Monday, August 18, 2008

Itching for Better

So, I was talking to the baby daddy the other day, and I mentioned a t-shirt I saw that said, "Threatening kids with a made up hell is child abuse." And I laughed about it.

He said, "Let's not be those parents."

"It won't be hard," I replied. "I don't believe in hell."

He shook his head. "No, let's not be those parents that are so fundamentally against the fundamentalists."

I agreed to it, but it really got me thinking. I don't like to think of myself as a bigot - but I can see how I could come off that way. If someone tells me they're a creationist (or intelligent design, as it has been relabeled, to make it sound nicer), I do automatically think "what a sheep." I question how anyone of intelligence could believe anything that insane and obviously false. Even when I was a "Christian" - I believed that God created the earth using evolution. And when the bible said "fear God", I just laughed and said "no."

So, I was never a fundamentalist. I never took the words of the bible as anything more than inspired writings that had a good message in there somewhere (after the 60 pages of A begat B begat C begat D - which is as far as I got when I tried to read the Bible at 13.)

The only time I have questioned my atheism since I embraced it was when I fell in love with a Christian boy. But he was no sheep. He was a beautiful human being - he truly just wanted everyone to get along. He didn't believe in any of the fundamentalist bigotries - homosexuality and pre/extra-marital fornication come to mind. He was just a nice guy - a nice guy who believed in God and used his religion to make himself a better person. I even went to church with him one Easter. It twigged me out, but it was nice to see a nice, happy community. The preacher talked about the resurection of Jesus and preached love.

But it quickly came to a halt when he started talking about those poor Jews, who didn't believe in Jesus Christ, our savior, and because of that, they were going to hell. Let me say that again, because it's just that crazy - those poor Jews are going to hell because they don't believe that Jesus was our savior. That's real Christian love for you.

I think that's when I shut my brain off to religion - I decided it was a horrible idea for people to get together and all believe in the same thing - because the guy in the front of the room told them too. I never want to tailor my beliefs because some charismatic speaker says that's how it is. I don't want to be a sheep.

But I need to be able to live in a world filled with them - I need to be able to respect them for who they are outside of that religion. And I need to teach that critical thinking and tolerance to my daughter - who will not be indoctrinated by me, even to atheism, if I can help it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Believe...

I believe the world would be a far better place if people just used the words "I believe..." more often.

I'm guilty of leaving them out, too. I'm guilty of thinking people who don't think like I do are insane or at the least very, very wrong. I don't like that about myself, tho. I'm trying to get past it. I want to respect my fellow woman (and fellow man) - but it's hard sometimes. It's really hard when they leave logic behind for canon and dogma.

If they'd just say, "I believe...", and maybe add a "because" in there somewhere - I could at least respect that. But if they say, "This is how it is." I fight back, automatically, head first, and without thinking. Then I feel like an ass.

I'd still like to banish organized religion. I don't care if you want to worship a god or a monkey or gum on the bottom of your shoe. But, I don't want you to try to convert me to magic-monkeyism or the cult of double mint. I just want you to form your own opinions that have reason behind them - not an old book, or a "because my pastor said so."

Just think about it for a while before you spew it back out at me. That's all I really want. I want you to think for yourself.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Atheists don't hate God.

Why not? Because there's no such being! Is that a difficult concept to fathom? God is another interesting fairy tale - he sits along side Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, Hercules, gnomes, woodland fairies, and the bogey man. He's kind of an asshole, too. All those plagues and the smitings... not cool.

And another thing about atheists - they don't all belong to one big group somewhere. They are not defined by their non-belief in gods any more than everyone over the age of seven is defined by their non-belief of faires or Santa Claus. Of course, you catch a lot more flack for not believing in this particular imaginary sky friend.

And, tho I am an atheist, I love my life. I love my friends, my child, my family. I am in awe of this amazing, beautiful world - the sky, the clouds, the trees, the lakes, the majesty and beauty of this planet we live on. I'm hopeful. I believe that people are good. I have faith in that. I have faith in you - dear friend - faith that you will love me, respect me, and come through when I need you.

So, you can accuse me of not believing in the "big peeping tom in the sky" - but never accuse me of lacking life, love or humanity. Those things are not tied to dear old JC and company.