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Atheist Wednesday: Arrogance
zuko, dietotaku

I’m running out of things to talk about on What Fanfiction Taught Me Wednesday and finding myself more and more frustrated with various things in my life, so I think this will become Why I’m an Atheist Wednesday. It might not stick. I might switch back and forth. But I’m annoyed right now, so here we go.

While Facebook stalking my Catholic best friend, I came across an article she shared with a fellow Catholic: some blah blah blah about transcending eternity and reaching for the divine. Something like that.

It was typical religious bullshit: playing down the beauty of what’s here and now in favor of something that doesn’t exist. The main argument was completely fallacious, and frankly, it was stupid. The kind of stupid that always makes me wonder how smart people like my friends can be bought by these kinds of cons. And if it had been just that, I probably would have gone on with my life without a problem, feeling confident in my ability to defeat any theology based on C. S. Lewis.

But you had to talk about atheists, didn’t you, Catholic blogger? You just couldn’t leave it alone. You, as usual with religious people, put words in our mouths, assigned feelings to us, and went on with the article as though it were a point of fact that no one would ever argue about.

Now, you might be able to say that anyone reading a Catholic blog probably agrees about atheists with this blogger. (I would certainly hope that my best friend doesn’t, since she seems abstractly fascinated by my atheism, like an anthropologist conducting her first field study. But who knows? Religious divides inevitably lead to lying in a friendship. Like me saying that I respect Catholicism, because it’s not worth it to go there for the sake of telling the truth.) And maybe you’d be right.

But, oh, Einstein, is it arrogant.

One of the things I try to do whenever thinking about religious people is to briefly put myself in their shoes. I’m still at that stage of atheism (and maybe it never goes away) where I instinctively bristle at the sight of anything religious. And when I catch myself, I’m ashamed. Not because I think it’s wrong to do that—it’s perfectly natural, part of the “us and them” mindset that humans are designed for—but because I know I can do better.

Therefore, I always try to put myself in their shoes. For example, my best friend is sweet but socially awkward. She has a hard time approaching people, and church gives her a built-in social network. It also attracts the love and favor of her parents, who spoil her brothers in all matters but this. Catholicism also provides her a place to be politically active. Whenever I wonder why such a smart girl is involved in something like that, I just remind myself what she gets out of it (or at least what I think she gets out of it).

And Christians don’t do that. Like I said, my best friend is fascinated by my atheism, but she would never honestly consider things from my point of view. She can’t. I know what things are like on her end—at least abstractly—but for her to understand me, she’d have to completely change her views. (Which would be great. Not gonna lie.)

But that, of course, is the antithesis of faith.

Now their inability to put themselves in our shoes wouldn’t be so bad. Plenty of people can’t empathize with one group or another—I, for example, would find it difficult to sympathize with pedophiles. But then believers go on putting words in our mouth. Atheists have no purpose in life. They have no moral code.

I could go on and on, but honestly it just exhausts me. Thank you, believers, for telling me what I am and how I feel. I didn’t realize until you educated me. If I’m any more sarcastic, I might actually lose the ability to speak normally.

I’m going to go look at cute kittens now. This makes me mad.


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