28 April 2008

An Unbelieving Life, Part 2: The Temptation

I realize that in the first half of this post, I committed what may be a grave mistake. Many religious people stereotype atheists as "angry against God", and certainly I was a very angry person as a child. However, my atheism is mostly as a result of an excellent education which involved a great deal of training in critical thinking; also, the fact that both my parents are very nebulously deistic and did not steep me for very long in any religious tradition. I am certainly angry about unreason, and bigotry, and I resent conservative Christian dogma because it turned my uncle into a monster, my ex-boyfriend into an unloving automaton, and my father into an angry, bitter old man. I have no such sentiments toward Judaism, however, and I even admire some belief systems such as Buddhism or Jainism.

With that being said, allow me to move on to the rest of the story.

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I am in awe of the myth of Christ's sacrifice.

Yes, you heard me correctly. The idea that some special person in the long-distant past laid down his priceless life out of unconditional love for all humanity makes my spine tingle and my eyes fill with tears of awe and grief. When I was twenty-one, a useless college dropout with no job and seemingly no future, I turned to Christ in desperation because I couldn't stand feeling so bad anymore. What I found wasn't God's love for me, though; it was my own love, for myself and for the world in which I have the great fortune to exist. From the day I awoke from my god-soaked stupor and realized the true nature of my epiphany, I swore that I would dedicate my life to love and harmlessness.

I also developed a great tolerance for Christians. I finally understood what the big deal was, and I admired them for opening their hearts to unconditional love and acceptance of their brethren. Alas, if only it were true! The day that a group of my Christian coworkers gathered near my desk and began slandering homosexuals and unbelievers, I felt the fires of anger stir again in my mind. This was a different anger, though, one that blamed the ideas and not the people espousing them. Now, I am teaching myself to win arguments with Christians, to show them the hypocrisy of the dogma they are taught by their preachers and hopefully to lead them to a kinder, gentler, more informed practice of their beliefs. Like PZ Myers said in Expelled - I don't want to take away anyone's faith. I just don't want to see it ruining their lives and their minds.

8 comments:

ksatyr said...

I doubt that atheists could ever convince the religious that we are not angry with the things that they believe in, nor even that they believe in something so incredibly unlikely. How does one explain that we take great issue with the results of that belief, most notably the many atrocities committed in the name of god or as a result of the trust placed in her followers.

veggiedude said...

"I am in awe of the myth of Christ's sacrifice."

Not me. If he was an ordinary man, yes. But if he was god, as christians say he was, then where is the sacrifice? if I was a god, I would do that too 'cause it would be no big deal.

I am in awe of the Islamic view of Jesus. To muslim holy scripts, he was a great pacifist to the point he scolded people for eating animals. They think of him as a prophet, who was saved from the crucifixion and lived out his remaining days with his family in peace.

Brett said...

Yeah, so.. you=awesome. Please excuse the simplicity of my words, I'm exhausted. I skimmed (cause I know all those things, also again, exhausted, 4am and long fucking month.)over a few of the things you wrote after doing a search for 'vegan atheist' in google (I don't know any others anymore) and ending up here, clearly you are an extremely intelligent person, I'd love to talk to you about whateverthefuck through email or something(coolohassy@gmail.com). Yes this is totally weird and will probably be very awkward(woo!) but I need to know more people that recognize the same things I do, and I can only assume the same goes for most people with.. our understandings? I don't even know how old or whether you're a guy or a girl, doesn't matter, let's say smart things to each other (yeah that was supposed to sound funny)! And no worries I in no way expect that this shall get a response, I'm used to being viewed as crazy with my weird sense of humor/wording. -Brett(really a lot more normal than my first impressions leave me seeming like)

eProxyRaisin said...

Enjoyed reading your posts. Like the way you express your thoughts clearly and concisely.

As an Indian by birth, vegetarian (though not vegan) by birth/choice and agnostic by choice, I identify with your views more than a little.

lark said...

Jesus was awesome and great and profoundly daring in his love. Imagine daring to be radically ethical and egalitarian as he was, in a time when it could easily get you the horrible death he got! It was like standing up for human rights in the Nazi regime.

lark said...

Jesus was awesome and great and profoundly daring in his love. Imagine daring to be radically ethical and egalitarian as he was, in a time when it could easily get you the horrible death he got! It was like standing up for human rights in the Nazi regime.

lark said...

Jesus was awesome and great and profoundly daring in his love. Imagine daring to be radically ethical and egalitarian as he was, in a time when it could easily get you the horrible death he got! It was like standing up for human rights in the Nazi regime.

Mrs. Howard said...

Please blog some more :)