I’ve been thinking recently about the closets that we inhabit. Specifically with regard to my beliefs. I’m an atheist, a humanist, a pagan, awestruck by the majesty of mountains, the simple clarity of the moon, the taste of night on my tongue, the smell of winter…

And of course, some of these things are utterly contradictory. I heard recently, “We all have cognitive dissonance.” I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s definitely true for me. I am almost positive that no gods exist yet I feel Their presence. So, my closets are that, with my atheist friends, I’m a closeted polytheist; with my pagan friends, a closeted atheist.

Labels serve the purpose of shorthand—it’s easier to say “atheist” than to explain all the nuances of my disbelief…or belief. But they’re also closets we shut ourselves into; they can become cages, if we’re uncareful.

☯ I use that term, not to co-opt an LGBTQI term but to use a term we’re all familiar with. No offense is intended.

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