Whenever I hear the word atheist, it’s generally met with some sort of negative response. It’s has a very dark ring to it and just makes me feel threatened whenever I hear someone say it out loud. I don’t know if it’s just me and my catholic upbringing or whatever it is, it just seems to raise eyes whenever anyone says it and isn’t something I don’t want to be called.
Ever since I turned into an atheist I’ve felt very uneasy whenever someone says it and feel very worried I’m going to be shunned and almost always people see it as a negative and some defect in my personality, it’s really insulting to me. Because of this I feel extremely uncomfortable when someone starts talking about atheists. Not like a feeling of awkwardness, but strong nervousness or just plain old anxiety. Even when I’m talking to an atheist I still feel it ironically. I’m so worried people are going to think I’m some weird intellectual freak because of it and someone who isn’t moral, even though I’m a pretty nice, happy person who lives a very meaningful life, probably more than almost anyone I know.
As I think of this, it’s very much like LGBT rights years ago. People want to identify as gay, lesbian, whatever you are, but the word is very… scary. You really would feel much better saying you like men, women, etc. rather than saying I’m gay, I’m lesbian, etc. There is a serious issue right now in the LGBT and Atheist community, there is an extremely negative connotation with their identity words, especially the words gay and atheist. It deterred me from even accepting myself as an atheist while I deconverted from catholicism. But how do you change this terrible connotation?
Show them atheist, gay, lesbian, or whatever you are is a positive word and there’s nothing wrong with being that.
If you are ever in a situation where people are talking about atheists, don’t try to say why atheism is right or wrong, why you don’t believe, leave that out always unless someone explicitly asks. The one thing I’ve learned most from being out as an atheist is that very few people realize there’s nothing wrong with disbelief. I cannot stress the importance of explaining why there isn’t anything wrong with being an atheist and you’re still a good person. Just tell them, you still do the same things as everyone else, you still help strangers, you still don’t want people to die, it amazes me as I type this that so many people think atheists have handicapped morals. You do things because you feel it is the right thing to do just like everyone else including religious people, even though they may claim to do it for god.
Atheists are afraid of death and are cowards when it comes to death. There are no atheists in foxholes.
This is wrong on so many grounds. First of all, I am no more or less afraid of death since my religion changed, If not, I’m less afraid because I know that I’m more likely just going to fade away and depending on my death it could be very peaceful and relaxing. The idea of non-existence is scary but I think the prospect for living forever is equally if not more frightening. It should be natural to not want to die, especially if you’re not done with your life. Christians seem more willful to die, and in some cases actually want to die just to go to heaven. However near death things change… In fact, religious people are over three times to get aggressive end of life treatment for a terminal illness.¹ These attempts to live often end in vain. I think it shows that they go through the realization of death when it’s almost too late.
I was recently reading Greta Christina’s blog at gretachristina.typepad.com and I was reading her piece on ecumenicalism in these liberal Christianity circles and even includes some atheists. These people feel that ALL criticism of religion and sometimes just saying that you feel that a religion is wrong is intolerance. Not just dissent, you’re considered to have intolerance, bigotry, and hate in your views, simply for saying you disagree with something.
I have talked to them and why are they so less critical of believers? They feel that the believers are doing the right thing, they aren’t ruining the hippie paradise where everything is right and all views of religion are equally valid, but they are contributing, thinking that god is really three gods or is really named Allah, whatever. We are seen as the critics who hurt people’s feelings and ruin all the fun. The problem is, we need to show them all the wrongs religious conservatives commit and and hurt us frequently, show them the prejudices we face for simply not believing what someone else does.
Here’s my original comment/commentary on the piece:
Thank you so much for taking the time for writing this! Almost all of the atheists I know don’t worry much about religious liberals despite the ecumenical attitudes displayed by so many people. For example, my school has a gay straight alliance which I belong to. Theres a few people in there who think I can be the most intolerant bigot out there for saying I say something bad about religion, ESPECIALLY liberal Christianity. Whens someone makes an assertion that something is true and you should be violently punished in this life or the supposed afterlife as they claim, that shouldn’t be taken as their opinion. Facts are objective, right or wrong, and they willfully deny this time and time again, as if it doesn’t even matter if something is right or wrong. I’ve also noticed something within the progressive groups I’m in is that the motives of religious people matter. We were once talking about the Westboro Baptist Church and almost the entire discussion ended up being about how we shouldn’t be too critical of them because they feel like they are doing the right thing. People who try to restrict marriage rights for gays, they feel they are doing the right thing. Interestingly enough I asked some of them about atheist authors such as richard dawkins and criticism of religion in general. It’s amazing what they thought, they think we are like the Simon Cow critics of religion, not caring about others sensitivity and only trying to put people down. I think a lot of this is that many people don’t think there really is any power that religious people have over us despite everything we go through. They don’t feel we have a reason to and think we should just shut up. People really need to show them that atheist/agnostic discrimination is real and needs to be addressed, sometimes they even say that criticizing religion so much is why the stigma exists. What do you feel is the best way to combat this?
So I saw in my news feed widget that the Japanese whalers stopped their “scientific research”, also known as whaling under the guise of scientific research and then selling and stockpiling whale meat. Thanks to the environmentalist group “Sea Shepard” (who also has a show on discovery called Whale Wars) they stopped this horrific practice of killing whales to extinction.
But the more I think about this, the more I realize, why hasn’t the UN been taking more progressive action?
This provision to only kill whales for scientific research is so vague and unenforced that everyone claims scientific research and harpoons them to extinction. I understand the UN has only so much power, but I don’t think that they are powerless to Japan. One of the worst things about the UN is the fact that almost all of its power is indirect through boycotts and sanctions against countries. The problem is, often with the polluter nations these consequences for spewing out CO2 are nonexistent, any other punishments never happen either. So, the poor whales die. =(
Japan has been repeatedly ignoring the crisis and the UN follows. Whether the UN has the power to stop this is unknown but they clearly haven’t tried. Regardless, something needs to be done. My advice, help save a whale. You’re not some wacko hippie if you care about the environment, you’re someone in the world we don’t have enough of.
Honestly I prefer WordPress over Tumblr. Tumblr is basically a casserole made up of twitter, facebook, and blogging. It’s really not for me and I feel much better off here. I’ve tried to find free wordpress hosts that work just as well as wordpress.com but I’ve yet to make that work unfortunately.
Long story short, I’m staying here. No more pseudoblogging service Tumblr (for now).
Anyways, I’ve been recently asking myself recently more and more, what do I really want to with my life? By the way, I’m in high school and still have a while until that part of my life is over, so I’m not in a huge rush, but I definitely need to have an idea of what classes I might need to take for my electives and which AP’s.
I think I want to speak to people, students. I want to teach and advise people, I really want to be an expert in a field but I never knew what exactly. But now I think public policy is for me, I can’t think of anything that has always gotten me so excited, any given day of the year, for pretty much most of my life as a teenager. I really feel that as humans, we need to ask ourselves constantly, are we going in the direction we want? Are we happy with what were doing? If I could change anything about my life, what would I do first?
It’s these questions that make life so much more beautiful, why wouldn’t you try to live your life to the fullest everyday? It fails to amaze me everyday why people choose to make their lives worse or not care what they could be someday.
Just think about it for a second, wasting your life just because you don’t care what you could do someday? Sadly, I think I just summed up half of people in high school. As soon as I started viewing life as what I can achieve if use all my effort and doing what I need to do to live life to the fullest. It would seem self-explanatory, trying to enjoy life, but I don’t think most people try hard enough.