Not finished yet

Unless you’re interested in Atheism, don’t read this.

Dear Folks and Gentle Peoples:

In this talk, a God-talker is an openly religious person of a recognized faith, and a God-walloper is a minister, priest, nun, member of a religious hierarchy or theologian.

I’ve been thinking about God and atheism for a long, long time.  I was eight when a Jew and Mormon ganged me in the schoolyard and remonstrated with me about my publicly stated belief that there is no God.  I was raised by two atheists, both of whom had such demonstrably higher standards of personal behaviour than every other human being I could see, almost without exception, that the supporting argument for religion – encouraging moral purity  – was ludicrous to me.  So they argued with me about Creation; that it was so big, and so complicated, that somebody had to have made it.  An intelligence far superior to ours was at work.

This argument held and holds no substance for me either.  But I have come to believe in God, not as the dude in the Sky, or Jesus or Kali or whoever the hell I’m supposed to be worshipping while I’m wearing these shoes this week, in this culture, in this country, and not even as the Jesus fella, whom I’m quite fond of although not the way God-talkers want to appear to be.

Nope, God is the shortcut word for being pointed in the right direction.  If people want to believe that makes me a God-walloper, I’m just going to smile.  Because if I want to get along with well more than half of humanity (and that’s something I want to be doing these days) I have to engage with them in genuine ways without being contemptuous of them.  Being contemptuous of God talk is not a sign of intelligence, it’s a sign that you’re a goddamned ass, pointing at people’s idiocies and ignoring the larger picture.

Of course I believe that my culture is superior to others.  I’m not going to have recourse to God to demonstrate such a thing; I’ll be keeping statistics and employing intelligence in interpreting them.  If a higher percentage of women are educated in my culture than yours, that means I’m respecting them enough to think it’s worth doing.  What percentage of your women graduate from technical training?  How many of them know how to sail a ship? How many of them have enough education to be able to determine what is best for their unborn and infant children?  Is this last not a thing to encourage? and if your culture doesn’t encourage it, how am I to keep contempt out of my voice when I’m speaking with you?   And don’t get me started about other aspects of human rights held hostage by your God, I’m likely to lose it and start calling you names.

My friends, it’s a slippery slope that atheism is on.  When the God-talkers are doing stupid things for the sake of religion, it’s easy to be contemptuous, and hard to keep a level head and understand that you need to consider in what fashion you can make common cause with them.  There will be plenty of time to argue who’s believing the right things about God later — maybe – but we have pressing daily issues of planetary survival happening right now.  So if you’re an atheist, for the love of God quit calling God-talkers morons, because you actually have to work with those morons to save the planet, and that’s what you should be saving your breath for.

If you are one of the atheists who’s decided that God-talkers are dumb, you might want to reconsider your opinion.  About some things, yes, God-talkers are dumb, but so is everybody, in their own way.  We all have our cognitive cross to bear.  Think though, that should you engage a man’s interest in a non-threatening way, you’re more likely to get co-operation than if you look like you think he’s stupid.  In case you hadn’t noticed, the world needs much more cooperation than it used to, even ten minutes ago; the amount of cooperation we’re going to need is actually going up with every breath we take.  So go ahead, have your little fun about how stupid God-talkers, and how annoying God-wallopers are, hopefully it won’t drive the notion out of your head that you need to figure out how learn to work effectively, cooperatively and respectfully around people you think are morons.

But I still can’t get over how disgusted I am about organized religion.  Atheists are right to be annoyed with the grasping, occasionally violent and predictable shenanigans of the men, and occasionally women, at the top of the God-walloper structure.  I myself have a bit of a fetish for God-Walloper Benedict’s hats which represent the entire pomposity of the God-Talker church, which hides the horror that is the contemporary parish God-wallopers.  I post pictures of those fancy hats every chance I get.  You know, the God-Walloper Benedict has more hats than I do, and sanctified virgins did his needlework.  Isn’t that a great thought?  But even as I’m making fun of the Pope, I have to consider that he too is a human being who shares this planet, even if he does have one of the world’s biggest clothing budgets.

So I’ll admit you to a secret.  I told my two God-talking little schoolmates that they had miraculously converted me, and walked home in a very thoughtful frame of mind.  After all, I hadn’t converted to anything except the notion that I wanted to get the heck away from these two lunatic girls, and having achieved my aim I reverted to my protestations of atheism, especially when I got home to the loving bosom of my den of atheists.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

6 thoughts on “Not finished yet”

  1. As long as religious people just shut up, I won’t call them morons. But something happens when they open their mouths to promote their beliefs, criticize others’ views or try to impose their morals on others: I get an overwhelming urge to call them morons. That doesn’t make me a bad person or any less likely to cooperate with rational beings in fixing the planet. I say rational because I have no interest – and see no benefit – in cooperating in any endeavour with anyone who is irrational. Unfortunately, this excludes most religious people.

  2. Allegra, it seems to me that even at 8 years of age, you were already well on your way to being an enlightened individual! Thankfully, I don’t know too many God-talkers that go to extremes to point every sentence of every topic towards their religious beliefs. I deal with the few that do by listening for a short period of time and trying to bring the conversation to a timely and natural ending. I imagine over time some of these God-talkers would begin to respect the fact that I’m not that interested in receiving sermons or being converted. I do agree it is important that we all get along, respect each other and work together. Actually, I’m against alienating individuals UNLESS they are abusive (physically, emotionally or mentally) — the cases where it is not safe to be around this individual (my daughter’s sometimes violent, harassing, stalking ex-boyfriend comes to mind here).

  3. Well, a few points.
    1. We are justified in calling the god believers morons (although I do understand that doing so may persuade them to strap on some explosives and try to blow me up). Two scientifically valid studies that I am aware of have found a strong negative correlation between intelligence and a belief in the supernatural. Unfortunately since we are breeding for stupidity the morons will win.
    2. A large portion of the god believers are not capable of engaging in a calm rational argument about religion.
    3. The only problem this planet has is too many people. Unfortunately along with turn off your brain, the main program of every religion is to persuade its adherents to have as many babies as possible in order to try to outbreed the many other adherents of the many candidates for the title of the one true gawd.

  4. Loki, re: Item #1 — you are hilarious, I am still laughing. Item #2 — very true. Item #3 — No problem, as those before us have done — once those of a given faith outbreed us, they eliminate those that either oppose them or refuse to become one of them. I once thought we (humans) were now too civilized for this approach, but Bush’s presidency among other things has convinced me otherwise.

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