Sick and Tired of God Stuff,
an open letter to theists
By Carol Roper
First of all, I am an atheist. Most likely one of the most adamant atheists you'll ever meet. Let's talk about why, and what it is that's got me completely fed up with a good number of believers of almost any stripe.|
There is only one simple reason that I am atheist. There is ample evidence that the concept of gods is entirely man made, and additionally, made from ignorance. Most theists have difficulty with this, yet as a friend of mine says, we atheists simply believe in ONE LESS god than you Christians (or Jews, or Moslems, etc) do. I have yet to find a Christian who has difficulty agreeing with me that Zeus or Poseidon ever existed... yet they cling to the ridiculous short-circuited rationalization that THEIR god DOES exist.
"But the Bible says"... hey. I don't believe in gods so obviously I don't believe in god-authored books, and therefore I have no interest whatsoever in arguing your quotations with you.
"How can you be moral and ethical without religion to guide you?" Perhaps theists consider themselves too dimwitted to sort out right from wrong, but I don't feel that we humans really have that problem. More seriously, ethics and morals are very easily proven to be man-made - societally driven, in fact. That's precisely why ethics and morals differ between cultures and groups. We can see, as communications become more global, that morals are becoming more similar around the world. The United Nations is a good example of politics trying to keep up with societal mores. We don't do 'bad' things because 'bad' things ultimately make our lives more difficult.
"What about miracles?" What about them? Never saw one, did you?
"But I have a personal relationship with God!" So, if I said I have a personal relationship with Harvey, who you cannot see, would you find that comforting? I find these 'personal relationships' with the unembodied to be downright scary. I prefer my relationships with those I can actually encounter on a physical plane, and further, I distrust anyone who really thinks such supernatural two-way relationships are real. If he or she can err that badly when facing reality, why should I trust him or her about anything?
And of course, we can look at history to show us just HOW dangerous this divine certainty is. Find me a war which wasn't, at least in large part, based on religious beliefs. Or which used religious beliefs to fire up the footsoldiers. God is always on OUR side, no matter who WE are. Look at the overwhelming destruction of native cultures by 'missionaries'. What a bunch of self-serving hypocrites, to presume to be so much better than everyone else in the world that they must change everyone to match themselves. Don't EVEN get me started.
"Don't you think I have as much right to my belief as you do to your atheism?" Ahhhh, we get to it now. Yes, indeed, I think you have the right to your own beliefs. I do not think you have the right to expect me to RESPECT, or in any way ACCEPT, the validity of those beliefs, however. Keep your disease to yourself, in other words. And I shall do the same... which is why the separation of church (or no church) and state is SO VERY important. EACH of us has the right to pursue our own philosophies, be they theological or not.
"BUT, keeping religion out of government IS making atheism the state belief!!" Good grief, are you that dense? If atheism were the official state 'belief' then religions would be outlawed. You wouldn't be permitted to worship, or carry on in all the other ritual behaviors you theists so love to indulge in. Religion and Atheism both have NO place in government. They are private belief structures and as such, should not enter into any lawmaking.
"But almost everybody believes in God, so how can you justify thinking we are wrong?" I don't need to justify thinking you are wrong to you. You can't justify thinking I am wrong to me - I have never encountered a theist who could give me a single reason to reconsider my position. And it's likely that few theists would be willing to honestly consider my position, either. AND THAT IS OKAY, in a world where freedom of thought is prized. Did you know that fully 25% of the world is at least agnostic? And that doesn't count all those who ARE agnostic or atheist but afraid to tell.
Which brings me to why I am so sick of 'godstuff'. First, the little stuff - half the people I meet feel compelled to 'share' something about their godliness with me. The Occupational Therapist sent to help my mother after she broke her hip: "God brought my family to the East Coast." Really, I would have bet it was a plane. Silly me.
The people who, after demanding to be told my beliefs (a subject I NEVER bring up first!) tell me they know I really do believe deep down because I am too nice a person to be atheist. Ok, you know me better than I do. Don't you think that's just a TAD condescending of you? I especially like "I am going to pray for you that Jesus will bring happiness into your life!" Um, hard as it is to accept, it IS possible to be happy without Jesus. Tell me was your life destroyed after you found out Santa wasn't real? No, not for long. Nothing really changed, did it? You still got presents, you just got them with different 'from' tags. Same with Jesus. Remember, in my view, he wasn't ever there to start with!!
Life is still wondrous for me, despite no theology in it. I don't miss it, I don't have a gaping hole in my life, no achingly empty space, and I certainly don't NEED something superstitious to help me though 'bad' times. Please believe me and don't feel the need to stuff your baloney into my turkey hoagie. If you don't want me to be rude to you, don't be rude to me. I won't be rude to you first.
Here's one... the people who have told my children to 'leave' this sinful home' of atheists. Who the HELL do they think they are? And for the record, no, I believe that there is nothing after we die. Since I would have to die to know, that's a question I'll happily put on indefinite hold. Now if you want to go into quantum theories of multiverses and such... wait, no. Christianity doesn't respect science, and 'god-forbid' we begin to debate the meaning of a scientific 'theory'. Which reminds me of the geometry and science teacher who told me that she teaches her children that no scientific theory is fact. My tax dollars are paying this idiot.
Now, the big stuff... Creationism, Intelligent Design, the Pledge of Allegiance, our 'Christian Nation'. TV evangelists. Jesus Fish. EVIL atheism. You know, your t-shirts, diamond and gold crucifix jewelry, Jesus tatoos and window signs proclaiming your religion wouldn't bother me a bit, if you didn't wear with them the attitude that those of us who don't agree are 'EVIL'. While we're at it, the very CONCEPT of 'evil', drives me bonkers. Evil carries with it a connotation of source - Satan, and a judgement of superiority by those judging. The bad angel who's getting punished forever, so who is out to drag all humans down with him. Sounds like an anime farce. Bad things do happen. So do good things. And so do many things which are neither bad nor good.
"What's wrong with Intelligent design?", you ask. Well, for starters, it's religion, not science. Teach it as religion if you feel like it, IN YOUR CHURCHES, but do NOT expect me to 'consider' it as science! Don't even TRY and teach that absurdity to my kids. Now, our stupid (yes, he is dimwitted, clearly) President wants to teach ID in science classes. Good grief. For chrissakes, folks, EVOLUTION IS A FACT. If you want to argue with me, at least get that much right!
Which brings us to our children. The final frontier in the god wars. No, I do NOT teach my children that there might be a god. Do you teach yours that there may not be a god? Why should I have to do differently than you? I don't doubt MY position at all. I do teach my children that they must treat everyone with respect, and that it is wrong to belittle others for any reason, and to think for themselves.
It was my children which made me go from basic atheist to dogmatic atheist. I should say, it was others telling me how to raise my children which sparked the change. I believe I am a good mother. I know that I did my best, always, to care for my kids. I RESENT the accusation that by not giving them religion that I have abused the sanctity of motherhood and thus have failed as a parent. I suggest that these sanctimonious people spend a bit more time examining themselves, and working to fix their own issues,and leave me to deal with my own issues, in my own way.
So yes, I am sick and tired of god stuff. Sick and tired of god-stuff always being thrust into the middle of everything. I don't care if you believe in one or twenty gods, I'll even drive you to your church if you need a ride. I'll fight for your right to attend the church of your choice. But I expect you to give me the same respect AS A PERSON that you demand from me, and which I willingly give you.
That is ALL I expect.
Is that really too much to ask?
Sure seems like it to me.
Carol Roper is an artist, writer & designer, wife and mother of two, and a fervent advocate of TRUE equal rights for all. She also happens to be atheist.
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