Does this even warrant a blogpost? Normally, I’d say no.
Anyhoo. Let’s see how we go.
Yes, me, I’m an atheist. I’m not fond of the word. It brings to mind angry News24 trolls, with their smug, superior and badly-spelled unsolicited rantings. What’s worse than a loud, self-righteous religious person on a mission to convert the heathens? A loud self-righteous atheist person on a mission of their own. Seriously, it’s embarrassing.
I don’t often mention my personal beliefs unless asked because they’re… um… personal? Unless in direct response to somebody’s question, I don’t reckon it affects anyone else nor needs to be discussed. I don’t feel happy when somebody tries to tell me what I believe is all wrong, so why would I do it to anyone else? Sometimes you can have interesting and enlightening discussions where everybody talks about what they believe that DON’T devolve into sweary shouting matches, but humans being what they are (sucky stupid things) this doesn’t happen very often.
So ja. For me, atheist is a loaded and ugly word. I’m not fond of short and sweet labels at the best of times. Labels are for people who need to instantly lump somebody in a stereotyped, ill-fitting and uncomfortable little box, in order for the labeller to feel they understand the labelee perfectly and can move on. I don’t fit in a box. Bits stick out. My knees hurt. I have lumps that don’t conform to square edges. I’m no contortionist and there will always be some part of me not covered by any convenient one-word label.
So when we come to religious beliefs, the best way to describe me would probably be “person who has thought about this for many years and finally come to a conclusion that seems to make sense to me although of course I might be completely wrong because I’m just human and what do I know, really and if you believe something else it’s perfectly fine I won’t require you adhere to my beliefs and you do the same for me and then everything will be just dandy”
There isn’t a box to tick on a form for this one. So I’m stuck with the A word.
I’ve had plenty of bad experiences with religious folk, but I’m grown up enough to realise that it doesn’t mean they’re all like that and I will always judge a person by how they treat me and how I see them treat others. Had those icky zealots been atheists, they’d likely be the nasty kind too. Because sucky humans remain sucky humans, whatever they do on Sundays (or Saturdays or Fridays or no-days). It’s about the individual – always has been. Some people use religion as an excuse to do bad, unkind or unreasonable shit. Those people would always have found an excuse.
There’s plenty about faith and belief that doesn’t make sense to me. Which is why I don’t do it. But if it makes sense to someone else, and they’re not hurting anyone else – what the heck business is it of mine? I’m not going to open my mouth and tell them what I believe and that they’re wrong and I’m right. I’m not going to trot out hackneyed and rude clichés about Flying Spaghetti Monsters or Imaginary Friends. Those particular witticisms are on the same level as that ol’ homophobic chestnut “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”. Not funny, not clever, and you’re surely not the first person to have spouted those particular verbal-diarrhoea chunky nuggets, so please refrain from laughing at your own jokes, Mr Not-Funny-or-Clever Troll-person.
I will like you if you’re nice. I won’t like you if you’re not.
You do the same for me, and as I said – all’s dandy.
I just don’t want to be chucked in the box with the nasties.
There. Got that off my chest.