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.