a reluctant atheist

I'm an atheist who wishes she wasn't. Life would be so much easier!


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It’s Pastafarianism, Baby!

As an atheist, I obviously don’t subscribe to a religion, but if I had to choose one, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, sometimes referred to as Pastafarianism, would be the one. Yes, it’s satirical. Yes, it’s meant to poke holes in the logic (or lack thereof) of many other religions, but it’s also peaceful, irreverent and fun. You don’t often get to say “fun” when you’re talking fundamentalism. Also, no one has ever been injured or killed in the name of the Spaghetti Monster.

Check out their website: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, where you’ll learn that a colander on your head and greeting other members with a Pirate greeting (Argh!) are two ways to show your belief in Pastafarianism. Some people will be offended, pointing out that it makes light of others’ beliefs. It does. But in a way that’s not judgmental, and certainly not violently or aggressively, like so many other religions do. You’ll never see a Flying Spaghetti Monster rally that devolves into use of pepper spray or hurling racist insults.

In fact, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster first began as a protest against the concept of Intelligent Design. The Church of FSM’s website says, “Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment or satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, just a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken — The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental.” Browse through the site and decide for yourself – I think it’s a gentle way to point out the many problems inherent in other religions.

FSM

I want to be touched by his noodly appendage

If I had to have a deity watching over me these days, the Flying Spaghetti monster would be the one I’d choose. He (she?) seems to be pretty chill, and won’t condemn me for being too much or too little of a Pastafarian. He also doesn’t demand funds, expect me to act in any way like a zealot, and is totally benign. The FSM is in, fact, quite cheery and welcomes all.

In the words of Bobby Henderson, who wrote the “About” section of the FSM website, “Let me make this clear: we are not anti-religion, we are anti- crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a difference.” I whole-heartedly agree with him.

May all the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s people say, “Ramen!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The God Habit

 

I started questioning my faith about six years ago, but it was only in the last few years that I fully acknowledged to myself that I simply didn’t buy the whole premise of an all-seeing, omnipotent god. But I continued to give lip service to religion, mostly out of years of habit. Like saying “excuse me” or “thank you,” saying “bless you” or even “I’ll pray for you” was so ingrained in me that the phrases popped out repeatedly whenever a friend or acquaintance was in distress. I’ll be honest, when it happened, the response from others was always gratifying. They were appreciative and grateful, so I didn’t backtrack or correct their assumptions. After all, why would I want to cause them distress? And I knew that if they knew I didn’t believe, they would be distressed, appalled or both. I wasn’t willing to upset them with the revelation about my crisis of faith. And I didn’t want to have to explain myself or get into a philosophical debate. And I feared that  my relationships with others would suffer.

I don’t know if I’m a coward trying to avoid a confrontation or I’m being compassionate to friends and family who would be terribly distressed that I was no longer in the Christian fold. Quite simply, I didn’t want to talk about it. I feared that I would lose friends or that they would try some kind of intervention. I was afraid they would think less of me. I was afraid of disappointing them. I knew I didn’t believe, but I couldn’t give up the “God Habit” that had been a major part of my existence for most of my life.

 


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Why I’m a Reluctant Atheist

I’m an atheist. There, I’ve said it. I’ve probably been an atheist for years, but it took me a long time to admit it even to myself, and I’m certainly not going to admit it to the world at large, or even my little corner of it. It would rock my world in a number of unpleasant ways, not the least of which would be the shock and disappointment I’d see in the faces of my own family. But over the last months I’ve come to realize that I need to talk about WHY I’m an atheist and why it’s so hard for me to be my real self in a community and a country that’s predominently Christian and darned proud of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Christianity and I have a great deal of respect for those who do believe. To be honest, I wish I had their faith. But I don’t. I can’t.