For nearly 11 years of marriage, and sixteen years total of being together (dating/engaged/married), Andy and I have been in a mixed race, mixed faith marriage. He is a Roman Catholic, I’m an atheist. I was raised in an atheist family, and never saw the need for religious rituals and the like. Going into the relationship I had to accept Andy was going to remain Roman Catholic and that he was not going to change. For him accepting that I was going to remain an atheist was harder, but I think last year was when he realized the extent of the damage he was doing to our relationship by not accepting it. And the result of this was something I would never have anticipated.
I was five when I was first told I was going to Hell. A friend’s mom said it to me. A grown woman said that to my five year old self because my parents had recently explained atheism and that they were atheists to me. Let’s just say, I was completely unprepared for the vehemence and hatred with which people would respond when I answered their questions about my belief system.
Christian retailer, Hobby Lobby, which is owned by the Green family, got into some rather expensive hot water for stealing antiquities from the Middle East. One of the best books I have read so far this year was Three Stones Make a Wall. Written by an archaeologist named Eric Cline, it was not only a fascinating look at different archaeological sites through time in history, but a plea against the type of black market looting and stealing of artifacts that the Green family engaged in.
The Friendly Atheist posted about how a Christian wrote to an atheist, Nadja, who had been murdered, over Facebook, asking if she was sorry now that she was meeting her maker. The Christian, Michelle, has since apologized, which you can read here. And I have a few things I want to say. First, comments like Michelle’s contribute to the toxic atmosphere that many atheists find themselves living in. Second, I don’t find Michelle’s apology sufficient, because I see no attempt from her to reach out to the people she has hurt to learn the reasons why what she said was so harmful. Further, she got a platform to air her version of events, but Nadja does not get a similar platform, and as for the millions of atheists living with such hostility that Michelle displayed to Nadja, well, Michelle decided to ignore them rather than listen to us.
Recently I had two unsolicited attempts at conversion, on two platforms that I don’t deal with religion. One is a Facebook page I run to advocate for children with special needs in my state. The other was a “review” on a fanfic I wrote. Whoever left the review hadn’t read my story, rather, they were spamming writers by leaving a message about the end of days and Jesus on fics, and several other people reported having the same message left on their fics. Frankly, stuff like this is unwanted and aggravating, just like spam for penis enlargement, and here is why.
Facebook reminded me of something that happened a few years ago when a person going door to door to preach in my neighborhood knocked on my door. He asked me if I died today would I have amassed enough good deeds to earn a reward in Heaven. I sighed and said, “You shouldn’t do good things because you’ll be rewarded. You should do good things because they are the right things to do. Merry Christmas.” I then shut the door in his stunned face.
I know a lot of evangelicals who voted for Trump even though they despised him. Why? So he would protect Christian values. So essentially they voted for a man who has been twice divorced, had affairs during all three of his marriages, dragged his first wife through the tabloids, was set to go on trial for the rape of a teenager, bragged about grabbing women by the “pussy”, etc, to protect their moral values.