It’s been a while since my last post, so I’ll just see what comes out here in this rant.
Several things have been becoming more apparent to me in the last few months that I thought I’d mention.
I think my attitude towards religion is rounding out a little. I’ve read other experiences of deconverted individuals who often go through a time of backlash at organized religion, but before long many of them come to terms with the fact that the underlying cause of most weirdness is just human nature. I think that I’m getting near, if not at, that point.
It’s not that I am accepting any particular type of religion. I haven’t found Christ, if that’s what you’re wondering (though I think he may be hiding under the sofa).
It’s rather that I’m getting past that initial shock of finding out my core beliefs growing up were false, and that I’ve got to figure everything out from a fresh perspective. That initial shock has lasted several years. As I have found personally and through hearing others’ stories, this ordeal can often turn someone into what you might call a Fundamentalist or Asshole Atheist. That’s not who I want to be. I don’t want to trade one sort of dogmatic fundamentalism into another.
I think the asshole phase is something that a lot of us deconverts go through. Can you blame us? Growing up and being taught that the core of your being is something you find to be a lie is tough. No wonder many of us turn into assholes bashing religion.
That deep-seated fact that many of us have grown up in fundamentalist environments aimed at telling the world the “good” news and converting your neighbor never really leaves you. It’s always going to be there, right below the surface. Trying to convert others to your viewpoint because you think yours is the only way to go is no better than what the fundies are trying to do. Plain and simple. It’s hard to suppress that inner evangelical asshole.
The theory that seems to be growing in my mind lately is one of the good and bad of human nature. As my fiance points out, there are often times that my arguments against religion sound very much like the arguments the religious use against the nonreligious. I no longer find that strange. I think it’s just human nature.
I used to get upset when the religious tried to rail against atheism because of the atrocities caused by atheists in the past, all the while ignoring the facts that the religious mindset has caused countless atrocities. Yet, the same argument can be used against the religious when stated by the atheist.
You end up getting into the same old debates about how “Oh well, they weren’t a true Christian,” or that “They didn’t understand the responsibility of being atheist,” and so on. When it comes down to it, neither the belief in gods or the unbelief in gods has a great track record for supporting humanity. Claiming to believe in a certain god or denying beliefs in all gods isn’t enough, by any means. There has to be some other belief (whether innate or conscious) to be an active member of society. To be human. To be humane. You don’t need a god for that. Though, if some people think they do, then so be it.
Sure, certain versions of each belief system always tend to be more humane, but there are so many types of beliefs in gods or without, that it all just boils down to human nature. Religion or nonreligion proves to magnify human desire and endeavor. It provides a central focal point around which social circles can congregate. I hate to say it, but religion is almost like a necessary evil.
We’re social animals, and religion often gives the social cohesion and in-group separation that people are looking for, albeit unconsciously. It gives people who need it a sense of purpose and wellbeing in life. Not everyone needs that constant assurance that religion can give. Many people don’t mind being told what they want to hear. And there are always those types of people that want to be martyrs, whether their cause is for or against a god.
And it is hard to find the same sort of social group outside of the socially acceptable and binding version of religion that’s so prevalent today, with their accountability groups and social events. I guess in a way, religion is able to overstep that awkward boundary and bring people together in situations they normally wouldn’t find themselves in. Although, this really only happens in the more touchy-feely, Promise Keeper types of groups. Y’know, the ones that are trying to turn men into pussies?
Where am I going with this? Hell, I don’t know. I just drank nearly a full bottle of wine because my fiance is in bed already and I can’t get to sleep. But besides that, I think I wanted to try to get a few of these thoughts on paper. The farther along I go in my journey, the more I realize that it isn’t about religion, as much as it is about rational thought and healthy skepticism in all aspects of life. I find myself appreciating philosophy, psychology, art, and all sciences much, much more.
I’m still very much atheist, yet I’m finding that this term really only applies to religion. There’s so much more to life than identifying oneself on purely religious terms. So anyhoo, I think it’s time to hit the sack. Hope this entry wasn’t too incoherent.