The other day I thought back to when I was an angry atheist, and wondered; what was I so pissed off about?
Because of the fact that I don’t necessarily think that religion and Christianity in particular are evil, misguided and delusional anymore, I’m becoming more familiar with the slight eyebrow raising that comes when someone finds out that I’m a (sometimes) church attending semi-Christian.
I don’t really mind an eyebrow raise. I can handle an eyebrow raise. Well, not really, it irritates me, but I can avoid responding to it. It could just be a tick, after all.
Of course, the deep down judgement that I know that people are probably making bothers me hugely. Since that is totally in my head though, it serves me well not to launch into a diatribe at them concerning what they *might* be thinking.
Because it’s all projection, isn’t it? I’m just thinking back to the judgements that I made about people, their intelligence and the obvious lack of worldliness that come with being Christian. And oh my goodness, I judged.
Paybacks a bitch, isn’t it?
I was an eyebrow raising, patronising and judgemental atheist.
Are all atheists like this? Absolutely not. But there is one certain variety of atheist that is like that, and I was one of them.
Why was I so angry? Why was I so with witheringly patronising at the hint that someone may be a person of faith?
a) I just thought that you had to be SO STUPID to believe in God. I thought that you had to have this tiny box of a mind that allowed no outside idea or indeed logic into it. So I was angry because= stupid people (stupid people still make me angry, don’t worry. It’s just you’re not by default stupid because you’re Christian).
Believing in God doesn’t mean that you are ignorant of science. Denying evolution is, but I don’t do that. Believing that Jesus rose from the dead is kind of hazy for me (and I’m not right on board with it). I’m not one to use science to argue for God, but also I don’t think at it has rendered the concept of God meaningless. That whole bit works nicely for me these days.
So I was patronising. I don’t know if I actually told any one that’s they seemed too smart to be a Christian but it kind of sounds like something I would have said…( but crikey I hope I didn’t!).
b) I was angry because I thought that CHRISTIANS ARE TRYING TO TELL US HOW TO LIVE!!!!
Yeah, not really. Some sure are. Some are trying to stop gay marriage and access to abortion but there’s an increasing groundswell of Christians that don’t believe that their faith is bound up in these issues.
I’d go as far to say that the largest number of people who are actively effected by religious groups in Australian society today are those who need help from groups such as the Salvos, Vinnies, Red Cross, Uniting Care and all the other services carried out by everyday, nondescript churches every week.
Apart from that decidedly positive aspect, I don’t think that Christianity has the effect on our day to day lives that some would have us believe.
Why else was I so irritated? Unfortunately I’m of the personality type at takes easily to irritation. I am a mixture of irritation and feelings, probably the perfect storm for an opinionated atheist.
I was always incredibly uncomfortable with people expressing their feelings about Jesus, but now I come to think of it I’m pretty uncomfortable with people expressing strong feelings about anything at all. Yes, I hated the way Christians evangelised but I hate the way anyone evangelises about anything at all, just on principle.
Also, I don’t think that anyone has ever evangelised at me anyway. So it was preemptive irritation.
I think that I was really, really irritated at a Christianity that doesn’t exist in any huge way in my part of the world; the anti-evolution, pray the gay away, shoot before you ask questions type of religion.
Makes me wonder which other areas of my life I generalise and stereotype without realising it. I’d hope that the answer is none at all. At least I’ve got the self awareness to realise that’s probably wrong, hey?