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Taking the Road Less Traveled Ashley Denney Freethought Today Oct 2008 25 8 Docstoc pg 15 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner Further reproduction prohibited without pe


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,/And sorry I could not travel both/And be one traveler, long I stood,/And looked down one as far as I could/To where it bent in the undergrowth," wrote the poet Robert Frost in his well-known work "The Road Not Taken." The experience related in "The Road Not Taken" is one which everyone undergoes. At some point, we all find ourselves deciding which' path we will take and what our future will be. For me, one of these decisions occurred when I was 16, as I stood at the crossroads, struggling to choose between my religious upbringing and my new consciousness that my childhood faith no longer suited me.The inner turmoil caused by asking these questions grew to a point where I could no longer ignore the decision in front of me. Two monuis after my 16th birthday, I began thinking of myself as an agnostic. Later, I realized that I no longer believed in God at all, though I did not rule out the possibility of one existing. I know with certainty, however, that I do not believe in a Christian God. It has been more than three years since I made my decision and I have never regretted it. As I moved past my Christianity, I read the works of Robert Ingersoll, Albert Camus, and Henry David Thoreau. They helped confirm my lack of belief and form a new system of values. I learned to value life now, because there is not a second chance after death. The choice I made was liberating-I no longer feel guilty about asking questions. I no longer worry about the fates of my unbelieving friends and family. My lack of faith also brought a new responsibility. My misfortunes were not a part of some grander plan set out by God. Not believing meant being responsible for my own actions and decisions, with no divine guidance to rely on. As difficult as that responsibility can be, my new freedom is well worth it. My life has been fuller and richer since I began deciding for myself the best way to live instead of depending on a book I could not relate to. Widi Robe

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