Friday, March 16, 2012
Jesus Will Kick Your Ass!
Religious freaks are funny. They are very earnest, warm people in general ... who simply will not tolerate allowing other people to burn in Hell for all eternity. Good intentions, you know. Their hearts are filled with so much love that they want everyone to feel that love. And I respect and admire them for that.
But I also can't stand them. They hold you captive if you're a non-believer. If you don't believe in their religion (or if, like me -- in the interests of full disclosure -- you are an atheist who believes in verifiable scientific fact), they will eventually morph into a raging, frothing-at-the-mouth proselyte who wants to verbally beat the Great Satan out of you and fill you full of the glorious spirit of God. At that point you want to punch them in the face, but you can't -- not just because it would be illegal, but because it would be like punching God in the face. (Sometimes God needs a good punch in the face, but I won't try to elaborate on that blasphemy ... not now, at least).
Like most atheists, I don't spend a great deal of time thinking about my atheism. I don't spend a great deal of time trying to persuade the unwilling that they need to be atheists -- nay, I spend almost no time trying to persuade people to be atheists. Because I don't care what people believe. They can tell me they're religious and I won't bite them, but I don't want them to give me even a twenty-minute lecture on why Jesus or God or Buddha or Mohammed or Ishtar is the right path to eternal enlightenment.
I'm a big fan of the religious film A River Runs Through It. It is earnest, devoutly so, and there isn't a hint of proselytizing in it. It just tells the story of two brothers, one more wayward than the other, and their stoic but firmly religious father and mother, whose love is unquestioning, both for God and their family. While watching the film, I never felt like I was supposed to be a believer; their faith was just a huge part of the film and it was an inextricable part of their characters. A great film, understated and believable, tersely scripted, and quite poignant in its respect for spirituality.
But I don't find that religious people are like that when they're around non-religious people. I find they become petty, sniping, belittling, obnoxious, over-talkative, intractable in their opinions and inattentive to anyone's opinion that doesn't jibe with theirs. Unfortunate, because I often get the feeling that I respect their spirituality more than they respect their spirituality; and they certainly don't respect my own non-spirituality at all.
I am sure there are exceptions out there. My brothers are religious, but because they sort of have to tolerate me, they don't fuss too much with me about their spirituality. Probably more out of fear that I will mock them if they get out of hand with it ... and I certainly would.
Other people have told me, quite unabashedly, that I am going to Hell. This I do not respect.
And those people can go fuck themselves. Respectfully.