That God Post in Full…

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?

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7 Comments on “That God Post in Full…”

  1. Fannie says:

    Good post. There is much within it that I identify with as well.

  2. Fannie says:

    Although, don’t let people fool you, atheism is not a faith. Read this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/bushwells/2007/07/a_parable.php

  3. stevegask says:

    Hey Rachel

    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.

    If you truly believe the Bible and I do – you cannot and will not ever believe by yourself – and if God doesn’t intervene, you can die in that condition too.

    You come across as angry?

    Signed
    Mr Convert – arrested in his tracks, while he wasn’t even looking for a God!

  4. HHM says:

    Although I have no belief in a monotheistic God, I think militant antitheism (as opposed to atheism), draws fallacious conclusions about religion. The following quote by the philosopher Mary Midgley elucidates the point very well:

    “It turns out that the evils which have infested religion are not confined to it, but are ones that can accompany any successful human institution. Nor is it even clear that religion itself is something that the human race either can or should be cured of.”

    While Stalinism, Nazism, Galtonian eugenics, et cetera, were not based on religion (the last was actually based on a distorted perception of evolution), their ideologies became accepted as dogma, and led to monstrosities in history. It doesn’t matter whether the ideology is religious, political, or scientific. The danger comes not from the ideology itself, but from people accepting and following it dogmatically without any independent thinking.

  5. Rachel says:

    Fannie – thank you.
    I appreciate your point, and the link, so lest there be any confusion, I do not think that atheism is a religion. Clearly it is not.

    However, I feel that one could argue the point about atheism being a faith. Surely it depends on how it is phrased. “I do not believe in God” does of course show an absence of faith. However, “I believe there is no God” or “I believe there are no Gods” must (grammatically at least!) show a faith of some kind.
    Perplexing.

    “Mr Convert” – I am angry. I do not foist my faith (or lack of!) on others. I wish that they could be a little more respectful towards me.

    Is your other point that without God’s help, I will always be a heathen unbeliever? Please do correct me if I have misinterpreted, because I would hate to think that you’d come to my blog to tell me that on my death, my soul will suffer.

    Hane – yes, this is true, and both the quote and the sentiment are sensible.
    On the other hand, and possibly because I’m slightly more likely to associate with dogmatic Christians than dogmatic Nazis, I’ve found that the infuriating “your soul is DOOOOMED” does come more from the God-botherers.

    I have nothing against religion. If other people can draw comfort from a faith, well done them.

    It’s only the evangelists that annoy me, and, I’d say, with fairly good reason.

  6. mythago says:

    I wouldn’t want you to convert. My religion forbids proselytizing. We aren’t big on the “burn in hell” concept either. Hint: Judaism and Islam aren’t “fundamentalist Christianity only with no Jesus and the Muslims call their god Allah”.

    Which is to say, I don’t care one way or the other if you do or don’t believe in (a) god(s), but your atheism seems much more logical and principled when it’s not undergirded with the same “religion = Christianity” straightjacket that the fundamentalist Christians push.

  7. Rachel says:

    No! Really?!

    I’m fully aware that different religions are, well, different. Thank you for the hint, though.

    Actually, I’ve come to respect Islam a lot more than I respect Christianity for its stance on womens’ rights.
    However, we still hit the fundamental flaws of me not believing in Allah, or being particularly swayed by their mosques or community.

    I don’t need my atheism to seem “principled”. I don’t even need it to seem “logical”. I just need it to seem like a reasonable belief that I should not be having to explain.


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