Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cabbages of Nephilim

When is an Atheist not an Atheist? Often when they are Christian.

Before I discovered some actual Atheist groups (which, since they are based in Salt Lake City, distance prevents me from interacting with as much as I would like) I had met as many self described Atheists who were in fact hard-core Christians as I had met honestly self-describing Atheists. I had met many, many Atheists, but most refused to self-describe as such; preferring an “I don’t really think about it” approach.

Since I am a self-describing Atheist I should possibly be at odds with those who are Atheists, but refuse to self identify. However, there is an extra level of anti-theism achieved by realizing that most religious notions are not even worth the time to discount. The attitude that there are better things to think about than god completely discounts religion; especially when one goes about thinking about those better things instead of god. When pushed these individuals often self-describe as agnostics, but in reality they are the uber-Atheists.

This blog has been described as “not atheist enough” because I haven’t spent enough time introducing elements of theology and then destroying them. I should do something like introduce bible quotes, and then disassemble them into nonsense. Here is a quote:

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” – Genesis 6:4 KJB

But when I look at it I just don’t know where to begin.

I feel compelled to point out that Giants in the King James Version are called Nephilim in the New International Version, and that Nephilim would make a good name for a heavy metal band. I should point out that the idea of multiple sons of god detracts from the oft-repeated assertion from John 3:16 that “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” . You would think any reasonable cross-walking of the divine lineage would pick this up. I could create an historical list of men of renown, and then speculate on which were the cousins by divine impregnation of Jesus.

Unfortunately the deafening roar from my mental image of “The holiest of Spring Breaks” or “Gods Gone Wild” distracts me from such careful analysis of this scriptural gem. I begin to imagine God’s daughters. Were they party animals like his sons? The Roman’s had a mega-hottie actually called “the Goddess of Love and Beauty”. Does the Christian god at least have a daughter of “Awkward Infatuation” or “Lust and a Really Good Personality”?

If I re-wrote the bible I would add all sorts of interesting stuff. I would not just edit stuff out like Thomas Jefferson did. However, I might just throw out Leviticus entirely.

If I re-wrote the bible, and then disassembled it into absurdities, I would be doing something silly. Silly can be fun at times.

The Hard-Core Christians I have had introduce themselves as Atheists to me have not thought about Atheism much. Certainly not as much as I have thought about Christianity.  For some of the same reasons that “agnostics” who don’t think about religion at all are actually uber-Atheists the Christians who self-describe as Atheists consider themselves to be uber-Christians.

This pseudo Atheism is a popular ploy, but I have yet to see it employed effectively. I think it is actually meant for use with other Christians as a source of amusement. Not having real Atheists around they pretend to be one to display how foolish we are; a caricature show. This is analogous to the blackface minstrel shows which were popular in the USA till sometime in the 1960s.

I recall this one time that an acquaintance of a friend who was wearing a cross on a chain around his neck and a fish ring the size of rapper bling introduced himself to me as “an Atheist”. My friend rolled her eyes. He was smiling jovially enough, and would probably have lapsed into a set of jokes had I not cut him off.

“Welcome friend” I said “Isn’t it wonderful to appreciate this beautiful day, the love that good friends bring one another, and the special feeling you get when you know everything is right with the world without the oppressive notion of some ill-conceived invisible overlord. I know that it is so much easier to do the right thing by simply knowing what is right and wrong without pretending that some iron-age book describes anything worthwhile about morality. Isn’t it exhilarating to just feel the majestic complexity of the universe? I close my eyes and it feels like energy running up and down all the nerves of my peripheral nervous system; I love it!”

I had been slightly raising the tempo of my sermon as I progressed so no spaces were left for him to get a word in. My friend’s eyes had stopped roiling, and her hands had settled on her hips. Her lips threatened to form both a smile and a frown at the same time. I reached out to pleasantly touch my friend’s acquaintance’s shoulder, but he recoiled like it might hurt.

“Friend” I continued “We are at a pivotal moment in history. Great good is possible, and it is so wonderful that you are willing to stand as an Athiest, and by obvious extension stand for the greater good of the future of humanity. I know it is a difficult time to “come out” as an Atheist with so many folks –mainly Christians- who think it is righteous to belittle you. You may have felt abandoned by family and friends, or at least you know someone who has, but you are not alone. “

I spread my arms as if to hug him, and he stepped backwards. My friend’s lips collapsed into a momentary smile.

“Actually…I’m a Christian” muttered my friend's acquaintance.

“Born again?” I asked

“Yes” he replied while scanning for somewhere else to go.

“You can still abandon the idea of a judgmental invisible being” I said “you can still discard your awkward god and become an Atheist. We are the future”.

“No thank you” he replied quickly. Then he walked away.

My friend was no longer smiling, but she was amused.

“Will you give me a hug” I asked; spreading my arms wide to embrace her.

“No” she replied coyly “…at least not here where people might see me”

“Oh” I asked while trying to raise just my right eyebrow. “Why not?”

“Because you are an Atheist-Communist.”

I put my hand on her shoulder, which she didn't seem to mind, and asked her about the possibility of heading out alone with me to have a cup of coffee and "talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax of cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings."

"Okay" she replied, smiling openly now "I think I would like that"

"But first we will have to track down AOD and AYD." I replied "They have taken far too long returning from the bathroom, and I fear they have gotten distracted"


Anonymous said...

When I was growing up I cared intensely about religion. I suspect this was due primarily to everyone I knew being very, very christian. Of course children aren't able to understand the subtleties of life and acknowledge that someone might have a different belief system than they do. Starting around age 6 or 7 my friends were so very concerned for my eternal soul and were convinced I was going to hell and that I absolutely needed jesus in my life because there was no other way I would know the difference between right and wrong. In all fairness, they were just parroting back what their parents told them, just like I was parroting back what my Dad told me.
Still, I cared very much about religion because I felt like I was constantly fighting. I got into theological arguments and was just as obnoxious about my atheism as they were about their christianity.
Once I left that town I realized that religion just doesn't fucking matter. I cared less and less about discussions about theology because finally everyone agreed with me.
It was around that time when I stopped identifying as an atheist and started identifying as apathetic. I felt, and still feel, that by bothering to classify myself as a non-believer gives too much attention and focus to a religion that I don't believe in. So to anyone who asks me what religion I am I say that I belong to the church of apathy. I'm like the honey badger, I don't give a fuck.

adult onset atheist said...

I think the transition from atheist to DGAF is an unfortunate, and natural transition for many atheists. Perhaps the "unfortunate" is a tad of a valueless value judgement on my part, but the natural part follows when you give it a thought. If there is no god then why should theology matter at all if you are living your life honestly.

Most kids will argue about stuff just to prove the validity of their thinking. If they don't argue about religion they might argue about more important stuff like Star Wars vs Star Trek or who is the best Dr Who. Sure some may be more argumentative than others, but all of the very few kids that I've known have gone through periods of intense argumentative behavior.