1. Sunday morning. Or Saturday. Or whenever. I get to sleep in if I want to. And if I don’t want to – I almost never do – I can get up and do things I want to do, and not things other people expect me to do, in church or otherwise. I don’t feel that I have to be seen worshipping in order to be accepted as a decent person.
2. I don’t have to be afraid of my own thoughts. There are some pretty horrible things that can go through your mind. Things you would never do, but still things somehow worth thinking. Because you yourself need to understand why it’s a bad idea to do those things, and you couldn’t really understand those reasons unless you allow yourself to think the thoughts and examine them for soundness. I can think those thoughts and examine them, rather than fearing that a mystical superbeing is reading my mind and condemning me to eternal torment just for thinking.
3. I don’t have to pray. Meaning, if I have a challenge in my life, I don’t have to do this magical thing and then wait to see what happens, over and over, caught in a loop of hope and despair and guilt that maybe I haven’t done it right.4. When something happens I don’t understand, I can be sure there’s some real explanation for it. Even if sometimes that explanation is only “Shit happens.”
5. I don’t have to be afraid of being tormented for eternity in Hell. Instead, I can chuckle at the idea, and be glad I’m free of it.
6. Likewise, I’m not obliged to preach to friends and loved ones about the right way to live, for fear that they will be condemned to eternal torment.
7. I don’t have to read the Bible, or some other holy book, and spend great amounts of my time trying to make it make sense.
8. I can feel confident that I, with my own mind, am capable of understanding things. I don’t have to believe that only a priest or mystical leader is the only one who can understand this stuff, because he has the special privilege of talking to the Supreme Being, which I am not allowed to do.
9. I don’t have to be afraid that perfectly random events, or natural occurrences like lightning or hurricanes, are some sort of message or punishment from God.
10. I get to have friends who are bright, funny, rational, thoughtful individualists.