I think differently.
I have different opinions.
I don't agree with some people.
Am I allowed to talk about it? Share it? Be passionate about it? Why not?
Ever notice how theists have a strange double standard about sharing beliefs and what is sacred? They become to angry and defensive when anyone says anything that might contradict, mock, or challenge their faith. And yet, demand ultimate and complete respect for what they say about non believers (sinners). I just don't get it.
Do I consider myself an atheist? No. Because I still hope for a deity and a life after death. So I guess I'm more of an agnostic. Kind of on the fence. Because I like things about religion, and I there are some things I don't like. I believe in being kind and charitable to everyone, for allowing everyone to share what they believe and live the way that makes them happy. But to do so without fear and without judgement.
Coming from a very religious background and family, it is very difficult to openly share what I believe without making them uncomfortable or upset. They resort to attacking my character, saying that I am openly mocking their faith by sharing what I think. They delight in misinterpretation, or misconstruing what I mean. How dare I say something that would belittle their sacred religion? It becomes very hard to be honest about what I think because I'm always so scared of offending them, and opening up a theological airstrike all over my Facebook page. I can't say anything that I feel or believe, even as civilly as I do, without them coming after me. And yes, I admit, I do become equally nasty when someone attacks me as a person. Attack my ideas fine, but don't attack me.
So tell me, is this what religion teaches? To publicly scorn people who think differently? To bring people down by attacking who they are as a person instead of their ideas? If it is okay for someone to "Defend" their beliefs, why am I not allowed to do the same thing?
I have never, not once gone onto one of my religious siblings walls and attacked their beliefs as they have so publicly done about mine. I have posted a total of two things to share my opinion. One of them I removed because of how ugly it got, and how embarrassed I was that my friends would see my family treat me the way that they did. The second one, I merely said I thought a bolder move by the church would have been to not excommunicate a member for "apostasy", but again, people got defensive, twisted what I meant, and attacked my character. Is this truly what religion teaches you to do?
And then I realized, yes it is. Part of religion is about shaming a person into repentance. You are a sinner, imperfect before God. You must repent of your wrong doings and come unto God. You must defend your beliefs, even if it means hurting those closest to you. Because in the end, if you lose your family, it doesn't matter. All will be made well in the eternities, and God will reward you for hurting someone you should have loved, because it was in his name, and lets face it, for their own good.
Do you see how religion can be a very ugly thing?
I am very passionate about what I believe, and I am going to keep sharing it. Because I hope, just as any theist hopes, that what I share will have an impact for the better. If I were sharing negative things about Warren Jeffs, of course people would agree with me. But his followers would be mortally offended, and they would say to me, you cannot shake our faith, because we know he is a prophet. The problem is, every religion feels that exact same passion. And what they don't realize, is those of us who don't believe, or don't believe fully, are just as passionate.
I believe the unfair treatment of women in theology is wrong. I believe the unfair treatment of homosexuals, and in the past, different races, is wrong. I believe that excommunicating a man for his beliefs, while totally up to the organization, is counter productive. And I am going to share it. I don't understand how me sharing what I believe is any different than religious people sharing what they believe. There is just such an arrogant attitude of "we are right, you are wrong, you offend God" among theists, that they will use empty rhetoric to tear you down for sharing your belief because it contradicts their own. They will attack opposition to their faith wherever they can, even if it means harming someone they should love.
I am embarrassed about my family's (certain members, not all) conduct. And I am saddened by the nasty, snarky, arrogant personal messages attacking me as a person, and saying that I am the one in the wrong for sharing what I believe. I am saddened by the untruths and lump statements used to misinterpret what I am saying, or to accuse me of something I haven't said at all. They keep tacking on, but it's up to you, you can believe what ever you want. Except, I can't share it, because if I do, I know the reaction I will get. I have to be secretive about what I feel. I can't be open about it. I can't discuss it. I can't be honest and seek support. Because then I might offend someone. Do you have any idea how lonely that feels? To feel completely ostracized from your own family because you don't think the same way they do?
One family member even went so far as to say I continually post anti religious things on my FB wall (pretty sure she meant my husband, but is so indoctrinated into the church's teachings, she assumes I do his bidding??). I do not. If you need proof, scroll through my profile, you will find one, about John Delin. And it was not rude at all, it was very neutral!!! The only controversial things I post are about vaccinations! VACCINATIONS! Because I think kids should be vaccinated. Good Lord people, actually read what I'm posting before you accuse me! I commented on two friends posts that were gay bashing. TO DEFEND GAYS! How is that wrong?? Holy crap, am I just blind and stupid, or is it actually wrong to discriminate?? (In the name of religion yes, which is why doctrine of the church used to state "The Negro may make it to the Celestial Kingdom, but as a ministering angel in an eternal servitude to his God". Messed up, right?? )
And guess what? Theists offend me! And the only time I have spoken up is when something was particularly harmful, like telling gays they can't live in certain homes or purchase from certain businesses. That is wrong, and I'm going to say it. And I know some people aren't going to like it. But I am trying to change that, I am trying to fight for the rights of all people to live happily and not be afraid to be who they are of share how they feel. Religion doesn't allow that. It doesn't allow you to think for yourself. You have to believe what the leaders say, you cannot question. And if you do, you will be publicly humiliated, shamed, and eventually expelled if you do not shut up. But it will all be turned right back on you, telling you are in the wrong, you are the bigot, you are the one humiliating people, you are the one causing harm. It's funny, because you are also the one that was attacked.
I'm not going to shut up. In the words of Tracy Edna Turnblad: Things need to change. And I won't stop trying to change them.