In my last post I talked about people who upon learning that I am an atheist either feel the need to discredit or demean my beliefs by bragging about the perceived superiority of theirs, or want to shine the light that leads to Jesus. The discrediting, demeaning people are close-minded douchebags and I don’t want to talk about them. Although I suspect I’ll end up doing just that because they piss me off and I’ll eventually say something clever and sarcastic about them that they probably wouldn’t understand anyway since they tend to be more literal than literate (and so it begins …..).
What I want to talk about are the people who try to convince me of the existence of a higher being or persuade me to adopt some religion, or as some have said, to change my religion. While there is some debate over whether or not atheism is a religion, I fall in with those who argue that it is not. So as far as I’m concerned I’ve got no religion to change, and I also have no desire to adopt a religion.
I don’t pretend to be baffled by why they do these things. I understand that for some it’s a very simple equation: disbelief is bad + belief is good = get heathen to believe. I imagine that others have such a strong, ingrained belief that they can’t fathom a life without God in it and probably think I’m just an empty, soulless husk of a person who can only benefit by being filled with the light of the Lord.
It’s also possible that my take on atheism … I don’t believe a God exists because I’ve never seen proof that one does … may be a factor. It’s not unusual for someone to hear this philosophy and attempt to totally blow my mind by hitting me with something profound that I’ve never heard before like, “What about trees and oceans? Aren’t they proof that God exists?” Uhhh … No. They are proof that trees and oceans exist. It seems that these folk fail to hear the first part of my statement: I don’t believe a God exists. Not I might believe or I could believe, but I don’t believe. It’s not a maybe and I’m not looking for answers. It’s a statement of my disbelief. Period.
Which brings me to what I really want to talk about, which is the assumption that attempting to cram ones beliefs down the throats of others is acceptable behavior. I know this is not a new topic and that it is neither confined to religion nor practiced by all religious people. However, for the sake of convenience I’m going to generalize and may lump people into groups they don’t necessarily feel they belong to in order to avoid the need to qualify every statement and opinion with the assurance that “I know not every group/religion nor every person in it does this/feels this way.”
I am of the opinion that everyone has the right to believe whatever they want to believe. Further, I respect your right to your beliefs and unless in the midst of a debate or discussion, I don’t feel it’s my place to challenge or question them. Obviously, respecting your right to believe whatever you want to doesn’t mean I agree with you or that I don’t think some of your beliefs are silly. For instance, I believe that food is food and calories are calories and that there’s no harm in eating after some arbitrary magic o’clock. Unless you’re a Mogwai of course. Also, you are perfectly free to believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. I would tend to disagree with you however because DINOSAURS!!
So while our opinions may be at opposite ends of the spectrum, or logic writhes and squirms in my brain trying to claw its way into words, unless asked I will keep my mouth shut … and I think it only fair that you give me the same consideration. Because it seems to me that failing to realize, or worse, to care that I might take exception to you encroaching uninvited into my space with your philosophies and beliefs teeters on the edge of dangerous territory where you might also feel comfortable acting in ways that infringe upon my rights or beliefs. I don’t know if it’s human nature, or maybe just human behavior, but when standing behind strong beliefs we’re terribly adept at justifying even the most unjustifiable acts as long as we can find a way to rationalize that what we’re doing is right. For instance, I know at least one of The Ten Commandments says thou shalt not kill, yet it takes only a couple of mouse clicks to find a plethora of pictures of hooded, white “christians” proudly posing under Strange Fruit trees.
So I wonder what the rationalization is that justifies clean-cut Mormon boys on bikes and groups of JayDubs knocking on my door trying to sell me on their brand of religion, or various other Christians trying/hoping to convince me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, while many of these same groups are getting their panties all in a wad and railing against the evils of Homosexual Recruitment? Why is it okay for them to recruit but not us?
But let’s set the record straight first, shall we? Religions recruit … you know it, I know it and they know it. We’ve all had the knocks on the door, looked out the peephole and pretended not to be home. We’ve laughed at the jokes told by comedians. We’ve been handed pamphlets and been preached to by well-meaning friends. I don’t know if it’s a pyramid thing, or they earn prizes or get a better seat in heaven, but I know a lot of them are really eager to sign up as many new members as they can.
Now, when have you ever been approached on the street, at school, at work or in a social setting by someone inquiring as to whether you’d like to cross over? I’m not talking about flirting or mistaking you for the wrong orientation … we’re all hit on by people we’re not interested in and we just say “no thanks” and move on. I’m talking about someone really trying to convince you that gay is the better way. And have you ever answered a knock at your door or emerged from a grocery stored or your preferred house of worship to find a crowd of gay men and lesbians waving copies of The Advocate in your face and asking if you’ve taken Ellen or Anderson into your heart? Yeah … I thought not.
Gays do not recruit … and we especially do not recruit children. Know why? Because we don’t have to. Parents all over the world, the overwhelming majority of them heterosexual, are producing enough gay babies to keep our numbers at sufficient levels. Also, we have a temporary volunteer program that operates quite successfully on its own with almost no effort at all on our part.
I can’t speak for the men, but the women’s program works something like this: you’re having a conversation with a straight woman and at some point she says something like, “I’m not a lesbian or anything …” and a little internal alarm goes off because this is generally the cue that she may be on the verge of volunteerism. Now, she may go on to tell you about an experience at camp when she was fourteen or a drunken college experiment, which is generally just her way of relating to you and letting you know that she’s cool with your non-hetero-normative ways. Or, she may end the sentence with “But I’ve always wondered/thought about what it would be like to be with another woman” (oh, quit looking around all innocent-like … you know who you are and you know you’ve done it). This is the point where in my head I do the ‘How I Met Your Mother Barney Stinson breaking the fourth wall “Oh yeah!” grin’ (sorry, couldn’t find a YouTube clip – you’ll have to watch the show if you don’t get the reference).
Like I said, I’m not exactly sure how it works with the men but I imagine it might go something like this:
Straight Guy: It’s not like I’m not gay or anything …
Gay Guy: *internal alarm*
Straight Guy: But I always thought a dude would be better at sucking dick ’cause they’d know better than a chick what feels good to another dude.
Gay Guy: *Barney Stinson*
While I get my share of potential volunteers, I accept only a select few into the program because not all who sign-up do so simply because they’re comfortable with their sexuality and are looking for new experiences. Women also volunteer because they want emotional intimacy, or they think they might be gay or they’re being pressured by a boyfriend/husband to find another woman for a threesome … the list goes on. So although I’m quite willing to sleep with a straight woman if she just wants to give lesbian sex a whirl, and I’m not opposed to participating in the occasional healthy, we all want to do this and we know our boundaries threesome, I’m not a predator and I do my best to assess the situation to make sure she’s volunteering for the right reasons, because I don’t want to take advantage of someone who’s in a vulnerable situation.
Well, it seems my Adult Tangential Tendency (ATT) Disorder has run amok and I’ve lost all control of this post and the point I was trying to make. But I think it had something to do with understanding and accepting that not everyone wants to join your club, no matter how awesome you think it is; that it’s hypocritical to accuse someone of doing something you say is wrong while you’re doing the very thing you’re condemning them for; and, that there’s a big difference between doing something because it’s the right thing to do and doing it because you’ve rationalized that it’s the right thing to do.
And on that note, I’ll close before I digress yet again.