What a year for me.
I'm sure the rest of the world had it's ups and downs, it was one of those years where I simply couldn't avoid the news (no matter how hard I actively try to) and I am a worse person for it.

So I am told.

My atheism became very personal to me this year. How could it not be? Family and friends alike have accused me of moral inferiority because I don't bow to imaginary friends.

Religion truly offends me, but I don't try to start arguments, I just get sucked into them. You know how the arguments go, someone says something offensive about something (women, gays, atheists...pick a group) and I feel compelled to correct my friends. Then they launch into the tired "Don't attack my religion," defense.

My mother and I got into a very strange argument in which she accused me of being just like my atheist brother. My brother who defends the religious on grounds of culture. I assured her that I am nothing at all like that.

My husband says I am more atheist than I was Catholic. I can only hope so. It has meant a lot of misery otherwise.

I didn't lose my faith, I actively destroyed it.

2012 promises to be filled with ignorance, I heard some calendar is running out. Mayan I think. I didn't realize so many people were Mayan...

So I raise a toast to my fellow atheists at large. The world has made another rotation around the sun, and we prep ourselves for another 365 glorious days. Because they are glorious. We have so few of them, but they are ours to define. No guarantees, no granted wishes or prayers...just what we make of them. Tonight I toast to you my fellow non-believers. You have made me feel less alone in this world where 98% of my friends are seriously religious.

I am thankful to you for being you.

Cheers, to you and to another 365 days!

Views: 78

Comment by Ron V on December 31, 2011 at 5:32pm

Cheers!

 

I empathize with the family issues- I have an evangelical mother and mostly Christian family.  Recently, my sister-in-law said I was "getting better" with respect to being less confrontational.  I challenged her to point out one single instance where I wasn't provoked into reacting to based on the actions of Christian "believers" - she just looked at me with her jaw dropped and had no respnse - Christians don't seem to understand we, for the most part, are responding to their actions most of the time because they are making nonsensical claims or trying to impose their views on us or other non-believers.

Here is my response to her "your getting better" comment-

 

I have seen a presentation by this woman and the issues she raises are issues I see as problematic too - these are issues that I may become "passionate" about.
 
http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/a...
 
As a non-Christian in America, I am inundated with Christianity in this country - often presented as the "truth."  Christians have their national motto (unconstitutionally, I believe- E Pluribus Unum was sufficient until the 1950s, when evangelical reps (Absolom Robertson- Pat's father) in Congress proposed and passed "In God We Trust" in clear violation, to me, of "Congress shall make NO law.."- what part of "no" did they not understand).  They also started putting what I believe is an inherently religious motto on paper money and changed the Pledge of Allegiance to include "under God" (which the author did not put in it and would never have included).  How is this not blazingly obvious that a religious group is trying to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of America and establish a JudeoChristian theocracy?
To me, this country is a creeping theocracy that I believe we should all seek to avoid - religion and non-religion has thrived in this country with the government remaining neutral - we should all be able to worship or not worship as we see fit without government infringing on matters of conscience - but that worship or non-worship should remain in our homes, churches, synagogues, temples, etc. - not in our schools, on our money, etc. 
As a Christian, these things are probably taken for granted by you and not seen as offensive in anyway - but I am offended that I have to carry and use money that says "In God We Trust" when I think it is unconstitutional and I do not trust in man made gods - I trust in reason and knowledge.  I am offended when people imply I am going to burn in hell or suffer some eternal fate of torture because I don't believe in their god, I am offended when people who are scientifically illiterate make and pass laws regarding science and evolution when they have a complete lack of scientific understanding, I am offended when people write and pass legislation approving the use of my tax money for reimbursement to religious prayer groups as a valid medical reimbursement, I am offended when politicians in America use religion to interfere with science and/or promote their religious agenda, I am offended when people impose their religion on my daughters at sporting events with their religion du jour pre-game prayer, etc. 
So, I apologize if I was perceived as possibly being "over-passionate" in the past- but I am in the minority in this country when it comes to religious beliefs and I am inundated with Christianity and it wears on me over time.  But if I am presented with an argument that I think has no merit based on logic and/or science, I may have to call it out - but I have been trying to hold my tongue as much as possible because I realize people have their passionate "beliefs" and that no amount of logic or reason may influence their "beliefs."  But there is a big difference between "belief

Comment by Ron V on December 31, 2011 at 5:42pm

But there is a big difference between "beliefs" and "knowledge" based on rational thought, reason and science- although they are often confused by many, and many continue to present arguments and perpetuate "truths" that are simply beliefs without evidence.
And, I am trying to become less "passionate" and try to think about common ground I may have with Christians - hopefully including the following (from American Humanists http://www.americanhumanist.org/who_we_are/about_humanism/Humanist_...)- but I realize even these, although more acceptable than religious dogma to me, may not be acceptable to some, and possibly many, Christians-
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
 
You saying "you're getting better" is a reflection of my deliberate aversion of people/situations where I think I may have fundamental disagreements leading to "passionate" discussions and a conscience effort to hold my tongue. 
 
(But, seriously, could we actually progress and/or learn without "passionate" discussions?)

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