CONFRONTATIONISM AND THEISM - VARIED RESPONSES TO TRAUMA

In the short period of interaction with people on questions of god and religion, I have come across theists who point that confrontationalism, new atheist movements, antitheism are methods of ego satisfaction for those atheists who hate having religiously indoctrinated as children and having faced the threats of blasphemy when they began losing faith. They point that there are many friendly atheists who think belief or lack of it is one's personal matter which one should keep to oneself. They make an implication that those who attack religion are attacking their bad memories.

 

I have met accomodationists who suggest that the association of evil with religion is only indirect and those who point that religion is evil are only dealing with their personal trauma inflicted due to random acts of evil done in the name of religion (which can be done by any man in the name of anything).

 

Dear atheists and accomodationalists,

Before showing how the cup of logic that you thrust in the face of confrontationalists is half empty, I would first want to congratulate you that your cup is half full.

Let this cup of victory be accompanied by some learning, as it generally should.

 

Theists don’t realise that their inability to turn atheists is also related to trauma, the fear of trauma to be exact. But the difference is the trauma that you dread is your own product. It is needless to stress the role of threats of blasphemy in the two biggest religions of the world. If you can’t reject the idea of hell, you can’t reject the rest of your faith either. And if you can’t reject the idea that man is but an mortal animal on earth and temporary dust in the universe, you can’t reject hell (and heaven) either. It’s traumatic when the world that had promised you eternal existence in the form of a soul in heaven, starts turning into the one that tells you that u are made of the same things as rest of cosmic dust. And if you can foresee this trauma when in confusion about your faith, then surely the fear can get to your reason and there you continue as theist.

 

And for those who care less of the future (and hence care of divine punishment and hell) there is additional fear of trauma that stems from more "worldly" experiences (self or non-self) about the lives of social outcasts. If you are saying 'do hell with hell', well then you are obviously giving greater importance to what happens to you in this "perceivable" world. You don’t want to lose the social advantages of being one of them. You don’t want your parents to think you are their mistake. You don’t want people to think you are the devil's new captive.

And for those theists who have fought a lot against the arguments of theists and have begun to give in, the fear of trauma still works. This time because they actually see the lives of atheists, their struggle against the majority

 

Theists are also unaware of another fact that their faith, which appears to be the source of happiness and relief, causes their deficiency in in the first place. You adopt the ethical values dictated by men dead ages ago and consider them to be objective, which when unmet, lead you into this state of uneasiness and you wait till the evening prayer in this UNREST (being unproductive all this while) and beg to your god for forgiveness. Then you come later wondering if he did forgive you. That he was so dumb to talk to you back in prayer, so you now have to now look for clues to his forgiveness. However delusional you may have become, you still don’t cease go by the rules of human psychology and tend to look for good omens indicating his forgiveness. Then you go in the evening and thank him in prayer and be happy and relieved.

 

When in danger (say facing a medical emergency or a natural calamity like earthquake) you choose to waste time praying to god, wondering what kind of test he has handed to you instead of recollecting and acting on the bits of emergency health advice you heard back some day. You were more interested in learning from priests to keep faith in the faith of adversity than to follow the expert advices properly. You waste your time expecting god to send someone instead of using all your might to bring help in a better way, or do something by yourself. Then with or without your effort, someone turns to help you out (albeit late) and you thank god for sending your messiha, gain stronger faith and troll around on how god saved you. That you would face much less trauma and much more self-confidence if you did something for yourself, doesn’t occur to you. All you need to be is happy after all the suffering and you do it saying its god's will that you suffered and learnt.

 

And if a loved one died due to your delay (say it was late night, he was having abdominal pain, you chose to keep faith and see the doctor the next morning), you console yourself that god had this scarcity of good people by his side (conveniently forgetting that god was supposed to be everywhere and that creating a few other souls should not be a big deal for him) and suddenly you are partly relieved and you credit this relief on being faithful, that god gave you strength for getting through the trauma.

 

It is true that this happiness would not have come if you were a non-believer but the unnecessary trauma that you went through wouldn’t have either. If this is the idea of happiness for you then there are more simple ways to do it, ways that you can keep to yourself and not imbibe your children with them. You can go fall in love with someone, never talk to him/her but imagine a divine connection between your hearts and imagine his/her moves to be especially relevant to you. You will have a similar experience of what you call happiness. Trauma is a great teacher and it teaches you irrespective of whether your worldview is based on reason or otherwise.

 

But all said, theists and accomodationists don’t see that it is the effect of this trauma of a confrontationist's past, which is going to be directed to a world where atheism will cease to stem from pain, where atheism will no longer require any propagation, where the new atheist movement will have met its successful end point. History is the witness that all the independence movements stem from pain and give rise to a world that is more peaceful.

 

So why is your cup only half full?

Because you tend to project atheists personally, conveniently forgetting that the personal problem of a lot of people is considered as the public problem. Now, there is more than just your distaste for reason to blame for this. The idea that confrontationists are random people who shout in part synchrony due to their personal trauma is primarily due to the fact that we seem scattered in the world, with no common purpose to unite us all but this. Well, I have more than history and geography to beat this argument in part. The history says that the biggest movements come when people randomly unite, gather others hesitating with their first step and become cohesive enough to make a difference. Geography says that it is difficult not to see activists as being scattered when the movement they are working is on a global level.

 

Confrontationism may have its roots in personal trauma but there is a whole growing tree to it.

One understands trauma better after having experienced it once but doesn’t mean it is all one understands. It makes a him/her more receptive to the kinds of trauma he/she hasn’t experienced and/or can’t experience. When evils of one’s own religion are experienced, the evils of the other religions are understood better (though not best).

 

Men don’t need to be raped to understand in part, the trauma inflicted during a rape on women. I call your cup half full because the trauma of childhood religious indoctrination can at best, be only partly appreciated by someone who hasn’t experience one. They may understand its wastefulness and the disgust you now experience, but the trauma of remembering having let a decade or two into delusion and not understanding science (at the time of life when u learn it easiest) is not something that they can appreciate even in part of its real measure. What doesn’t move your mind well enough doesn’t move your body enough! Not surprising of someone who was never been theist to care less about the evils of religion. But what is expected of atheists is to atleast vaguely realise that the movement is of global importance and if it is beyond their interests to contribute to it, they atleast refrain from blaming confrontationists for being arrogant and the new atheist movement for being an act of personal vengeance or a way to deal with our past.

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