I once had a conversation with someone I knew, but didn't know all that well, when the topic of religion came up. Yay!
"So, what are you?" they asked.
"What do you mean?" I answered, not really entirely understanding what they were asking me.
"What religion are you?" they replied, ever-so-nonchalantly, as if asking about what kind of car I drive.
"Well, none, really. I'm athiest." (In car terms, this is roughly the same as announcing that I drive a rusty 1974 Pinto.)
"Really?" was their response. "You really don't believe in anything?"
Um...well, it's not that simple, really.
always hesitant to engage in this particular discussion with people who
do not know me that well. Once the question is asked and answered, the
conversation usually goes one of three ways:
1) I see
that unmistakeable flicker on their face that marks a flash of judgment
passing through their head. This is the point where they decide that,
not only will they never leave me alone with their children lest I
corrupt them with my heathen ways, but they will likely not be asking me
to join their scrapbooking club that meets every other Monday night.
This I can live with. These same people usually try to politely "state
the case" for religion, as if I could change my ways by simply engaging
in a five-minute dialog about why religion is so awesome and how could I
make such a choice? I usually get out of this exchange as quickly as
possible, either by telling them I have explosive diarrhea and need to
visit the can, or I tell them I'm late for my "How to knit Satanic
sweaters" class and I bolt out the door.
2) They go into persuasion/arguing mode. This is a
discussion I usually stop immediately, sometimes by faking a seizure or
feigning narcolepsy. Here- I'll condense what would likely be an
hour-long, heated, and ultimately pointless exchange into this: You're
not going to change my mind, I'm not interested in trying to change
yours. The end.
3) They feel the same way I do, or
at least they understand and have no interest in going down that road.
Then we start talking about other stuff (usually our pet's pooping
habits), have a cocktail, and ultimately leave the situation as friends,
or at least acquaintances that won't intentionally avoid one another in
social situations by pretending to not know how to speak English.
When people don't get it, the thing they most likely don't understand is that this isn't a choice for me. I didn't choose
to be/feel this way. I simply don't believe in God, I don't believe in
heaven or hell, I don't believe in an afterlife. I've known this my
entire life, just like I know I have brown eyes and that I can't
whistle. For a while in my teens I was convinced that the
posters in my bedroom were actually watching me, but I have since come
to understand that no, the boys from Duran Duran were NOT watching me
change clothes, so there was really no reason to shut the light off when I did.
This isn't a choice. It is simply how I am. Just as those that believe can't imagine not
believing and would fight to the death for their beliefs, I will fight
for my convictions with every cell in my body. I firmly believe that I
conduct myself in ways that are far more "Christian" than many people
claiming to be as such. I believe in the credo of "live and let live", I
treat others as I would like to be treated (most of the time, anyways.
Sometimes people just suck and deserve what they get), I believe that we
all deserve equal opportunities in life, regardless of where, how, or
who we were born to, and I believe that, whatever your feelings/leanings
when it comes to religion or lack thereof, you have no right whatsoever
to use those beliefs to suppress, dismiss, or persecute other people.
I just can't imagine...believing. It just doesn't register. It
doesn't make me amoral, evil, or lacking in character. I don't judge
you or try to change your mind, how dare you judge and try to change me. It isn't fair.
about we all just try to get along, accept one another as we are, maybe go get a nice cheese plate & a glass of wine and enjoy this
lovely, sunny day together?
Sounds good to me.