Monday, April 16, 2012

Hijacking Humanity

I am a "from-the-cradle" atheist, which is to say I never had religion. Sadly, I have no grand deconversion story, nor can I claim any great deprogramming feat. No profound realizations or life-altering moments. My atheism story is rather simple, blunt and uninteresting - I was a neglected child. My role models were public personalities, from the fiercely human-centered, life-affirming Roger Waters to the calm, compassionate, visionary Carl Sagan. I could have done a lot worse. I was quiet, introverted (perhaps cowed), introspective, and non-combative.


I am now a self-professed anti-theist, which is to say anti-theism (not to be confused with anti-the people who are theists - as one disingenuous twerp I encountered claimed, trying to paint me as attacking the people instead of the dogma).

I remember the last time I was in a church, for my uncle's wedding. I was there for my uncle and his new bride, for celebration of the beginning of their new life together and the love they shared. The priest decided to halt the proceedings to berate the audience about there being a non-believer present. What followed was a disgraceful hijacking of my uncle's ceremony for this parasite's dogmatic agenda. He actually felt he had a right to *use* this celebration for his *purposes.* I held my tongue, for the benefit of family, fuming at the sheer arrogance of this parasite. He saw my uncle's wedding as an opportunity - an opportunity! - to push his garbage and attack this unnamed non-believer. At that moment I realized, with absolute clarity, precisely what religion was and what it did. It annexed us, our lives and our humanity, and used us to push doctrine. I realized they would not stop - ever.

That monster really opened my eyes. I walked in a live-and-let-live atheist; I walked out an anti-theist, because I now knew there could never be peace with these monsters - they simply would not permit it. And it wasn't just this particular monster, it was a function of the dogma, prescribed by the dogma for the aggressive, expansionistic perpetuation and spreading of the dogma. I looked at the content of the religion, what it said, and there it was. There was even a word for it - evangelism, and other religions had it too with marginally different names. It would never be possible to live and let live with these dogmas - they expressly forbade it. I delved into it, studied it, broke it down. Later, I would learn the name of what I now think is the base disease behind it all: prescriptivity.

And there were many variants of these prescriptive dogmas, all absolutely determined to never live and let live, all redefining us in their terms, and all using human lives as their currency.

I vowed never again to hold my tongue while these monsters stole our humanity away from us, redefined it for the benefit of the dogma, chewed it up and spit it out as if it were mere expendable chaff. I was now an anti-theist, because there are really only two choices in the eyes of the theist: anti-theism or theism. You are either a cog in the dogmatic machine or you oppose the machine itself.

So be it. I didn't pick this fight. It was brought to me, precisely because of the nature of the monstrosity that is religion.

We must reclaim our humanity, define it in our terms. We must remove god the middle man, and the parasites that prey upon us - the very ones who instill vague, metaphysical fears in us, who tell us we are intrinsically and inexorably flawed in the face of some unattainable ideal, in order to sell us vague, metaphysical band-aids. We must burn the twisted lexicons of religions and seize our birthright - who we are. All the qualities that we admire, and even the ones we despise, are not "through" god, they are from us. We are not mere conduits. It is well past time to ditch the parasites...

1 comment:

  1. You are a true atheist by default. I think one can be indoctrinated into atheism just as one can be indoctrinated into whatever flavor of theism, but as a neglected kid you didn't get any belief guidance either way. You chose on your own and chose wisely. :-)


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