I would say it depends on which part of my journey I am answering this question. If this question were to be asked, say, 5 or 6 years ago when I was still following the mainstream christian religion and attending church services, I might think twice about saying I don’t believe in God because of the fear-based church teachings. But at this point of my life, I would say I am not afraid to be an atheist, in the sense that I don’t really see any need to label myself based on what I believe. I think labelling is probably more for the sake of convenience when people were to categorise me, such as in a conversation or when filling up a form to declare my religion. Other than that, I would see myself as a human being, or spiritual being on a human journey. If someone were to classify me as an atheist, I am ok with that. In actuality, my beliefs change every day, if not within a day itself, from atheism to christianity to buddhism and back to atheism, so given my ever changing beliefs, it can be hard to pinpoint at which moment of my life that I am an atheist, so to speak.
This is honestly where I stand because I believe we are multi-dimensional beings and there are grey areas regarding what each of us actually believes in. In fact, the word “atheism” is hardly used in my growing up years, and the closest word to it is “free thinker”. So I would consider myself as a free thinker, as I am free to choose which aspects of a particular religion or belief system to subscribe to, without wholly subscribing to that particular religion or belief system. Perhaps the word “atheism” is more commonly used in America and Europe, which may be seen as a stance against religions. I like reading materials that are open to possibilities and invite the readers to think for themselves on the various perspectives of looking at things/life/God/divine, such as Rob Bell’s new book “What we talk about when we talk about God”.
It is liberating for me to remain a free thinker. Sometimes I would like to see myself as a mystic, having a sense of awe and wonder about the mysterious. Maybe each of us has that childlike wonder within us. For example, there is something inspiring about Nature – the trees, the flowers, the clouds, the stars – when I pay attention to it and allow a sense of awe and wonder to arise in me. It happens to me spontaneously and is not something that I must do, otherwise it can become another form of religion filled with rules and regulations.
“The Lamps are different, but the Light is the same.” ~ Rumi