Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jehovah’s Witnesses Mad That Atheists Won’t Keep Their Views to Themselves


Unfortunately, I was only able to read as far as the second sentence before I was blinded by the irony.

A new group of atheists has arisen in society. Called the new atheists, they are not content to keep their views to themselves.
That’s right. The door-knockin’, rabidly proselytizing cult is rebuking atheists for not keeping their views to themselves.


If only it was just the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Back in the late 90s, during my first year as a high school teacher, I remember telling one of my classes that I'm not a Christian. It's not something I went out of the way to do; it just kind of came out of the moment. I mean, I don't really remember how it went down, but it wasn't much more than somebody asking me where I went to church, that sort of thing. You know, "I don't go to church because I'm not a Christian."

One of my students was a bit weirded out, so I asked her what was wrong. She told me, "I've never heard anybody say that so...proudly." Something along those lines, anyway. The gist was that I had no shame about not being a Christian, that I proclaimed my state of constant sinfulness as though it was a good thing. I had no idea how or even if I should respond.

I think I said something like, "Really?"

We live in a society where people not only have no problem with talking about God all the time, but where it is also strongly encouraged, praised even, to do so. God this and Jesus that. Glory, glory, praise, and hallelujah! No President can be elected without professing his strong belief in and love for the Christian God entity. Jews generally get a pass on this, but they have to love Yahweh as much as their Christian counterparts love Jesus. Really, Christianity is the preferred social position in the US, but if you're religious, if you believe in some sort of deity, you're doing better than the minority who don't. Okay, Muslims are getting a bad rap lately, but it's still a valid point.

You're sort of expected to be a believer in America. That's why, even though God talk is so fucking pervasive and in-your-face, anti-God talk is considered to be shocking and rude. To me, this is pretty fucked up. I mean, if you can go on and on about the little Baby Jesus and how he loves me but wants me to burn in Hell if I don't do exactly what he says, then I can compare Baby Jesus to the Easter Bunny and Luke Skywalker. You have your freedom of speech and I have mine. You're free to advocate any stupid position you want, and I'm free to respond.

But no. Despite my legal and theoretical freedom of speech, I'm rude for saying that God may very well not exist at all. Have any of these people ever considered that it might also be rude to tell me that I'm so worthless, that I'm such a horrible person, such a sinner, that I deserve nothing less than eternal damnation and suffering, infinite torture, in the fire pits of Hell? Probably not. Besides, from their point of view, I'm wrong and they're right. Thus, I'm rude and they're simply speaking the Truth.

Is it any wonder that guys like Richard Dawkins, who, as a Brit, doesn't even have to put up with this shit, are so aggressive? Christian rhetoric automatically condemns non-believers as the scum trash of the galaxy. A two-fisted response to such bullshit rhetoric only seems fitting.