I wouldn’t normally want religion to enter the happy little world I have going here, but a couple of days ago I had a very, very frustrating argument with a convert. I was hungry at the time, which didn’t help. So, for the record, this is where I am in the God-bothering stakes:
1: I don’t believe in God.
You can argue whatever damned theory you like, I don’t give a shit. I still don’t believe in God. That’s why it’s a belief system – it’s a faith. At some point, you have to just believe. It’s just that my “just believing” is in the opposite direction to yours, Mr. Convert.
(Also, if we’re going with the creation theory — the one that says, essentially, “everything must have had a creator. Except God, who is mysteriously exempt” — I say, what’s the difference between you taking the cut-off point as “except God” and me taking the cut-off point as “except the universe”?)
2: I heartily dislike going into any church.
Make of that what you will – maybe I’m just to sinful to like it. Rather like vampires can’t enter churches. Except in real life, and without the pointy teeth and immortality.
Or maybe, just maybe, I feel that it’s disrespectful.
Because I can see that it is a holy place for many people, and I feel nothing for it. It makes me uncomfortable, as though I’m intruding.
Especially when, as part of the service, I am required to say that I believe in God. (I didn’t say it, by the way. Because that would be lying.)
3: I don’t think Christianity (or indeed Judaism or Islam) have a particularly good track record when it comes to tolerance.
I can’t really comment on the other major religions – Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism… – because I simply don’t know enough.
But it’s easy to see that the more “Western” religions don’t do so well.
All this stuff about gay people being sinful and perverted, and about a woman’s place being, well, wherever she’ll shut the fuck up, and how every other religion is doomed to the fiery depths of Hell, and….
No. Just no.
I happen to think that if you want to believe there are little happy pixies in the bottom of your garden that created the world, that’s fine and lovely.
Just don’t try to foist your happy little pixies on me.
So why is it that when organised religion gets involved, suddenly anybody believing in the happy pixies are [heathens/ heretics/ infidels/ fucking stupid] and liable to [death by stoning/ banishment/ media stereotyping/ attempts at “saving their souls”]?
Why can’t they just live and let live?
More to the point, why on earth would I want to get involved with an organisation that actively goes against my most major form of politics — feminism? Which leads me on to…
4: I am a feminist.
And as such – athough (because I always feel I should put this disclaimer) I don’t speak for every feminist or indeed any particular feminist ‘ideology’ – I have a lot of ideals that set me at odds with organised religion.
Such as, the fact that I am unapologetically in favour of premarital sex. Which seems to be a fairly common no-no in religious circles.
Or the fact that I regard the right to an abortion as a very good thing.
Or the fact that I don’t believe that women should either “submit to their husbands”, nor “be their husband’s better half”. The former because – oh, just fuck off if you can’t see why that annoys me – and the latter because it’s yet another example of men being given the implied OK to behave badly – they are the “worse half”, logically, after all. And I, as the woman, should just forgive their faults, because hey, I’m “better”, I can afford to seem magnanimous.
Both of those examples come from the man who was trying to convert me, by the way.
I could go on in this department. But I’m sure you get the gist.
So, without the faith, without finding any comfort in the holy buildings, communities or ideals…
Tell me, why on earth I would want to convert?
Last night found me watching the BBC Sports Personalities of the Year.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have done that, but J wanted to see Lewis Hamilton (who came second, AGAIN! — Dammit, I had a headline with that one!) so, as he is feeling sniffly and ill, I humoured him and watched. This decision was in no way influenced by the fact that I get slightly lecherous over Lewis Hamilton.
So I knew it would be an old-boy’s network – because we all know that sports are only for real men, and the only real sports are for men. Well, I say ‘we all know’ – I don’t think it had registered with J, particularly, but then again, he only watches motorsport.
But there were women – honest.
There was Paula Radcliffe, who had a baby and came back – *gasp* – “and the question that every Mum wants to know, Paula, is – how did you do it so quickly?” Gushed the female presenter.
Not, tell us how the last year went for you. Not, how did you feel you performed in X.
No, because now she is a Mother, and therefore, what she has to say will only be of interest to other mothers. How does it feel to have your audience narrowed for you so quickly, Paula? That would have been a much more interesting question.
There was a little old lady who won the “unsung hero” award.
Oh, and there was a Ladies’ Football Team – who did much better than their male counterparts, the male presenter informed us.
Right before walking up to the team with the words, “hello, girls”.
Yes, that’s right. “Girls“.
It’s just a hunch of mine, but you know, I was fairly sure that they had all been through puberty. Which would make them women, actually, or ladies. Not girls.
In fact, I was so busy shouting at the TV for this blunder, I almost failed to notice that the clips that followed had no relation to the Ladies’ team – being, as they were, footage of men.
Don’t men get enough coverage anyway?
This reminds me why
a) I don’t watch TV, and
b) I don’t follow sports.
I see enough men in daily life, without the media trying to tell me that while men can be and do whatever the hell they want, the only women in existence are “girls” or “mothers”.
I myself am neither, and I am fairly certain I exist.
I don’t have the mental energy for a thinky post right now, so I’m leaving some mild entertainment instead. These are conversations that have actually taken place in the last week or so (sometimes paraphrased for continuity’s sake):
My sister: Well, I’m more of a feminist than you are
My sister: You’re engaged
[My brain implodes; arguments ensue]
Me: No, I’m not saying I’m more feminist than you. But you’re not more feminist than me, either.
My sister: Well then you can be your feminist and I’ll be mine.
Me: Ok. You can wear skirts and be single and I’ll wear trousers and be engaged and we’ll even out somewhere in the middle.
My sister: Ok.
Me: But stop stealing my tops. And wash that bra of mine that you’re wearing.
My sister: But that’s what sisters are for…
J: I’m glad you’re into this feminism thing.
Me: What? Why?
J: Well, given your…. what’s that word?… you…
Me: Me being me?
J: Yeah… Given you being you, something might actually get done… I could see you in parliament, causing trouble… and I’d be able to say “she’s my wife!”
Me: Probably completely disproving whatever point I wanted to make.
J: Hm. Probably.
Me: So for the good of my country, I shouldn’t marry you…
Chef: So you’re a feminist, then?
Me: Well, yes.
Chef: So that’s why you shouted at [another Chef’s name] for calling you ‘Baby’
Me: Yeah, it helped, but I think most people would shout at him if he called them ‘Baby’…