Monday, January 30, 2012

An Excuse to Project

(Image courtesy of xPandaPopx)

I came across the following line while reading a fellow blogger's most recent post:

"I wish more religious people would take time to realize this, especially when they talk about how atheists are so disrespectful of religion."

This is exactly why I often bring up the potential dangers of the black/white mindset which Christianity is based upon and how it can be detrimental to other areas of thinking. Religion aside, it is true that anyone with a brain (literally) is at risk of projecting their own bias onto others. A catty woman, for example, may translate the timid woman's glance as a threat, ("Psh, don't be thinking you're better than me, biotch!") Perhaps the timid woman was merely attracted and wanting a peak at that ass? (guilty! >.<) This is why it's important to get in the habit of thinking outside of oneself. Impossible to do perfectly of course, but far better to make honest attempts than to settle only for the thoughts your complexes confine you to. Religion can perpetuate the problem of complexes determining what is so by excusing or even encouraging them.

Christianity, at its core, serves to separate people into two categories: sinner and saved. This perpetuates the natural human tendency to pit oneself above another and creates the guilt complex in those with a lesser desire for superiority by forcing such a mindset where it doesn't fit.

While it's true that, say, Slightly Superior Sven* is likely to struggle with a superiority complex throughout his life whether he is an Atheist or a Christian, at least with an atheistic mindset he is not chained by the soul to a particular view which excuses the superiority complex and encourages the segregation of satan's tools and children God. As an Atheist, especially if his motive for becoming such was a result of skepticism, Sven is more likely to be in the habit of questioning (or at least of thinking freely) where as Christians tend to be stuck in the pattern of thinking with their Bibles. A mind, like any other muscle, that is not exercised becomes weak.

Even if a Christian is an expert at compartmentalizing, and thus critically thinking about many aspects of life that he deems separate from religion, it is still true that he cannot apply it to Christianity if it counters a known biblical claim. So, many aspects of the black/white mentality persist. They must - or else everyone would find reason to abandon the belief system, as the core would begin to crumble!

I once knew a kindhearted Christian woman who appeared on the surface to be completely nonjudgmental. Likely, because her personality did not allow for it. She was abused as a child, depressed as a teen, and as a believer, she was fixated on God's love. At first I thought, "finally, a Christian who seems a little open-minded and understanding." Then, I participated in some religious debate with her. It was kind of a sad thing to experience because she seemed so uncomfortable admitting that those who disagree are hell bound. That wasn't the aspect of her religion that she personally latched onto. It's like, it didn't set well, but she had to accept it because it was a part of the deal. I can relate -- but I eventually did explore that doubt and broke free.

So, can a devout Christian - either kind and gentle, slightly superior, or somewhere in between - understand that they too are being disrespectful toward the Atheist? I'm honestly not sure. It seems to me that they can make small attempts. They can ignore that homosexuality is a sin, for example, if their son/daughter happens to be one in favor of saving the relationship. They can even dismiss the part of the bible that says so as 'inapplicable to the current times'. As for a core aspect of Christianity - that to be saved, you need Jesus and that the unsaved are doomed - how can you ignore that or deem it inapplicable while remaining Christian? I'm not sure they are capable of seeing their brand of discrimination as wrong. Maybe on some level, but not one that they are free to question.

*Sven just sounds like a snooty guy to me -- but I'm sure you Svens of the world are just dandy in actuality!! ^_-

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Something like this ...

I think this about sums up what it's like to be brought up in fundie land when many aspects of it are not compatible with your personality. You believe because you're not yet aware that there's another option. When there are glimpses of other options, initially you still want to believe because familiarity is comfort. But ... when the zombies start swaying and crying out the name of Jesus during the slow songs at that Plus One concert, you can't deny being a little (a lotta) freaked out ... O_o

I Quite Like that Channel ...

Atheism, by definition, is " disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings." Religion defined is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects". While atheism could in fact be an aspect of a religion (ex. some Buddhists are atheists) it is not a religion in and of itself.

It's usually religious folks making this assumption but I have come across a few atheists/agnostics/I don't give a fuckers who have felt similarly - I'll get to them in a bit. It's not difficult to understand why a Christian would think this. Psychological projection comes to mind, combined with the black and white worldview that Christianity tends to confine them to.

I think Christians may have a difficult time comprehending indifference in this case; for it is one of those biblically non-existent gray areas. There really isn't much you can be apathetic toward, without the risk of downward spiraling, which a lukewarm faith can cause. Of course, the subjects in which it is "actually" okay to be lukewarm toward are cherry-picked and then denied or ignored by the individual. That is besides the point, since the whole denial thing cancels out the idea that it may okay to be somewhere in the middle thus lessening the likelihood of raising consciousness there. To them, one cannot simply disbelieve without any emotional fuel.
"I love Jesus. You don't love Jesus. Therefore, you must hate Jesus" seems to be the common mindset. To be indifferent to Jesus/the idea of his love does not compute. Only a lack of understanding or knowledge of his existence are sensible explanations for such nonchalance.

Likely resulting from the (fucked up version of) love which fuels the idea behind Christianity, C.S. Lewis, for example, could only find three possibilities as to why Jesus would claim to be God (he was either "a lunatic, a liar, or who he said he was"). His reasoning completely ignores the possibility that stories of Jesus are exaggerations and that Jesus never personally claimed divinity. I doubt that Lewis was deliberately boxing his readers into a limited answer set but rather, was genuinely unaware due to passionate blindness.

In the same way that Christians tend to attach an emotion (hate/anger) to the Atheist due to their passion for God's love and the power of projection, attaching religion to Atheism comes just as naturally. Stemming from the black and white mentality that results in love/hate, sinner/saved, etc classifications, I think Atheism is viewed as the opposite of Christianity when in actuality it only opposes the general belief in god(s) - not religion in general and certainly not Christianity specifically. These things become hard to separate when one's worldview requires the lumping together of all dissenting views. While possible to peel apart, it requires more effort than it would for the open-minded free-thinker, already in the habit of thinking critically about these things and in general.

Still, while it is mostly (in my experience) Christians making the claim that Atheism is a religion, it has not always been the case. I can recall one agnostic and one 'peace monger' (he seemed to be an agnostic/atheist but actively refused to be associated with the term and called himself non-religious instead), both of whom shared the idea that Atheism is a religion.

The self-proclaimed agnostic seemed to confuse zeal for religious beliefs with the atheist's common frustration in standing against the zealots in order to takes steps toward progression and with humanitarianism in mind. This is a common mistake - one I have mentioned before and once thought to be true. The "non-religious peace monger" used the argument that since Atheists believe god(s) are not real, gather and discuss atheistic ideas, this makes it a religion. I tried to explain that by his logic, non-stamp collecting is a hobby and lack of belief does not necessarily equal belief. I also went out of my way to explain that Atheists are not confined to a specific set of rules as are members of any religion, sect or cult. He was for some reason too emotionally attached to his view, as he lashed out and didn't bother reading my explanations before dismissing them over and over. Given what I know of his personality, I am guessing either a) pride in being right for the sake of it, b) wanting desperately not to be labeled ("I am an individual with my own thoughts, I will not be classified, rawr!") or c) a bit of both. Unfortunately, pride clouds thinking whether or not it can be blamed on someone's religiosity.

At any rate, I quite like this off channel that is apparently Atheism. As for my new dye-job, I'm not quite sure how this bald color goes with my complexion ... o_0