This post from Free Thought Blogs is so on the money about why I am an atheist. Some may have wondered, why I have become so much more outspoken about my atheism recently. It is because I recently started caring about politics and holy rusted metal Batman! the political bull that gets carried out in the name of righteousness. It seems to me that freedom of religion in this country no longer means, “let me worship the god/s of my choosing”, but rather freedom to discriminate, freedom to act on hate and the freedom to control the rights of others.
I am not ok with employers denying medical coverage for birth control to employees if it is mandated for all other employers. I am not ok with a tax exempt status for organizations that are not obligated to the same anti-discrimination laws as every other organization. I’m not ok with church run schools forfeiting state championships because a girl is playing on the other team. I’m not ok with denying the right to marry the person of your choosing to any human being. I’m not ok with a single person who holds their relationship with an invisible god above any real tangible relationship with a human being who needs and loves. I’m not ok with the degradation of women. I’m not ok with any person controlling the state of my uterus except me. I’m not ok with any war carried out against an “evil”.
Sometimes I get a little frustrated with OKC chat. I had it off for years (yeah, no comments on the years part mkay?). I feel like it is almost impossible to get to know someone in a text message, or a chat window. Not impossible. It’s just chat. And ‘chat’ as a word does not bring to mind life altering ideas and conversation. It brings to mind awkward conversations in the smoking area or standing in the frozen food section with melting ice cream.
I spend my life away from home and I know meaningful internet communication is possible. Maybe I’m stuck in the past. Five years ago when texting cost people money. But if you want to get to know me. Write me. Write me about your day. Write me about why you decided to write me. Write me about picking a goddamned wall color.
I have heard many times and you have read in many profiles (statistically, you probably even write in your own) that you hate writing about yourself. I mean, so do I. But it is a necessary evil. And does writing to all of us that you don’t like it make you sound like someone we want to talk to? But you gotta. We are right now trying to stand out as not just strangers on the internet, but interesting people that are worthy of real, live, make-me-a-part-of-your-life attention.
A lot is lost in text and even more in a chat window. I won’t take it to texting until I’m sold you are someone I want to know. After you’ve maintained my attention with letters on OKC, then maybe you’ll get my actual email address. Some success there will probably find us meeting in person. Then comes the number. The number is a hard fought reward. The number signifies, you might need to get a hold of me quickly because our plans have changed and even more importantly, we made plans. It isn’t, a means to get to know me.
I was short on time and inspiration this week. Even though I picked the song, I found that every time I tried to think about it I just ended up singing Everlong. Maybe some songs are so right, they are perfect as they are.
so I can breathe you in
A divining rod, thirsty and dry, I’m pulled
to you. A gravity so subtle, I couldn’t know to fight.
Escaping from your parting lips, a sigh, soft and light
Dead leaves and the Dirty Ground by The White Stripes - Lyrics to Poem
The below sounds sad. But don’t worry, I’m not sad. Not now. I spent a long, long time in that depressed place only a loved one can send you, but now that I’ve come out the other side, I’m a ridiculous, optimistic fool. However, what can you do with a break up song? I think I finish on a high note.
She recently wrote up some poems that were inspired by lyrics to a song. This should be a fantastic exercise for me and having a friend to keep me motivated is exactly what I need.
I’m responsible for our first song choice so I’m going through the songs on my laptop while I really should be sleeping. So far I have discovered that I cannot use any Decemberists songs. Colin Meloy has already made poems out of them. So maybe something more superficial?
I’m scared to say those words out loud. Not because I am ashamed, on the contrary I am proud to be who I am and believe what I believe. I’m scared because there are usually very strong reactions to this statement. There are the responses of the faithful, who try to scare me into belief or lure me with false statements of understanding. But really, I’m more afraid of other Atheists. Often, this statement will segue into a tirade on the faithful. They are referred to as hypocrits, ignorant and all other manner of things often associated with the faithful by atheists.
However, I believe none of these things. Individuals are individuals. I can understand and sympathize with many. Most of the people I love are among the faithful and I love them. I believe that atheist and believer alike can be friends and live in harmony and I strive to live that example.
I felt I needed the above preface to follow up with what I really wanted to talk about, death, grief and consolation.
Usually at the time of death, friends and family try to console one another with musings of “a better place”, a plan, or a future reunion in a heavenly setting. But for those of us who do not have any faith or belief in “a better place”, an Architect or a life after death, these consolations have the opposite effect. They anger and infuriate. They remind us that you really don’t understand how we are feeling right now and we feel even more alone than we did before you brought a god into it. We cannot take solace in the idea that we will see our loved ones again, we are instead coping with the fact that we will never see them again, that they no longer exist outside of our own memories and the memories of our loved ones. This is the place we are in emotionally and mentally. We are trying to accept this when everyone around us is insisting that we don’t have to and it is impeding our progress and recovery.
I am saying this not to sway anyone to my side of the line, but rather to remind us all to be considerate of the state of our friends and loved ones in their times of mourning. It is not the time to proselytize, for either an atheist, or a believer. Nothing makes you feel less valued as a person than to hear your loved ones use your grief as an opportunity to bring their own beliefs to the spotlight.
I followed a rabbit hole of links today my believing friend Krissy started me on and I ended up at True Love Studios, thoughtful and considerate consolations regarding loss that leave out beliefs in an Almighty. It made me feel so good to be understood when it comes to my own (past) grief. I’ll leave you with a little list of things that help console atheists in times of grief.
1 - Reflecting on the life we shared with our loved ones.
2 - The knowledge that suffering, has come to an end.
3 - Lost loved ones will always be in our hearts and our memories.
4 - Live our life to the fullest and waste not a second, because it is all we have.
5 - Reminding and appreciating the loved ones we have with us right now.
6 - Our loved ones are here for us and are hurting with us.
I’m participating in a writing project on Google+ over the month of October. The project is called nightmare fuel, and thus, the stories coming out of it may be a bit dark for some. I’ve decided to post what I write to tumblr because, well, because I don’t want to accidentally scare anyone away…