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Disclaimer: I will be venting in this and possibly (probably) coming off as an epic bitch. Do not read if you believe in God and feel you would be offended. Do not comment if you do not expect me to debate the propositions within your comment. After that, it's all good.




  
If you have a belief in God, that belief is stupid. If you tell me that I must respect that belief, even if I disagree with it, that is also stupid.

I realize I am being a mean bitch when I say other people's beliefs are stupid. My response to that is "So what?" We have a tendency to treat each other with kid gloves, and try to be nice to everyone when we speak, when the world doesn't work like that. People vote against other people's rights, or marginalize minority groups, so we should be able to be mean every once in a while. Ultimately, all I'm doing is expressing an opinion, and if someone can't handle that and thinks I shouldn't say something because it's "mean", that strikes me as being a little bit too 13-year-old-girl.

I can't continue to be kind about this. This is the equivalent of you telling me you truly believe in the tooth fairy and expecting me to nod and smile without laughing in your face. Even worse, this is you telling me you believe in an all powerful tooth fairy who controls the universe and created the cosmos, can bend time to its will and reverse the laws of physics if it feels like it. And you want me to RESPECT that belief; i.e., not say anything against it or question its validity. I won't go too far into the reasons why there is pretty much no proof for the existence of God (and how the burden of proof lies on those making the claim, meaning my inability to completely disprove it is irrelevant to the debate) because we'd be here all night, but I welcome you to look up Bertrand Russel's cosmic teapot example, or if you're really ambitious, read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

I'm sitting here, baffled and incredulous, because I just got back from the Christmas Eve Mass my family all attended. The evening didn't get off to a good start when my mother commented on the beautiful church renovations (which, as far as I could tell, consisted of some fresh plaster, gold paint filigree, and modern purple light fixtures on the altar) that supposedly cost $800,000. All for the "beautification" of a church that preaches charity to the poor.

Belief in God (at least as it exists in Christianity) is set up to promote a terrifying amount of ignorance and intolerance. I'm not even talking about the people who set bombs off in abortion clinics, or beat the crap out of a gay kid because God hates fags. I wonder how many Christians would be willing to go sit through a service that ran directly contra to their beliefs, only for the love of their family. I'm not saying this makes me better than them (honestly, I was kind of an eye-rolling bitch at Mass, though I do maintain that my joyous singing was just a way to break up the tedium, not as an act of mockery). I'm just saying that a Christian wouldn't even CONSIDER going to an atheist philosophical meeting, or sit through a satanic ritual if someone they loved asked them to, because that would be asking too much. They wouldn't be able to tolerate it, nor would they be expected to.

A lot of the intolerance and ignorance is implicit. It's implicit in the way that my mother derisively tells me I'm not allowed to go get communion because I'm an atheist, and it wouldn't be respectful. It's implicit in the way that most Americans wouldn't vote for a professed atheistic candidate, even if they agreed with him in all of his politics. It's implicit in me feeling the need to put up a disclaimer to this post, when any Christian would never feel the need to warn people they might be offended by them posting a livejournal note about the wonders of Jesus Christ and the sins of non-Christian people. It's implicit in the way that someone won't even blink an eye at saying, "God bless you," or "Merry Christmas," in an assumption that everyone is Christian or at least believes in God.

It's like what my friend Jeff told me about how a guy at work will constantly say things like, "God has a plan," as an attempt to comfort when things start to go bad. Jeff is an atheist, but the idea that Jeff might be an atheist doesn't even cross this guy's mind. And if Jeff said anything, however respectful, to let this guy know the statement doesn't really help Jeff out in the way it's intended, then Jeff would be seen as the asshole, even though this other guy is the one who brought the subject up in the first place.

Here are some of the unedited, probably offensive, things that I believe:

I believe that raising a child in a specific faith is often if not always a form of child abuse.

I believe that religious belief springs from conditioning and human gullibility.

I believe that nonsense is often mistaken for profundity.

I believe that anyone who says they have a strong belief in a personal God hasn't really thought their beliefs out.

I believe that people get so angry at any attack on religion more than they do at an attack on any other belief they hold in part because religion is already so tenuous, and it's been programed into most religious people to not put up with any attack on their religion for this very reason.

I believe you can believe whatever you want to as long as those beliefs don't interfere with my personal freedoms or anyone else's. I also believe that you have the right to think I'm stupid, just like I have the right to think you're stupid. I ALSO believe that you have the right to express your belief that I'm stupid, just like I have the right to express my belief that you're stupid.



I'm usually not this angry about the whole situation, but the absolute insanity of religion was punching me in the face tonight. Imagine if the roles were switched, and Christians had to put up with a constant barrage of atheistic (or secular humanistic, if the word atheist is unpalatable to you) thoughts and values all year round, with a veritable cacophony of atheist thought screaming in their ear around Christmas time. You'll see that it'd be kind of easy to get angry about it.

And now I'm off to watch a Muppet Christmas Carol. Happy Holidays, everyone. 

Comments

( 13 people are enabling me — Reaffirm my pathetic existence )
phaetonschariot
Dec. 25th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
I commented several times today that "I hate the Baby Jesus. He cries too much."

I do have religious beliefs. They're largely based on evolution and interactions within ecosystems. I have a god, but it's not a human god. I have no expectations that anyone would even understand why this has meaning to me, let alone should be forced to have it drummed into them.

My sister was commenting a friend was talking to someone at work (a customer or someone) who was wearing a star of David. At the end of the conversation she said "Happy Hanukkah" and her coworkers got horribly upset because it was disrespectful to Christmas and oppressing their freedom of religion.

I say they can complain that their religion is being oppressed when every single mainstream tv show that is in a setting that reasonably would allow it doesn't have a super special Christmas episode. Usually every season.
baka_sensei
Dec. 25th, 2009 08:22 am (UTC)
Agreed. Christians are so ridiculous when they talk about how "oppressed" they are. How they are "discriminated against" for their religion. It makes me want to punch them.

Pantheism is cool. I'd totally promote that above anything else. (The first chapter in The God Delusion is even called "A Deeply Religious Non-Believer." Totally read that book. :D)
chocolate_frapp
Dec. 25th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
I know how you feel, I'm an atheist too.
OT but hi! how are you?! I haven't heard from you since I got to be your tour guide last month! I hope you enjoyed getting together as much as I did (sorry I got sick that one day). and it was fun to meet your friends too, please say hello to them for me!
baka_sensei
Dec. 25th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
It was really great to see you too! I'm just terrible about sitting down to write down all my memories of Cali, hahaha- it seems to only things that encourage me to write for any length of time are things that piss me off. :-( But I will tell them hello for you, and we really appreciated and enjoyed your company! :D
chocolate_frapp
Dec. 26th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Super! :)
akashacatbat
Dec. 25th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
There's hope, things are changing! :-D

Why, just this past election an openly homosexual candidate was endorsed by a coalition of African-American Christian ministers. It was only for a local position in the city of Detroit, but still.

I believe that a lot of what you're talking about will happen less and less frequently as our generation becomes the one in power.

And I only get down on you for reacting the way you do is because I believe you are a better person than all those fundamentalist Christians. When you behave in the same way that they do, you're not proving much; only that people can be intolerant no matter what it is they believe.

I understand your frustration, I really do, even if I am not as vocal about it. And I love you and am glad you came out and joined us for the movie. :-)
baka_sensei
Dec. 25th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
I see what you're saying, and I appreciate the words of hope. I still fail to see how I'm "behaving the same way that they do" by talking and writing about how I think they're stupid. I'm not picketing in front of their churches, I'm not voting against their right to assembly or right to believe what they want. It's funny how loudly opinionated professed atheists are often described as militant or over-the-top when they're just talking, when no one would call a Christian militant unless they actually set off a bomb, and even THEN, the media often seems to have sympathy for these people and attempts to understand their feelings that led up to them setting off a bomb.

I don't think I'm behaving the way they do. I don't think I'm intolerant of their beliefs in the senses that matter; i.e. I still allow that they should be able to believe what they want, even if I think it's stupid. I don't think I'm failing to prove something when I talk about this stuff, because there are very few complete atheists out there, and even less who are willing to talk about what they believe. Really, anything I'm doing is a drop in the bucket to the power that Christian ideology has in our nation. If I can make anyone stop and think even for a second, I've proved something.

The movie was fun. :D WHAT WE DOIN' TONIGHT!
akashacatbat
Dec. 25th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Not every Christian fundamentalist pickets. :-) And I do not agree with you about how the news media gives Christian terrorists carte blanche. Fox News, maybe, but I don't think a news station reporting WHY somebody bombed something is the same as excusing it or having sympathy for it. When something terrible happens, people want to know why and it is natural for news organizations to report that. Even if the "why" is not a very good reason.

And anyway, I wasn't talking about actions so much as attitudes. There's a difference. Your utter disgust is what concerns me. In certain ways you seem to be vilifying an entire group of people who you don't know, based on some stereotypes that may or may not be true.

And again, this is the anthropologist in me coming out. But this fear, loathing and distrust of "The Other" is what has caused every major war and human problem that has ever existed from the beginning of time. When you rage that everyone who believes differently than you do is stupid, that is just another form of the same problem, whether you act on it or not.

Yes, some fundamentalist Christians are just plain stupid. But people develop their beliefs for a number of different reasons, and it is not fair or accurate to say that everyone who believes in God is stupid. There are plenty of smart people who have a belief in God. Like our dad. :-)
baka_sensei
Dec. 26th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
I suppose I should clarify, or more accurately, say what I said in my original post and not the comment- the belief in God is a stupid belief, not necessarily the person. When I rail on about how stupid these people are, it's a comment on how stupid that belief is, and part of the reason I get so mad about it is that these are oftentimes otherwise intelligent people who hold what is really a transparently idiotic belief. That's the thing that bugs me.

My attitude towards people is largely shaped by their actions- I do stereotype occasionally, but I think everyone does and there's really no way around it. YOU do it too, no matter what you say otherwise. My attitude of disgust is not the same as that sense of "the Other" you talk about, which I am well aware of, having a liberal arts degree myself. My "disgust" is not something that goes to the extent that it would start a war, or kill someone, or even vote against any freedom of speech or belief that they have. My disgust is purely on a personal level, which is completely valid, and it would be ridiculous to say that that personal level of disgust would perpetuate violence. My personal disgust only means I would choose not to hang out with these people, which is completely within my right (or anyone else's right) to do.

If, once again, that's "mean", I would tell those people I would offend by my not liking them to grow up and put on some big boy pants, because not everyone is going to like you, nor should they HAVE to, and my dislike has nothing to do with their ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, or even religion to the extent that they use it as a life philosophy and don't try to convince me, themselves, or anyone else that there's a big man in the sky watching over them. Bottom line is, my disgust with them doesn't cause any harm to their freedoms or livelihoods, but is simply a reaction against illogical and unrealistic beliefs that have caused far more harm over the years, far more perpetuation of "Otherness" mentality, than my thinking a certain belief someone holds is stupid could every hope to perpetuate.
filthgoblin
Dec. 25th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
I hear you. These days I find myself unable to even utter the words "Happy Christmas" because it just feels wrong. If said to me, I have taken to just smiling benignly or saying "and to you" or something equally bland.

The thing that drives me even more eyecrossingly mental is that most of the people around me who are getting the most excited about Christmas are at the very least arreligious, or possibly as vehemently as atheistic as me. Why?! If you want to set aside a day to get together and exchange gifts, why hitch your wagon to that caravan of deluded crazies? Why choose a day at all?! The massive expectation, the huge expense. All for what? To celebrate the "birthday" of the alleged son of an imaginary sky being? Jesus wasn't even born in fucking December! And as for him being born of a virgin after she was impregnated by the Holy Ghost, all I can say is that Joseph must have been the first of the credulous Christians if he'd believe that bullshit.

Anyway, that's enough from me. I hope you had a nice Friday once you got all that out of your system.
baka_sensei
Dec. 25th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
I see what you're saying. It's quite annoying isn't it?

Friday has been better. Plus I read some Dawkins to make me feel better too, and all is well. Hope your Friday is going good as well!
ashbug
Dec. 26th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Hey, did you hear that the Pope got tackled by a woman in her early twenties at Christmas Eve mass? When I heard you were banned from ever attending mass again, I imagined you had done something similar.

P.S. Despite my icon, I don't actually think you are PMSing. I just like that icon.
baka_sensei
Dec. 26th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
No, I didn't hear that. But it sounds awesome. I love your icon too. :D
( 13 people are enabling me — Reaffirm my pathetic existence )

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baka_sensei
lover of muffins and one-legged puppies

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