Sunday, August 31, 2014

Things I've Never Said #3

Dear All of the People Who Have Been Assholes to Me Once I Tell Them I'm An Atheist, 
I always have to hold my tongue around you people, and I freaking hate it. I know I should probably tell you to go fuck yourselves, but if I did that, I'd already be confirming your opinion about atheists. So usually I try to meekly defend myself or change the conversation. Usually, however, you people are so disturbed by the fact I tell you that I'm an atheist that you just can't let it go. And usually, if you're Christian, you get to talk about your religion all you want If you happen to be fundamentalist, every once in a while some more moderate Christian people will slam you for it and make fun of you, but I definitely think I get more slack for being an atheist. I'm not allowed to criticize your beliefs, because somehow religion is different from all other beliefs in that it's somehow immune from criticism. 

Here are a few things I would like to explain to you, because most of you seem to be pretty ignorant and are usually otherwise awesome people. In some cases, I am the first out atheists that these people have met

#1: I don't have to explain myself to you. I don't owe you an explanation for my atheism. My beliefs and personal opinions are my beliefs and personal opinions are honestly none of your business unless I happen to let them be. If you want to nicely have a conversation about our theological differences, awesome (I actually love these conversations). If not, then let's let the topic of religion drop, shall we? I know how much some of you would just prefer I silently pretend to be religious, but I like to be genuine about myself. You might think I should be ashamed of this aspect of me, but I am not. 

#2: Being an atheist does not make me a monster or some alien creature. I'm still the person you knew and loved before.I have a conscience. While being religious may be a large part of who you are, being non-religious is a very small part of who I am. Most of the time, I don't even think about my being an atheist, except when it comes up or when you try to make me feel uncomfortable about it.  I'm probably more like you than I am unlike you. I put my pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. In fact, I almost wish the word "atheist" didn't exist, because that almost makes it sound like my atheism is a part of me, which it is not.

#3:  I don't actually care about the fact that you're religious or spiritual or whatever. Seriously, I don't. I know a good deal of you act like my atheism is somehow an affront on your religious beliefs, but it's not. I mean, yes, I care when you shove it down my throat. I care when you use it to justify your bigotry. I care when you think it gives you a free pass to be judgmental or be a totally awful person. But in general, I don't care that you're religious. It really doesn't affect my life whatsoever. Do I like religion? To be honest, not really. I think it does more harm than good, because I think all of the good things that religion does can be done through secular means. But it's your life. I've found most atheists don't really care, either, and the ones who do are usually just as obnoxious as you are. In my early days of atheism, I can say this wasn't always the case, but I like to think that I've evolved now. I know and love a good deal of people who happen to believe in God. It's fine. 

#4: I don't hate God. I don't believe in God. Saying that me being an atheist means I hate God is like saying you hate Santa Claus because you don't believe in Santa Claus. You can't hate something you don't believe exists.
#5: It's extremely obnoxious when you ask, "Don't you believe in anything?" Yes, I believe in many things: love, family, kindness, the Golden Rule, etc. Just not in any gods. I have found that it is quite possible to be moral and be an atheist. I don't try and be a good person because I think someone is watching me. I try and be a good person because I care about the welfare of society and the people (and creatures) around me. It brings me great pain to see someone around me get hurt, so I want to minimize the amount of harm that I do. 

#6: It's also obnoxious when you say, "But wouldn't it be so much better to believe in a god?" or "Why aren't you more open-minded?" or "Why don't you just believe in a god? It wouldn't hurt" or worse yet, "I know you know deep down that you believe in God." Honestly, concerning whether or not it's better to believe in God, everyone is different. If it makes you feel better to believe in a god, awesome. Overall, it doesn't make me feel better to believe in a god. If you believe in a god, especially in an infallible one who controls our fate, then you have to contend with a lot of awful things: world hunger, natural disasters, horrifying disabilities (ex. Tay-Sachs), inequality, most awful things. I don't have to worry about that. Anyway, it's not like I can change what I believe anymore than you could make yourself that fire is hot. I just don't believe in a god. And no, I don't believe it deep down. I just don't believe. Also, it's an issue that I've thought about quite a bit, but it's ultimately what I think. I might change my mind, but for the present being, this is my opinion. Perhaps you're the one who isn't so open-minded. 

#6: Oh and, by the way, when I tell you that I'm an atheist, please don't tell me that my grandmother is "in a better place" and "looking over me". You're only making yourself feel better, not me. When my grandmother had recently died and people kept telling me this, I only felt like they were shoving religion down my throat at a time when I was vulnerable and it also hurt because it only reminded me that I believe that she is gone and gone forever. As much as I would like to believe in an afterlife, I don't. This is one downside to being an atheist, but it is what it is. So if I lose anyone else in the future, please don't do this. 

That is all. Now, you were saying? 

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