I haven’t been writing much on here, partially due to the six-week writing residency I’ve been dealing with to nearly finish up grad school, and partially because… ::gestures vaguely around:: What even is there to say? I’m not sure what I could add to this situation. The President is literally trying to rig the election, fires people for not being “loyal”, and protesting is a felony now in Tennessee. Also my city was on fire a few months ago and since then, traffic rules have disappeared and I’m terrified to drive anywhere. What am I going to say other than “holy shit, this is fucked?” on repeat?
Then I saw a post on Tumblr, on the rare occasion I logged in longer than it took to see what my wife sent me, literally the only reason I have Tumblr in the first place, and I see a post about atheists. New atheists, specifically, but atheists nonetheless. I read through it once, and I had mixed feelings about it, but I had to go back to it at least twice because I couldn’t get it out of my head. Therefore, since I haven’t posted here since… ::checks:: … The same day the police murdered someone over an alleged fake 20 two miles from my house… I’m going to write about… not that.
It’s no secret that there is no “Atheist Community” at least as a monolith. With at least a quarter of the country identifying as “none,” diversity within the identification is guaranteed on anything other than belief in god. Which even then, that can be debated, considering how many alleged atheists seem to cozy up with right-wing fundamentalists when it comes to hating their favorite minority(ies), but I digress… The point is, atheists have a spectrum of identity, personality, cultural background, and douchebag capacity.
There is no doubt that a certain contingent of the atheist community is vocal, aggressive, and dedicated to the idea of congratulating each other for being smarter than everyone else while also refusing to examine any other morals, beliefs, biases, prejudices, or philosophies to which they may have subscribed before their deconversion. They’re just as likely to lash out at other atheists for being SJWs or snowflakes or whatever other word they’ve come up with that means “cares about other people” or “wants to hear voices other than straight cis white dudes.” I get it, I’ve been on the receiving end of it enough for my liking. That’s my first inclination when I read this post, sympathizing with the idea that some atheists just love to troll believers under any circumstances, for any reason. They’re from the kind that will troll someone a few hours after a loved one died because they had the nerve to believe they’re in a better place at their lowest moment. That is a problem that sometimes makes it difficult to even identify as an atheist, because the loud, boorish behavior is often the only representative encounter they’ve had with the supposed atheist community.
But then, I can’t get it out of my head. Are these commenters seemingly being dicks for the sake of it? Are they repeating the same tired cliches that they want anyone who speaks at an atheist convention to never diverge from? Yes. Are they emblematic of the aforementioned trollish behavior? Yes. Is there so much more to being an atheist than memes making fun of religious people or Noah’s Ark? Yes. But there’s a huge, enigmatic elephant in the room that shadows over the entire conversation here…
THE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THESE THINGS LITERALLY AND WANT TO IMPOSE IT ON EVERYONE ELSE HAVE ALL THE FUCKING POWER!
I’m not a fan of trolling religious people or dropping some of these comments as if they’re the pinnacle of human thought. They’re being dicks, no doubt about it, and we’ve all had to deal with these people who want us to “keep your social justice out of my atheism!” But is it the most shallow concept of religion to point out, you know, literally what the book says?
I didn’t even grow up religious, but I’ve had everything they referenced in these posts forced on me by the same people behind Trinity Lutheran and RFRAs, and with Gorsuch leaving the door open for RFRAs to supersede the law and Supreme Court decisions for everyone else, it’s not a slippery slope when organizations and corporations are suddenly identifying themselves as religious as a blanket-excuse to not pay taxes, shed light on their financial or social crimes, or discriminate against the queers and people of color. It’s not that it could happen. It’s happening, and with the president seeing a theocratic wet dream as a way to live out his fantasies of being a Strongman, the third of the country that will stand behind him on anything and everything are all too happy to continue making this a reality.
Yes, they’re being dicks. Yes, they’re tired cliches that even atheists are sick of hearing. But the book also actually says those things. Genocides happen in the bible constantly. Blood sacrifices are in there. Talking snakes are in there. A personal relationship with god is espoused in every sermon. This is also the same Jesus that 45 cultists proclaim personally appointed the president and his stolen Supreme Court justices, wrote the constitution, and loves everyone but favors discrimination against everyone but straight cis white Christian rich people.
So yeah, “see what I mean” person, you really proved your point about how atheists can be absolute dicks on the internet. You got us. Now maybe use some of that energy to talk about how the encroaching theocracy that uses those stories that are all in the holy book have eroded the church-state separation boundary nearly entirely for the sake of giving 45’s friends a tax haven and making sure anyone who doesn’t fit the gender standards to their desires can be refused medical treatment during a pandemic.
The most shallow concept of religion cannot be pointing out what the religion contains, regardless of the decorum of those who articulate and perpetuate it in the worst ways. Until those people have the power that the Christian nationalists have and are using it as dictation of government policy to give authoritarian powers to their favorite shock-jock atheist podcaster, maybe save some of your mic drops until we’re at least clear of ending up in Lark Hill until the COVID vaccine develops.