After devouring every book on humanism and atheism that I could get my hands on over the last 5 years, I have lost my perspective completely on how dismally uncreative my detractors’ arguments and barbs have always been. The bright and shiny Christian friends I cherish disappoint me with their impoverished sense of wonder about the way humanists and non Christians think.
The questions that arise from college educated, middle class Americans who have access to as much information as I ever enjoyed, are self-made victims of the atrophy that sets in when we graduate college and thus give up reading.
I do not mean to smugly assert that my point of view is beyond the sphere of debate, for it certainly is not. The unpleasant reality is that I have come to the table seeking a great exchange of compelling words and the chair opposite me is empty. The arguments marshalled out for the last ten years in response to atheism’s watershed decade of bestsellers are tired ones and maybe they have given their last useful effort like the horse in the end of True Grit. Come on Christians. Get off the dead horse and finish this mission on foot.
The questions I received on Facebook are classic face palm arguments. The phrasing changes but the query stays the same, much to the effect of “you seem to be angry/warring against something you do not believe exists/isn’t it exhausting?”
Well, I didn’t think so. I will forgive the ad hominen attack about my perceived anger. I might be as happy as a lark, you see…rubbing lotion on a beautiful woman and then pausing for a moment to make an off handed remark about culture wars. I do so with a smile because perhaps I love debate. Perhaps I subscribe to the advice, “be ruthless with ideas but gentle with people.” I try to do this, in earnest I truly do.
The logic of the rest question is pitiful. I am not warring against any god nor am I turning my back or hardening my heart towards him as I have been known to do with Taylor Swift. I am clearly raising objections to the gamut of small to major developments in our culture wars. From Chick Fil A to Rick Santorum, from Tim Tebow to Tel Aviv. I am a witness to history. My peon point of view may be just that. But I am trying. I am bringing a water baloon to an inferno of clashing concepts littering the media. I just want to do my part.
I was asked if my supposed “rage” is exhausting. The smear of a question was brought to me via a man who has served in Iraq and has seen a good bit more of the world than I have, or will. My rage is not emotionally driven, and if it is exhausting I have a way to deal with it. I remind myself that those living during the Civil Rights movement were obligated by their conscience to put things right. Some gave all they had. But there were some bit players who used their limited opportunities to make small ripples. When enough of them chipped in, fairness and equality were honored.
My atheist burden is not a burden. How can I complain even if it were? I have one life to live and as the Hitch said, death will offer a reprieve of this burden and allow plenty of time for silence. It’s time to be loud. It’s time to speak your mind and heart. Being spanked to tears and ritually shamed by having to strip for a parent’s delightful spanking routine is exhausting for a twelve year old girl somewhere in Tennessee who’s dad is a deacon in a small Lutheran church. He believes it to be God’s will and the debate is over before it begins. Or the boy who is beaten senseless because he wonders aloud what kissing a boy might be like. The churches that deny membership rights and benefits to interracial couples make for an exhausting ordeal. My burden is like a fanny pack in Chinatown. It may be dorky and repellant but I find it practical to help me take in my visit to this strange and bewildering world. Exhausting? Maybe for those in Indonesia who are jailed for it. But my strong hatred for religious sensibilities is strengthened by the killing of the American Ambassador. And besides that, a boy younger than twelve years old was beheaded for blasphemy in one of those detestable Middle Eastern cities last week. Oh wait, who cares about that boy being beheaded? Why rage against that if Allah is not real? Why be upset at a god who doesn’t exist. Perhaps, you fucking morons, it is because when fucked up ideas take root in the otherwise not fucked up minds of otherwise not fucked up people, they do fucked up things. Exhausted? Who am I to complain.
I have lived through some educational and emotional mishandling. I cry foul when I see the religious community infringe on the happiness of others, insofar as to threaten their dreams, like getting married to a same sex life partner.