As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.
My lack of faith in God is not a dilapidated house. It does not need to be razed to the ground or burned down to cinders. I refuse to be the wounded woman on a cross that you crucify with your disapproval like nails; I will only be the woman who believes in thunderstorms the same way lightning loves the tops of trees it strikes every time it gets tired of being pent up in an unforgiving sky, the only difference is that I believe these are natural weather phenomenons, not God’s belly rumbling or synapses firing. When my doorway is filled with groups of people wielding religious conversion pamphlets like crossbows, I will be the martyr who steps aside to let the arrows crack through the plaster in my wall instead of piercing my chest. This is not a eulogy to the believer I could have been. This is a battle cry to the believer I always have been, believer in sunsets like splashes of paint, handholding like willow branches brushing one another, new mornings after old nights spent drowning in despair, believer in love as an entire language instead of a single word. Just because my beliefs align themselves on a different spectrum does not mean they are the wrong wavelength or color. And even though I think the universe was created by the Big Bang instead of a God with magic dust shooting from his fingertips, my universe does not contain fewer stars.
I leave pansies, the symbolic flower of freethought, in memory of the Great Agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, who stood for equality, education, progress, free ideas and free lives, against the superstition and bigotry of religious dogma. We need men like him today more than ever. His writing still inspires us and challenges the 'better angels' of our nature, when people open their hearts and minds to his simple, honest humanity. Thank goodness he was here.
I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.
A totally nondenominational prayer: Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that I be forgiven for anything I may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which I may be eligible after the destruction of my body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.