured out early that if you’re black and not religious (mainly Christian) you will be labeled as evil. I’ve attended churches but I just can’t deal with being yelled at like that for an hour. The music is great, they mean well with the message. But I don’t need all that to live my life as a great, happy person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YusefWateef

      I can only imagine how painful it must have been to be “immediately labeled a devil worshipper”, my heart goes out to you on that. I never went through that. A truth that I have never shared with anyone before today is that there were people in my church that recognised the path that I was going down because they were on the same one, but for community/family reasons they just kept up the lie. I can remember more than one well respected person in the church my family went to when i was a kid specifically telling me to “keep those thoughts to myself”. I believe they were trying to protect me from some of the things they went through when they tried to have an Evidence Based discussion on religion.

      I’m still trying to reconcile what you mean when you said that they were “jealous.”

      I absolutely believe you when you talk about how life in the South made the struggle harder. It was once the heartland of slavery and oppression. Religion was (is?) one of the few control mechanisms left to chain Black Americans. Still, the Atheist struggle isn’t confined to anyones race.

      I’m happy to hear about your having open and honest conversations with your kids. It’s still heartbreaking to realise how cruel kids can be to each other. Even about something as private as your beliefs.

      Tryin’ to figure out how to be the example, ’cause talk is cheap.

      ~Talib Kweli, Little Brother


      • Echo

        It was a very lonely time for me when we moved to Florida but my family structure was so solid we made it through with many life lessons learned. It only made me wiser and stronger. I didn’t elaborate on jealousy because that would start a whole new convo, but to clarify the confusion I will. So in addition to learning that religion in the south was much different than in NYC for the first time I had to deal with colorism wighin the black community. constantly accused of “thinking I was better” than my mostly dark skinned peers because I was light skinned when in actually I was completely oblivious to colorism. In my NY neighborhood we had all shades and it was a non issue, I fell in the middle of the color spectrum but in Florida found myself on the “damn near white” end. We also were upper middle class in the south and lived on the “white side” of the train tracks (there was an actual track track that separated the city!!!) so by not living on the black side that was another reason to ostracize me and the whites definitely didn’t want anything to do with me and felt some type of way about is coming into their neighborhood and building the biggest house in the zip code. It was a mess. But back to the religion. Being black and nonreligion has a very “closeting” effect. Where it’s very very hard for us to be open to everyone in our lives. My in laws love me to pieces but I’m sure they would much rather their grand-children’s souls saved in the church. This is not a discussion I can have with them, 99% of my co- workers, and probably most of the planet in general.


  8. Hr Hamada

    I am replying as a person who has chosen faith for his self in an effort to bring another perspective to this.

    I have to applaud the very clear and insightful writing by YusefWateef.
    Even though I have made a personal choice, I fully support the right of people to make that choice, the choice of no faith, the choice of skepticism or even the choice not to choose at all, to ALL individuals. Additionally, they should be free to make that choice based on their own intellect and their own conscience free from “guilting them”. I speak and defend each person’s right to make their choice.
    It is especially hard to choose atheism for minorities including Blacks, where the dominant religious system is part of some peoples vision of “unity” or “shared identity” and when faced with pressure from friends, family, society and culture. But please make that choice with reason and intellect, not from hurt that the faith community has caused you or because of their hypocrisy or sanctimony.
    Stay strong my friends, you deserve the freedom of your choice. I respect that choice, and stand by you.


  9. Kennaleo

    Another great article. I am Christian but have friends that follow various religions, are atheists or choose to do whatever they want to do. I feel it is important to respect each other. I am not with bashing anyone for their beliefs and your article is well written and shows a great side I as a Christian rarely see. Thanks for this.


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  12. DelaMae

    Wow. This is the second article of yours that I find myself drawn to, Watt. The one that brought me here was on a totally different topic of interest. Atheist is an epithet I grew up with. Whispered or not even uttered in a pregnant emotional silence when discussing someone, usually non-Caribbean, because, God forbid. Just like “gay” or “homosexual”. I was raised by a single mother of mainly Afro-Caribbean descent in The Bronx. I am the eldest of her two daughters, so this meant I went to school, went to church, went to family functions and Caribbean-community functions, and went home. Not much hanging out with the heathen secular children I learned alongside in school. I had to beg and stamp my feet (just a little bit, had to set a good example for the little sister that ultimately became a “rebellious hellion”.Jealous.) to participate in any of the senior high school activities. I distinctly remember going to a Christian summer camp when I was 13 and FAKING giving my heart to the Lord because of the extreme peer pressure to belong. But I always felt like a fraud, and suffered internally with depression and self-loathing at my own personal hypocrisy. I stopped going to church full-time at 18, after I sang my last Christian tribute song at my grandfather’s funeral. No more Yolanda Adams for me. Because I knew I was weird, and shy, and introverted, and had disturbing non-mainstream (for a little black immigrant girl) thoughts and several full incriminating diaries that would surely someday out me as a heathen sexual deviant (a curious 13 year old girl, sheltered from everything except books, bless my mother’s value for intellect and learning). This article, forgive the overused yet completely apropos saying, “gave me life”! I still have a difficult time identifying myself as atheist, but I fully embrace the mindset that in this world of humans, we all need to allow other beliefs or nonbeliefs equal space and respect. The more I learn about the history of colonialism and several other institutionalized “realities”, the more disgusted I get and resolved to carve my own path of understanding while still practicing service to my community in meaningful and groundbreaking ways. Thank you for this article and thank everyone here for their comments, as I felt courage to step forward with my own contribution.


  13. YusefWateef

    Wow, DelaMae! It really warms my heart to read that what I wrote was of value to you. I can’t say that my own enlightenment was all my own doing either. My parents sewed those seeds by making sure that I was highly literate, and read lots of non-fiction to go along with the Sci-Fi and Horror (Thanks, dad!) that I swallowed by the chapter when I was growing up. I was able to dig into writings on Reason, Philosophy, and Critical Thinking early on in life.

    Interestingly enough, it was several of the older men who were revered and respected in the church that I had the best conversations about Atheism with. I was a big red dot on their radars because not only did I think that some of what was being taught didn’t stand the test of reason. I had th audacity to voice my questions! More than one of them wasn’t actually a true believer either! The unfortunate truth is that I was born and raised in a very small, provincial-minded city. Not a good or bad city, just small. That meant we had a strong village mentality. Good if you think the way everyone else does, bad if you don’t. I was advised to simply keep silent until I was old enough to go off to university and live on my own. That way I wouldn’t have to suffer the ostracization that came along with being someone who didn’t believe in god(s).

    I’ve never told anyone that before. The bib about men in the church who saw that I wasn’t a believer because of the questions I asked.

    Side note, did you listen to the Podcast on Atheism I did with Mandisa?


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  15. curiouscece

    I’m responding as a believer of God and just want to offer my perspective.
    First of all, I just want to say that I really enjoyed this article and how it was written so…respectfully!

    Many people become so disrespectful, combative and dismissive when it comes to hearing opinions different from their own regarding faith. As an American, I think that is one huge problem that we have in States, which have been magnified now that we are in the times of Trump. Also, the questions that you presented opened my eyes as to how silly we sound when we judge and stereotype those that belong to a religion (or even certain religions especially other than Christianity) and those who don’t. For example, a good person is a good person; it doesn’t matter what beliefs he or she may have. So many people do evil acts and still believe in God. So many people have used religion to justify evil things that they did (as you’ve mentioned throughout history). And let’s not forget hypocrisy that happens in churches (Shaggy’s Church Heathen, anyone?)

    As a child, I grew up in a (predominantly White) Lutheran Church (because of my mother’s and grandmother’s beliefs) in the South (where they moved) that had some members in the congregation that were actually racist! The pastor at that time even called them out on it amongst other problems in the church. Eventually a lot of members left because they didn’t feel welcome. (Talk about drama!) When we grew up, my mom let me and my sister know that she felt like it was her job to let us have an opportunity to know about God and that her job was done. The only reason that she stayed was for God, and not for the un-God-like members. During that time, the people that mistreated not only my family but other members in the church were the same people in church every single weekend. But I digress. I wanted to share that to say that to judge people’s acts of kindness based on their faith or lack thereof really made me think about my past experiences in such a religious atmosphere.
    I also liked what V. Shepard said – “Be YOU and I’m going to be ME.” I became friends with an atheist years ago who let me know when I asked him about his lack of faith that, “I don’t believe, but your life and spirituality is your own personal journey, and mine is my own. I’m not here to take you away from that.” Spirituality/believing is a personal journey; that’s the beauty of it, you choose what’s right for you and live your life accordingly. (Even within religions there are different denominations!) It’s so important to respect each other – and as a believer, I think that we should do our best to “love thy neighbor” no matter how different he or she may be in regards to faith.


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