I apologize to any atheists and non-believers that I knew growing up, some of whom might have been forced to stay quiet about their non-belief just to avoid confrontation and prejudice. While I may have acted ecumenical and understanding of your position, inside I felt anger and a sense of satisfaction at the thought that you would regret your ideas when you were facing God’s judgment. And in defending my faith, I told many lies and pretended to be informed about things that I knew almost nothing about. I know better now.
I apologize to the entire female gender, especially my fiancée. I believed that women were created by God explicitly for men. I believed that a woman’s place in marriage was that of complete servitude to her husband. I used to think that “feminist” was a synonym for “lesbian.” I was against a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, and placed the welfare of a thoughtless, emotionless clump of not-yet-human tissue over the welfare of a living human being with thoughts, memories and feelings. And even though my opinions changed a bit in my later teenage years, I still am ashamed to admit that, until my de-conversion to atheism, I actually believed that it was impossible for a man to rape his wife. I was wrong.
I apologize to homosexuals, because even when I had the best of intentions, I still equated your lifestyle to murder, rape, and robbery. I chose to ignore the fact that Jesus never once condemned homosexuals. I chose to follow the words of Paul rather than the words of Jesus. I chose to view simple, natural romantic love between two persons of the same sex as an unnatural abomination and a plague. As much as I claimed to “love” and “respect” you, I believed that you were going to hell for being who you are. This is neither loving nor respectful, and I should have known better.
I apologize for the time and money I wasted on religion. Rather than donating a tenth of my salary and giving occasional donations to charities that would have helped the sick or the poor that really needed it, I instead gave it to religious institutions and missionaries who proceeded to use it to arrogantly spread superstition to third-world cultures who didn’t ask for that or need it.
I apologize to everyone who was in my old Sunday school class. I taught you things that I now know to be untrue, and even some things that I knew at the time were untrue. I filled your heads with destructive superstitions and scared you with ideas of hell and Satan to frighten you into believing. I taught you that the bible is infallible. I taught you that there is a heaven and that there’s only one way to get there. I insulted your intelligence by using scare tactics and appeals to ignorance to get you to accept an unfounded, inconsistent, incoherent message. I didn’t teach you important things like skepticism, doubt, science, reason, and logic.
I apologize for condemning people who were happy and not hurting anyone else. This includes gays, lesbians, transsexuals, unmarried co-habitating couples, secular humanists, fans of heavy metal music, recreational drug users, and everyone in between. My religion would not allow me to try to understand you and see you as moral and intellectual equals. I judged and dismissed your lifestyle as wrong just because of what an antiquated text said, and I therefore robbed myself of the chance to get to know interesting people and for no good reason. If I’d closed my bible and opened my mind, I might even have learned from you, but I was too misguided and stubborn.
I apologize to everyone, everywhere, for allowing religion to make me a misinformed, holier-than-thou, immoral, stubborn, chauvinistic, misanthropic asshole. I apologize for letting my Calvinist “everything happens for a reason” philosophy blind me to the sickness, hunger, poverty, and death happening around me. I apologize for letting the idea that god has a “plan” give me an excuse not to care about these things, or worse… to blame them on the sufferer somehow. I apologize for using an artificial sense of entitlement from an imaginary god to justify actions that I knew weren’t the right thing to do. I apologize for doing what the bible told me, even when I knew it was wrong.
I’m sorry to everyone I hurt, lied to, ignored, looked down upon, or judged in the first 23 years of my life, and I promise I will try to do better. I will do better.