There’s been a big emotional explosion at Le Café Witteveen. Unknown to me before last week, my brother, SiL (sister in law) and dad are all regular readers (hey guys!). I’ve been ignorantly and egregiously beleaguering the lot of them (their views really, but it’s hard not to take that personally) with an insolent blitzkrieg of atheist word bombs. Sometimes I post videos or gather ammunition from other blogs or regular readers, and they act as my New World Order Obama Army of Darkness. Some times I get Julie to sniper rifle a hefty hole in wackaloonery. Or I will get Petursey to sick the dastardly dogs on the matter and cause a sense of dominating dereliction.
[insert cricket sound]
The awakening, however, of my family frequenting Le Café as regulars punched me in the nuts.
On one hand, maybe they lurked because they didn’t want to disrupt the flow. They realized it was my little dirrrrty secret. Or they rubbernecked the trainwreck and they were amazed by the amount of carnage laying around the front doors of Le Café.
On the other hand they lurked because they wanted to know me. And that feels good. Nothing says “I love you” like sifting through someone’s diary and not telling them.
I really want to know my family too. It’s flattering to know that they want to read here, and come back 4 or 5 times a day (WOOT)!
The pain from the original explosion has subsided for the most part, and I’m still digesting the phone call I had with my brother about the whole shebang. There was a lot of personal information exchanged (I had really no idea of SiL’s bra size. Really?).
I would do well to keep digesting it for the time being. One thing I can divulge is how disappointed my family is that I would pursue religious topics with sheer disdain. Whether my intention or not, they feel disrespected or as if I view the southeast as a literal place of “complete retardation” (their words, not mine — honk).
Love the Neighbor, Hate the Neighs
So the conundrum is how to keep this a place of expressing, without self editing, how I view the world and keep the idea in tact that I “love the sinner and hate the sin” per se.
I loathe “hate sin love sinner” It’s a ruthless lie in church vernacular. The main sins this statement addresses are sexual sins, namely homosexuality. You never hear someone say, “Hate the lies love the liar” or “hate the work done on sabbath but love the worker”. It’s hands-down the most insincere level of dishonest judgement that a person of any background can make.
How do I make this statement pertain to me. Do I say, “I love the religious person but hate the religion they follow”? Because that’s intolerant and haughty (but it’s a certainly true feeling, eek).
Is there really no way to pursue the topics I might like to pursue without making people feel ehrm … poopy?
One initiative I will make is more academic and less rebellious, juvenile verbal vandalism (how many times did I say some variation of “fuck” in the last couple posts? It had to have been a million.). I will make an effort to be less directly offensive. Because until now, the majority of my readers all agreed with me a good amount of the time (not all), and there were few that found offense.
Don’t forget, I’m better than you.
One thing I must point (and perhaps a reminder is), I lived as a “Christian” for about 20 years. I was educated from pre-school through college in primarily Protestant academics. I acted as a Christian zealot for the duration of those years. I cried genuine tears to bring others to Christ (I personally convinced two), and I have asked and re-asked Jesus into my heart 100s (maybe thousands) of times.
In school, my teachers taught me how to attack other religions and the non-religious alike. These attacks were — at their base — steeped in supercilious tone, which makes it hard not to retaliate against them sans disdain.
I have a wealth of knowledge about the Hebrew and Greek languages, and know chapter and verse many go-to biblical references that “prove” the points made by Protestants and Catholics. I have found that the biggest weakness of Christians is that they are not well-versed in their own history, theology and dogmas. And they are severely handicapped when talking/writing about the things that supposedly threaten their views namely about evolution and the Big Bang. And yet, many Christians use notes derived from pastors and teachers rather than their own readings and understanding of the topics. If an evolutionist makes you feel stupid for not having an basic understanding of evolution, it’s because you likely don’t understand have a basic understanding of evolution. Christians must provide some sense of the attempt to say, “Hey, I read about natural selection and I understand you agree with X, Y, and Z, but here’s why I don’t.” Ta-dah, you’ve established respect with the “opponent”.
I’ve read an incredible amount of pro- and con-religious literature, as well as logged 100s of hours listening to Christian versus Atheist debates. From many real-world instances, I can confidently say, I know the bible better than most of the American population. I scored very high in biblical studies, except one time in 5th grade, I got a D on verse memorization. It’s the lowest grade of my school career.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, “I try to understand the world from a well-rounded education. Most non-theists I know also pride themselves on this. I encourage anyone who disagrees with atheism to truly ‘try’ (just try) to understand through education and empathy what you’re arguing against. Because a lot of us are coming from a place that used to be “inside”.
Or better yet, quiz me. Or not. I know it means nothing to you. I feel much better tooting my horn. I might need to go self-gratiate my business.
“Jesus loves you, but I think you’re an asshole” <—- arsehole to you, Peter.
This is where atheists get frustrated. Churches can be amazing places (We agree!). They are rich, safe havens for its congregations to gather and sing in like-minded unison. They are places to encourage each other to moral behaviours (that spelling’s for you, Petursey). They are places to help the destitute back on their feet. They are places to order up a double-grande encouragement spiritual latte to get you through your week. They can be amazing places! This is NOT the issue. The issue is that if a person doesn’t form-fit to the rules of the game (e.g. accept Yeshua, his resurrection and subsequent springback to life and trust that his presence “guides” you through the world and then when you die, there’s an eternity of Yeshua love) despite ALL the evidence to the contrary, you’re out of the love club.
BUZZ BAM MASTER SLAM!!! You’re out. FOREVER and EVER and EVER. For a devilish eternity of fire and gnashing teeth.
(Hell or Heaven are your choices little children! Now who do you love? Make a decision. Go ahead. Nope, not that one!)
What’s the choice again?
There’s not one stick of butter of truth that can convince any religious people that the concept of hell is a callous, hateful dogma entrenched in a reckless history or wily human interference.
If you take the Yeshua out of Church, it ceases to be a good place to go. Really?
Wouldn’t it be cool if there were husbands on church stages making poetry and public announcements of love to their children and wives? Wouldn’t it be much cooler if there were wives singing songs to their husbands and children about how much they love them? How about singing about the things that piss you off? How about addressing the sick and the poor in a way that doesn’t include going out in the world and saying, “Hey we know it sucks now, and to avoid an eternity of this torment, Yeshua wants you to love him! After you die, THAT’S when things get better.” How about instead of being angry that your kids are dabbling in drugs or alcohol, embrace it and make the church a safe place to talk about those things instead of making every concerted effort to ignore the truth of life and hide all your pain in the back of your mind? How’s that sound?
How about a place where people feel safe to admit their indiscretions or at least not made to feel like their sub-human for being (fucking) HUMAN. I truly think my brother and SiL approach the world this way, but I know very few who agree with them.
Well that’s why I’m here. Because I took the Yeshua out of my Church, built a safe Café and it’s a great place to frequent. We have food, music and drinks. We encourage monogamy and having children. We teach don’t lie, steal or covet. We teach the power of loving neighbor as self.
I do all the great physical, natural and measurable things the church does, but we go further. I sing and dance with my wife. I have parties and emphasize togetherness through gastronomy (the church does this, but it’s a little bizarre eating the flesh of the savior, who’s with me?). I write and read poetry to my wife. When I have kids, I will tell them they are loved, no matter what they think about, no matter what they do, no matter what mistakes they make. Discipline and education will be priority. Life is now, and soak it up! I love and will love in measurable weights and evidence. These are all things we can measure and feel. I removed all the stuff that is invisible, because the invisible doesn’t help/hinder/understand that my devotion is family first.
So you might think there’s an extra place for god in all that? Great. By all means, please.
It’s like the little boy in the video above. He’s got a choice to paint his room whatever color he wants, but the choice MUST be the one or his hopes and toys will be dashed over the rocks below.
So now that everyone feels comfortable and happy, we can move forward … you know … without all the disdain. Right? Right.