Monday, July 18, 2005

On being an atheist

I went to the graveside service of my grandmother today. It was an intensely religious experience lead by a very bizarre cowboy pastor named Holiday. He wore his western hat and cowboy vest; he called himself the sin killer. I felt like I had fell down the rabbit hole. You see, I have no faith whatsoever – yet I understand religion's role in my family and friends lives. After a week of pseudo-religious talk from family and friends, plus a memorial service and then a graveside seeped in religious mysticism, I had had enough.

Sometime being an atheist sucks

Every time someone told me “she’s gone to a better place”, I thought, “What is better than here, with us?” Every time somebody suggested she was in heaven, I bit my tongue and looked away. What can I do? Absolutely nothing I have to say will comfort anybody involved in the process. keeping quite is the best bet.

My particular problem today is typical, a rouge pastor – Pastor "Sin Killer", a cowboy want to be, tells everybody assembled that Ruth is in heaven with her second husband John, and that she had a body with hands and feet and everything she needed to be happy, and that we could all expect the same. I was stunned (I was hot too, it was 105). Pastor Sin Killer did not even know if Ruth was a Christian, he had only met her once, and... which husband does she get to spend time with, and what the hell is this about having a body in heaven? And…. Oh, hell… it is all just a myth anyway. My grandma died a week ago, all I have left is a memory. She will live in my memory as long as I live and no more.

I could have been "Joe the Atheist" – but that would have got me no place, I would have been less controversial if I had stripped naked and dance around her grave. Being an atheist is controversial enough – no need to draw attention to it when everybody else is rapped up in their own beliefs.

The LA Times has a good Story on the changing climate for atheists – I think it might be time to get politically active.


Johnny Crow said...

I share your sentimentality. I understand what its like to go to a funeral (a family members) and everyone talks about god, or jesus or something just as stupid.

its so hard to hold our tounge.

Anonymous said...

Being an atheist sucks. I'm one, but remember being a lot happier when I was blissfully wrapped up in the myth of a caring god. There's no point in messing with anybody's faith, of course, and it does bring people happiness and comfort. The only time I ever fight religious beliefs is when they get politically active and start to impose restrictions on how we live our lives.

Anonymous said...

Becoming an atheist just means you don't believe in these particular imaginary friends anymore. (God, Jesus)
You are becoming an adult.
You have freed yourself from the freedom hating totalitarianism that is Christianity (at least the fundamentalist kind is totalitarian).