Childless & Godless

I have always been an outsider. For one year in Junior High, I focused on being “popular” and trying to fit in. By the time 8th grade rolled around, I was over it.

I’m not antisocial; I actually make friends easily and enjoy conversations with people. However, in the last few years I have found that two things set me apart from most of my peers. These two major differences make it very difficult for me to connect with a lot of people in my community.

I don’t have any kids.

I can count on one hand the number of my friends that are childless. Brendan and I live in a cul de sac that is full of families with children. Almost everyone I know that is in their 30s has at least one child.

That is fine. I love children. I especially love my nephews, who are all weird and wonderful. I just don’t want to be responsible for any of my own little humans.

There is also the matter of overpopulation, about which I am keenly aware. I would like to adopt one day, when my own craziness is under control enough for me to take on that responsibility. There are so many children already in the world, hoping to one day have a family. Why would I want to make more?

(This is in no way derisive of other people’s choices to have children; I am only outlining my own reasoning for not doing so).

I don’t believe in any deities.

This is the big one. I am scared to talk about this. I am scared to write about this— so much so that I have put off publishing this post for two weeks (sorry, John).

There is nothing in this big ol’ world that is hated more than atheism. I do have degrees in both psychology and sociology, and I understand subjectively the reactions of those that are religious to those of us who are not.  On a personal level, though, it’s hard to take.

I believe in science and reason, and I don’t at all fear death or worry about being alone in the universe. I don’t need faith to save me from anything. I have a wonderful life!

My husband, my family, and my dog love me dearly, and I love them… especially my husband!

I have everything I need to feel fulfilled and happy. I can see, hear, and feel the world around me, and I live my life as a humanist. Instead of preparing for an afterlife, I am fully engaged in this one, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Sorry to be redundant, but I want to say again that I am not criticizing anyone. My parents and many of my friends are religious, and I still love them!)

So now I’m preparing for the aftermath. This blog post was extremely difficult for me to write, and waiting for it to come out will be nerve-wracking. I hope I can keep my cool and not trash it before it’s out.

It may be that I’m opening myself up to fiery contention (or the opposite may happen… it’s usually either rage or cold shoulder). This little confession/explanation of mine will probably be ignored completely by anyone who feels uncomfortable reading it.

Whatever your reaction, I hope that you will remember that I’m the same person you already know. I’m “coming out”, I guess.

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Sara Quinn

Sara Quinn

Although she began college life as an art major, Sara was quickly sucked into the whirly depths of psychology. She spent a few years working as an educator and eventually became a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.Now she gets to make stuff for a living, which suits her fine.Sara co-owns Squid&Crow, and lives in Pasco with Brendan and Lila. She happily spends hours composing, coloring, and texturing (when she’s not geeking out on comic books and video games).

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  • adambrault

    Thanks for the honest, courageous post.

    Any person of religious belief who dislikes or disrespects someone for not having a religious belief (or the same belief as theirs) is a poor representation of both their beliefs and humanity.

    Comparison is a very dark human activity. Our insecurities come out when we see the differences between us and different choices someone else has made.

    When we’re in the majority, we’re so used to seeing the world through our comfortably consistent perspective that anything different feels like assault, even though it’s absolutely not. And when we are in the minority, we feel afraid to even say we’ve deviated from the “norm”, which actually reinforces the majority’s feeling that their view *is* the norm.

    We all have a lot to learn from each other about being human and our diverse perspectives and decisions help inform that much better than lockstep compliance with the status quo (which sucks and needs to be replaced!)

    I think you’re awesome and I’m grateful you are a person of tremendous compassion and someone who thinks about and fearlessly speaks honestly about such things.

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Sara, it’s ok. 🙂

    The most important thing is you are a caring, good person (I can tell from your posts, if not actually knowing you in person). I hope you aren’t greeted with rage, because that is the opposite of the purpose of religion. And religion itself, well, since you’ve studied, you know it’s a mess of humanity mixed in with a higher powers teachings. My point…religion IS hard to take at times. I follow my heart. Ultimately it’s Christ’s teachings, but not so much the details that churches dwell on, although I’m Catholic and have a complicated relationship with it that I work on. See??? We all struggle. No rage :). And as for kids. When it’s right, you will know. Maybe your purpose in this life will be to help many children. Who knows :)… I like your honest post! 🙂

  • Kriste Colley

    Thanks for writing this!! I talked about overpopulation all of the time before I had kids. AND, I really, really, really believe it!!! I ended up having kiddos for the wrong reasons in my 30s, and although I would never EVER ever change that, I honor and admire someone who has the courage to stick to what they believe in and what is right for them.

  • Lou Galindo

    I love that you wrote this. It’s funny because whenever I try to come up with a new post I often circle around to these same 2 topics, but I always back down because of… I don’t know… fear? Fear of judgment or repercussions or backlash? But I, too, have chosen not to have kids (and I don’t plan to adopt either, but I think it’s wonderful that there are people out there that want to provide homes for kids in the system). And my BF and I are in the same boat as you where pretty much every one of our friends has kids so, while we enjoy socializing with other people, it’s often difficult to make plans because of their kids. And while I wouldn’t characterize myself as atheist – my past and Catholic upbringing dictate that I am supposed to believe in “something” – I think I definitely identify as agnostic. I.e. sure, okay; I’m willing to believe but I need some proof. I think I’m just too pragmatic and logical to accept something unproven as being true. Thank you for being honest and showing me that I am not the only “weirdo” out here. =)

  • Sara Quinn

    Thank you, Lou!
    I have also sort of talked around these two things, but actually coming out and saying what I believe… ugh, it’s hard. All day yesterday I was a bundle of nerves. The reactions have been overwhelmingly supportive though, and now I feel like a weight has been lifted 🙂

  • Sara Quinn

    I don’t know about “fearlessly”… 🙂

    I’m so grateful for all of the kind responses. I feel the same about you guys– I enjoy your company, your posts, and your tweets.

    You’re right that sometimes the religious folk feel assaulted when others don’t share their beliefs. Sometimes they get nasty and come out fighting. I know plenty of non-believers who are extremely defensive (probably largely because they are tired of being fought). They get nasty right back, which only makes it worse.

    I don’t know… I wish we could all let our guard down a little and just be people.

  • Rod Savard

    Hello, fellow atheist!

    Congrats on having the courage to “come out.” Atheism does seem to be a dirty word in our society. I bet we will have a gay president before we have an atheist in the White House.

    Not exactly sure why atheists are viewed so negatively in this country, but maybe it’s because the popular perception of atheism is wrong. Not all atheists are the militant type, or are anti-theists. In fact most atheists I know are not like that. (There are a couple that I do know, and I find it horribly annoying.)

    Like yourself, I don’t feel I have some spiritual hole in my body, or that something else intangible is lacking, or that life is meaningless. Some of my religious friends and family insist otherwise of course… that there is no way I could possibly be happy not believing in a God.

    I will see you at church Sunday when we will partake of the next episode of Cosmos.

  • Doug Waltman

    I’m going to reinforce what Adam said: you are courageous. Courage is doing the thing that scares you despite your fear. Your post made me smile, and your courage gives me hope.

  • “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle

    I am a Christian and I am often saddened by how people can show so much hatred and judgment in the name of Christ. I admire you for speaking your truth and getting it out in the open. I hope not one word of hatred crosses your path because of this post. Although we may disagree on many things, I think we can agree that the world is always in need of more love and kindess 🙂

    As for the kids…they are not for the faint of heart, haha! I wish more people were honest with themselves when it came to this, because there are far too many children growing up without the loving parents they desperately need and desire. Deciding to have children is a HUGE move, but making a vow to raise another person’s child as your own is so incredibly admirable!

  • Becca Lingley

    I am so happy to be among the people you can count on one hand that is a female in her 30s without children (by choice). I’m glad you are you, Sara. 🙂

  • Sara Quinn

    This comment made my day! Neil Degrasse Tyson is like the “preacher” for the church of Science and Reason. 🙂 Do you guys do the Cosmos parties at Jennifer’s house? If not, let’s get together ourselves.
    @squidandcrow