"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who is the coward here?

I'm having issues with myself right now.

I realized tonight, after coming across an extremely hateful article (hateful towards atheists, just to be clear), that since I started my own Inquisition, I've been avoiding such articles. I do think that people like the one I'm referring to are hateful because they feel threatened, but on the other hand, why do I avoid them if I'm secure in my beliefs?

I suppose the answer is that I'm not secure in them. I'm still not 100% certain what I believe. In The God Delusion, Dawkins outlines seven levels of belief; I don't have the book in front of me, but the basic idea is that one is 100% belief in God, while seven is 100% lack of belief (I think). Dawkins makes the point that level one is much more heavily populated than level seven; and even he falls into level six, not seven. The main point is that religious persons are not at all likely to admit to any uncertainty in their beliefs and say they will never change their minds--in contrast with agnostics/atheists, who are perfectly willing to alter their beliefs in the presence of new evidence. I think I'm around level five right now (if I recall correctly), but always aver that I'm willing to change categories if presented with a good reason.

However, what's a good reason? Does my good reason lie in the articles I've been avoiding? I sincerely doubt it; someone who presumes to know the mind of every atheist alive is not likely to convince me to go back to the church.

But a bigger question is this: Am I avoiding these articles out of disgust, out of a desire to spare myself needless stress from exposure to mean, unhelpful opinions?

Or am I just afraid that I'll start believing again and have to admit I've been wrong?

Well, ok, that last bit is kind of ridiculous. I mean, right here, right now, I am not afraid to say that I was probably wrong for the first 20 to 23 years of my life. It might be a lot easier to admit I was wrong for the next two to five.

The possibility also exists that I just don't want to believe in God, because then I'll have to go back to being a "good Catholic" and go to church and consult God when planning my life. That is a definite possibility. But is seeing a certain lifestyle as ridiculous a valid reason for rejecting it? I ask you.

Whatever the reason, the facts remain: I am 1) avoiding mean Christians, and 2) not absolutely sure what I believe.

Hm. When you put it that way, I have no issues with myself at all.

"Let the Almighty answer me." Job 31:37


  1. Did atheism come to you easily, or was it a difficult process? For me, it was quite difficult - I spent several months reading and studying everything I could get my hands on. Frankly, it was exhausting.

    I'm telling you this thinking you might have had a similar experience AND, for that reason, you'd rather not engage in hard debate because a) you've bought the shirt already and, b) you'd like to avoid using your energy fighting.

    Declaring yourself an atheist is one thing - moving on to discuss the positive ways an atheist can live is another. I suspect you instinctively know this and would rather focus on the positive.

    Does that help?

    Good luck. :)

  2. Interesting. I think I'm actually still in the middle of the difficult process--and I guess I don't feel it's important to consult every single opinion on the subject. I'd rather figure it out on my own, or at least talk to Christians who are actually interested in helping me figure it out instead of just re-converting me.