It’s often asserted, in my experience usually by Christians of one sort or another, that atheists aren’t REALLY atheists, that we don’t REALLY not believe in a god or gods. It’s asserted that we are just angry at God, that we just want to sin, that we are just full of pride, and on and on ad nauseam, praise Jay-sus amen.
One atheist can only truly speak for himself in many (most) matters. I can’t say that other atheists agree with me on any particular point (other than the whole no-god thing, ‘cos that’s what the word atheist means). But let me assure anyone with ears to hear, that I do not believe that any gods (supernatural entities) exist outside of human culture and the human imagination. That means Thor, Zeus, Jesus, Ra, Quetzalcoatl, Bob Dobbs, and every other god I have ever come across gets put in the “that probably doesn’t really exist” box.
But I AM angry. I’m angry at Christianity, at its very existence, how it’s used, and on a personal level how it was used against one little boy (guess who).
I abhor all manner of authoritarianism and superstition and dogma and blind adherence to tradition. I’m not angry at the god of Christianity, again I highly highly doubt that it exists. But I have a special place set aside for Christianity, which is untrue, and for the god of Christianity because these things were used as threats against me and those I cared about. I despise Christianity for many things, not the least of which is the fact that it was used to terrorize me as a child.
Christianity, its god, and its Hell were used to scare me into accepting all sorts of propositions. If I hadn’t broken at the age of 14 from the small church I was attending I would still likely believe in a young world where men were made to rule over women, gay people were abominations, and any thought of sex was an affront to the grand king of the universe (even dancing was a no-no, I shit you not). I would base decisions about my family, my politics, who I associated with, what music I listened to, what clothes I wore, and on and on, upon my fear of I and everyone I cared for being cooked alive forever and ever…praise his holy name amen.
When a Christian tells me that their god is one of love and compassion I have the strong urge to simultaneously laugh out loud, scream, and vomit. The memory of the terror of the Christian god and his hell, and revulsion at that vile, twisted faith wash over me.
I remember lying awake at night frozen in fear of being taken to a mythological underworld by imaginary demons in my sleep. I remember walking to a corner of the family place where I grew up and secretly crying for my family who didn’t go to church with me and were certain to be sent to a fiery grave. Millions had experiences like mine, or much worse. Millions still do. For that, I despise Christianity.
The fact that Christianity is superstition and the Christian God doesn’t REALLY exist doesn’t help those who believe and REALLY fear him.
It’s really just too bad. It’s too bad that there is no eternal hell for the Christian god to be tossed into for eternity. He could take his book and his pig herd hating fig tree cursing son, and his ghost part, and his hatred for human beings with him.
He could take all of those who tell the young and the vulnerable that they were born unclean and unworthy and that they deserve never ending torment with him. All of those who tell the impressionable that a super-tyrant sees their thoughts, and has judged them dirty and depraved, all of these clergy and missionaries could be chained in the same pit to suffer the torments they threaten others with.
But there are no gods and there are no hells. There are only a few of us who stand up and point to the Christian god and openly call it a fat sack of superstition and lies. I do feel optimistic though that there are more and more of us everyday. And someday, to say that the Christian god and his hell don’t really exist will be to say what is generally accepted everywhere.
I strongly support freedom of belief, of opinion, and of expression. I will stand up for the right of people to believe in the god of Christianity or any other god. And I will speak out against those superstitions which have been used to torture so many for being who they are, for thinking what they might, for saying what they think and becoming who they might be.
Someday no child will lie awake at night fearing that ancient monster, his oh so righteous judgement, his dungeons, and his instruments of torture. I love that kid, good riddance to God.