I woke up this morning to find this in my inbox from an old friend, Wes, whom I’ve known since Elementary school:
Just wanted to take the time and thank you for being an atheist that doesn’t feel the need to bash religion on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Have a friend who I am considering deleting from Facebook for the mere fact that she feels the need to spread hate through being an atheist – and you and I know, that regardless of religious/non-religious affiliation – spreading hate is spreading hate.
It’s a good reminder
We have so many allies in this fight against theocracy that are not themselves atheists. Now, do I think they are buying into something foolish and suffering from some cognitive dissonance? Yes. That doesn’t mean I go around spouting it as part of my daily ritual. In a fight as important as preserving our religious freedom I’d much rather align with people who haven’t fully woke up yet.
That’s fine for them. They realize there are more atheists and we are making it socially acceptable to come out. I do understand how angry an atheist is when they first deconvert. I think it’s part of the grieving process (and yes I think it’s appropriate to call it that). You’ve lost your faith that you took emotional comfort in, you feel as if you’ve been lied to all your life, and you want to do everything in your power to awaken those around you and tell them they don’t have to live by some silly set of rules that pleases some imaginary totalitarian friend. But at the end you’ll probably just end up pushing them away.
The Internet has been the greatest source of advancement for our cause of social acceptance, and every civil rights cause. Yet it has also been our greatest enemy. It has given people the ability to speak uncensored to the masses with the click of a button without the time to check one’s own work and ensure that you aren’t disassociating yourself from allies in your own cause. What’s the point of keeping your right hand dry by pissing on the left one?
I think I’ve struck a pretty fair balance over the years. I’ve been pretty offensive at times when attempting humor and I’ve been pretty humorous when attempting to be offensive. I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes, though.
I think when Casey guest-blogged on here months ago he said it best:
If you haven’t already, consider making your atheism more public. Don’t be afraid to mention your non-belief in casual conversation and honestly answer questions anyone might have. Be the public face of freethought in your unit. You may just be the only one they know.
He was speaking about coming out in your active duty unit. Depending on how you look at it that is both easier and harder than doing it in the real world. On one hand you can’t get fired, but you can get blackballed and never promoted again. You also have to go to combat with those guys and that is a situation where the utmost trust between everyone in a platoon is necessary. In the real world you can be let go for a various number of reasons and that may be a reason to not come forward with your co-workers, either.
Regardless…the angry atheist meme is just old. Most of us really don’t care. Those of us that speak out are a minority and those of us that become activists are a vast minority.
Don’t be a dick.
I get it. That’s not my style, but I get it. As a general rule I’m a dick. Unless it’s close friends or family I don’t get emotionally invested and even then I can be distant (I don’t even wanna see my psychological profile). But I’m consistent. I apply the same amount of “dickiness” to my atheism that I do to the rest of the situations in my life, which has apparently led me to receiving a thank-you note from my old friend Wes.
So, I guess you can be a dick. Just be the right kind of dick?