If you haven’t already seen the whole to-do over Bill Donohue of The Catholic League suggesting that believers adopt atheists just in case their might be some undiscovered believers among us, check out Greta’s post on the topic. She’s got lots of juicy links and a righteous rant. She is also, like many, perfectly willing to be adopted.
Why? One simple reason: Genesis 22, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. Or another: The idea that Christian parents have the duty to beat their children into an appropriate posture of submission. Need more? How about threats of shunning and eternal damnation, all applied to children as endorsed by some deity?
There isn’t anything we can’t do to those under our power if a god tells us to.
Now, yes, I am an adult, even if I allow someone to “adopt” me. I tend much more toward the defiant than the submissive. No matter what some believer feels called to do to me by their god, no matter what treatment they can justify by telling themselves they are saving me for eternity, I’m not likely to crumble or even take their actions personally. I know that what they do is a reflection of them and their desperation, their inability to see me as a complete, perfectly satisfactory person who doesn’t need “fixing” to make me look more like them.
I won’t conform just because they really, really want me to. I won’t bend to peer pressure or pretty stories or guilt or threats of an eternity of someone’s favorite form of torture. I won’t abandon the hard-won, hard-reasoned person I’ve turned myself into (with help, of course). I’ll still be who I am.
But you know what? I’ve already had one abusively disapproving parent. I had someone tear me to pieces such that I can’t properly be put back together. Then, I didn’t have any choice about whose authority I was under. Now I do. And once was plenty. I’m not doing that again.
So, go on, believers. Adopt those atheists. Try to make them small enough to tuck under your judgmental wings. Bribe them or beat them or promise to burn them, as the god you see in the mirror tells you to do.
I just won’t be among them.