I hate blog posts about religion. I hate hearing people proclaim from the digital rooftops how they've found Jesus, backing up their faith with arguments based entirely on emotion. I hate hearing people foam at the mouth over how terribly evil all religion is, using equally fallacious arguments to disprove spirituality. I don't much care what you believe, just so long as it doesn't place arbitrary restrictions on other people, you're open minded, and are honest in your beliefs. You see,
I'm an Atheist.
You'd never know this if you talked to me, because I talk to people where they are. If you come to me asking for personal advice, I'll give it to you in a way that works with your belief system. I don't need to convince you that your god doesn't exist in order to lend you my opinion on how to treat a family member in such and such a situation. In fact, I don't feel any need to convince anyone of anything - I don't care if people disagree with me.
I remember how two years ago at Christmas time I was invited to be one of three speakers to give a reflection at a Baptist service, in lieu of the sermon. [Why did they ask me? They often hire me to play music for their special occasions]. I chose as my reflection how we remember Christmas for its "Gloria in Excelsis Deo", but the way God chose to have us remember Christmas was a poor family in the cold, and a human being born into absolute poverty. I said that, to God, what mattered wasn't the incarnation, that God became man; what mattered was that a man was suffering. I then asked them to remember Christmas by giving to the poor, or something. You expect me to remember every detail? The point is, everyone there thought I was a baptist, and I didn't really care. They were helping the poor. Sounds good to me. This Baptist church, in particular, is very mindful of the poor, and I'd rather have some ignorant religious folk helping the poor than hoards of equally ignorant atheists yelling about spaghetti monsters and unicorns.
About a year ago I was on a date with a wonderful woman. It was a first date, and though this nerd should never be caught without a shirt on (I'm so pale I don't even have a tan line) we were going kayaking. The conversation was going well. She asked me, at one point, what religion I was. I stated that I was an Atheist. She didn't mind, but was surprised: she thought I was christian. I guess at some point she must have heard my music, much of which is hymns (I do make most of my music money playing for churches). I said that her confusion didn't surprise me, as I don't really care what religion people think I am, so I let them think what they want. She then asked if my family knew. I told her no; I didn't want to influence my family either way. You see, I'm "the smart one" and I believe my opinion carries a lot of weight in my family when it comes to this subject. The conversation was markedly less interesting after that; I don't think she had her heart in it anymore.
That was our last communication, and for a long time I didn't understand why she didn't see things the same way I did. I feel that I'm honest in all things, and I'll go out of my way to be completely honest in any way that is important. But this religion thing just isn't important to me, what does it matter what people think I am? Besides, I had been honest with her, hadn't I? What I came to learn over time was that I presented as someone who was willing to go to great lengths to hide a secret from the people around me, a secret that they thought was important. This is the same sort of thinking that can lead a man to hide an ongoing affair and rationalize away any moral obligations.
I hate posts like this. I hate being whiny about my personal life, and I hate discussing personal matters online, especially when it has to do with romance. I hate posts about religion/atheism (and I will delete any comment that is proselytizing). That being said, I do see a need to correct my earlier mistake in allowing people to believe things about me which are incorrect. As the subject comes up, I've been informing people of my position. As I have been involved in these discussions here on BYOND (mostly attacking people on either side when dishonest tactics are used), I feel I should inform you as well.
In the same spirit of disclosure, I should tell you that I'm no longer into alcohol. Though I never tried to get drunk (I've only been drunk twice), I used to drink a beer or wine or something almost every night. I enjoyed alcohol, especially a home brewed beer. I don't see any benefit to drinking alcohol, and I do see a lot of reasons not to. So these days I advocate doing away with the alcohol completely.
Hm, what else? My family won't eat at Taco Bell. Two of us have been hospitalized for food poisoning after eating there. I don't eat there either. ...but every six months or so I get a craving for some tacos, and I likes me some tacos, and I'm on the road an hour away from home. Be gentle, it's my weak human nature.
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