What the heck am I, and why should it matter?
Why can't my beliefs (or rather, my unbeliefs) be left alone... why can't religious people (Christians, really) refrain from saying that I'm the one that is suffering from arrested development? I don't go around insulting their intelligence, though I do occasionally utter a few cynical remarks about churches and ministers once in a while (I'm trying to correct this - but in this article I'm really going to 'dish it out', so get ready).
I find remarks to the effect that I'm going to suddenly go back to being a religious person ("and I hope I live to see the day...") remarks incredibly insulting. Essentially, the person is telling me that all my years of self-development outside of being a Christian are worthless and that I should be wasting my time 'questioning' things. Give me a break.
And while we're on the subject, why the heck do I have to be classified? You know what I mean... a lot of people I go to school with don't know what the words "Agnostic" or "Atheist" mean, and basically, Christian people like to interact with other Christians. They don't like being informed that the person that they're talking to doesn't share their beliefs. Take this scene, for instance, after a church service where I gave a scripture reading:
YOUTH LEADER WOMAN: "You were great, you should become a minister."
ME: "Well that'd be pretty tough considering that I'm an Atheist* now."
YOUTH LEADER WOMAN: "Excuse me while I blow out his ear!"
Now, I suppose I could have refrained from telling her that. I really just show up to fit in with things sometimes - although I don't see why I bother. I never really made any great friends in church, possibly because I'm a person who likes having things proven to me (imagine that), but I digress. (I like disagreeing with people in youth groups. Call it an intellectual duty.) Speaking of proving things, one of the insidious catches of religion is the one where the doubters and unbelievers are frowned upon - of course they're meant to feel marginalized! Can you imagine how long the religion would stay together if people were encouraged to ask questions (and by asking I mean outside the lines of the obvious)? Ha! Yes, all you have to do is make:
Asking questions - Bad
Believing without thinking - Good
By the way, why do we live in a world where people are judged by their beliefs instead of their actions? Wow, that sure makes sense.
These bloody religions - they're worse than the bloody government. Everyone thinks they know what's best for you - Big Brother is alive and well, folks.
I guess it's not all doom and gloom though. There are less people in the churches every year, although I suspect that instead of using their detachment as a springboard to self-understanding they simply turn to another empty promise instead... television, for instance. Now there's a social programming model worth complaining about. What would some of us know if it wasn't for television? Everyone these days (myself included, sometimes) is influenced by that box and we formulate opinions and sentiments based solely upon what we watch. And the rest of the media isn't much better, unfortunately.
The way to learn how to live is to live, in my opinion. If any children are reading this, my advice to you is to ditch religion as fast as you can, before they really get you as a pre-teen. Of course, you could continue to believe in god if that is your wish. And Jesus was a really cool fellow, but if he's as nice as they say he is, then would he allow this degradation of our minds to continue? I doubt it. Ask how! Drive the ministers and sunday school teachers mad! Have (protected) sex before you get 'married!' Don't think of homosexuals as being 'diseased!' Oh, and the 'driving teachers mad' part applies to grade school, too - never let them think they know more than you. You'd be amazed at how little some of those 'teachers' actually know - all some of them ever do is give you lists of facts. Too bad that facts separated from the original idea are kind of useless! (read more)
Doubt doubt doubt doubt. I like saying 'doubt,' for it sets me apart. Of course, I wouldn't feel this anger if I wasn't immersed in the damn stuff in the first place. It's just like grade school.
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* - Don't take these as official definitions, but the easiest way to differentiate between an Agnostic and an Atheist would be to say that an Atheist generally doesn't believe in anything at all, where an Agnostic doesn't really know what to believe and is more of a fence-sitting sort of person. Again, those aren't the definitions, but that's how I use the words. I used to be a Christian (thank god that's over with), then I became an Agnostic, then an Atheist. Actually, I think I was happiest as an Agnostic, so I may go back to that and be slightly less distrustful of my spiritual side. I just have to figure out whether that would be a step forward or a step back. We shall see in the fullness of time, but I can almost guarantee you that I won't go back into any religion of any kind. That would be like asking me to behave like a baby instead of the nineteen-year-old that I am.