Posts Tagged ‘Atheism’

alone

August 13, 2013

There is something about being home alone that is just too great for words.

I just want to run around naked yelling WOO HOO until that gets old, then sit down with chips and whiskey and watch TV.

I don’t have TV.

However, I do have whiskey. And my roommates are out picking up dinner, so I will hold off on the chips.

For now.

I am reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a woman and enjoying myself.  I am imagining that I have a friend like this, feminist and hilarious and saying things I can agree with at least 80 percent of the time.

I admin a small group of atheists.  I’m not really in charge of anything so much as I bake cookies and have people over.  However the group has managed to attract not one, but two abused women.

Now really, I don’t mean to complain.  I have been in an abusive relationship myself, and it’s not like I hold it against them.  I get it.  I get it in a way that they might not appreciate, not now, when there’s this male overlord of their life and they are refusing to look that reality in the face.  I get it.

It’s just that I have this crazy idea that maybe, most women are not in abusive relationships.  Maybe they are single and maybe not, but they are respected and appreciated, and people of all genders are generally kind and considerate toward each other.

I had this crazy idea that I could start this group and we would be a bunch of somewhat-literate, thinking, rational atheists who get together and watch movies and chat and eat chips and drink whiskey together.

So far the group has attracted two odd couples and a few single males.

There’s a woman my age who hasn’t been employed a day in her life, I don’t think.  She’s recently had a baby and is quite happy, but I’m not sure her husband is such a nice person.

There’s a young woman who’s a few years out of high school.  She was in the foster care system and eventually adopted.  She’s very clever, got a 4.0 in high school, and she’s with a guy who I really dislike but I am trying very hard to be fair.  He is unemployed and a caricature of a libertarian; she is, like I said, very clever and wants to go to school and be a programmer.  Her boyfriend wants her to do some team-truck-driving thing with him.  It’s his dream.

Sorry.  I’m trying to be fair.

What I’m getting at is, I’m tired of abuse and manipulation and lazy entitled males who get away with it and always will.

I was chatting with one of my roommates last night about how these dudes can get away with it, the abuse I mean.  And he said, “It all goes back to the fear of being cheated on.”

“Well,” I answered, “I guess that’s why I don’t get it.  Because I don’t fear that.”

That’s not literally true.  I would hate to be cheated on, and I would probably end a relationship if I’d been cheated on (again) (as my ex-husband did).

But have you ever seen those Twitter tags that go something like, #myboyfriendbetternot and it’s always about cheating, or looking at another girl, or texting, etc.

And that is just not the first thing that pops into my head.  “My boyfriend better not think I’m gonna do his laundry!”

But as I thought about it, I remembered my ex.

He’d confessed to his godsister that he’d cheated on me.  It had happened before we got married.  She told him he had to tell me.  So he took her advice.

And I’m no psychiatrist, but when he told me that, I think I just shut down.

“Do you forgive me?” he asked.

Yeah, sure.

I mean, what could I do about it at this point?  I’d already traded my professional-level job for a high-school-level position.  I’d married him and moved in with him.  Really, what was I supposed to do?  We were married.  I knew what that meant.  I had to forgive him.  Had to, or else all kinds of things would happen that were 100 percent against my programming as a Christian female.

So I forgave him.

And I disconnected some cables in the computer of my brain, if you’ll pardon the dramatic metaphor.

So of course when he confessed to cheating on me again, eight years later, I just stared at the wall and said “Okay.”

How many times do you think he didn’t tell me about?  With that kind of reaction out of me?  He might as well have been telling me that he’d lost the keys to his car but found them a minute later.

So what I’m getting at is, these atheists in the group (my roommate argued) don’t have the security that god is watching the wife, so they feel like they have to use other manipulations to control her.  Because being cheated on is the worst.

But I was just thinking that maybe there’s were some women in the world who might like to be my friend.

And maybe those women wouldn’t have their significant other telling them, “Nobody likes you. You’re crazy and they are just putting up with you.”

Or, if that’s not a relevant method of control: conning her out of her wages and making it so that if she wants to go somewhere, she has to borrow his car because she doesn’t have her own.

I was thinking there would be some women who could come over and run around the house with me and have chips and whiskey.

I think I would be an okay friend.

telling the family

December 23, 2009

When I first became an atheist, I wasn’t sure how to tell people– or if I should tell them at all.  I eventually decided to wait until the topic came up, with my family especially, and then mention it.  That went over fine, for the most part.  The one glitch in that plan came quickly, the first weekend after I’d told my husband (now ex).  I was on the phone chatting with my mother and once the call was over, my ex asked if I had told her that I’m not a Christian anymore.  “No, I didn’t.”

He looked at me with this expression of authority (that’s the only way I can really describe it– like he was about to give an order.)  “You need to call her back and tell her.”

“No, I don’t.”

But he insisted, and basically, made it clear that he was going to be a bullying pain in the ass until I did it, so I did.  (This story makes me so angry, even two years later.)  The conversation went like this.

“Hi, mom.  I’m not a Christian anymore.  [Ex] thought you might want to know.”

“Uhh… okay… thanks for telling me.  Do you still believe in god?”

“I’m not sure right now.”

“Oh.  Okay.”

We say awkward goodbyes and that was it.

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Talking about my divorce was really hard for me when I first left my ex.  Word got out to some family members before I got a chance to break it to them, and I tried to explain a little bit to my mom, but I was really, really falling apart.  I would talk slowly and with wierd pauses, eventually stopping in the middle of sentences, and finally I would just freeze up completely.  I couldn’t even move.  I managed to get a few words out with my mom, telling her I was unhappy, that it wasn’t a good marriage despite the way it seemed.  Then my younger brother called, and I felt like he was demanding an explanation.  I finally told him, “I’m not ready to talk about it.  We’re not even really that close.”  This really hurt his feelings, despite the fact that it is perfectly true.

So now I’ve been back home, and I’ve been able to chat about it, with varying degrees of detail, to everyone except my brother, since he’s just got into town.  When we have some time just the two of us, I’ll bring it up.  I figure I’ll say something like, “You asked about my divorce before, do you still want to know about it?”  That method worked pretty good with my mom.

It feels good to be able to bring up difficult topics like this.  It even feels brave.

Why couldn’t you be quiet?

April 17, 2009

I was out (at the races!) yesterday and met this guy; he was the sort of person who observes other people and then starts poking to see what will happen. It was all in good fun. He was drinking way more than me, and I can be a good poker, too, so I’m not sure which of us had the upper hand in our little battle of wits. I told him he was like the Sicilian in “The Princess Bride”, which he was really taken aback by, and a lot of people thought my observation was just hilarious (because it was true). He was accurate, too, when he said he wasn’t sure if I was the sort of person to have a Jesus fish or a Darwin fish on my car. “Interesting you should say that,” I said. “I quit Christianity two years ago.” That topic didn’t come up again until later, when I mentioned that I was glad to be out with everyone because otherwise I would be at Bible Study right then.

And this guy was really curious and started asking questions. I briefly told the new guy that I’d quit Christianity because I didn’t believe in God any more, and that I was a part of the local atheist group, and that my husband was an Evangelical Christian. But what confused him was this: “Why not be a quiet atheist?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, why say anything? Why join a group? Why cause all this stress with your husband?”

“Why shouldn’t I say anything?” I asked. “It was kindof a big deal, and I needed to tell my husband. The only other option was to lie, and pretend to be a Christian, and fake praying and worshipping … I couldn’t do that. Besides, it is true that I am an atheist. And it is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m an atheist, and I’m not sorry for it. I’m actually proud of it. Why not be open about it?”

He didn’t know.

At this point my friend says, “Alice is the sort of person who, if you ask her opinion, she’ll gladly give it to you.” This is true. I’m honest and open and see no need to hide something unless it is a confidence I am keeping. Also, I believe the best way to live is to be as informed as possible. Know as much as you can, as well as you can, and you’ll be able to make better decisions. Believing that, it would be hypocritical of me to hide my atheism. I try to explain it to people as well as I can, because then that’s one more person who understands what atheism is and what an atheist looks like and behaves like.

So, for example, while my friends from Bible Study can go on making claims about what non-believers do, they know a non-believer personally, and if they ever want to know more about what secularists are really like, they can talk to me. If they choose not to inform themselves, that’s their choice.

But then, they might fall victim to one of the classic blunders– the most famous of which is, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

Easter

April 6, 2009

I just noticed someone put up a sign just outside my cubical. It is an announcement for an Easter sunrise service. And it’s about a foot away from my “Imagine no religion” sign. I guess they are trying to make it hard for me to imagine. They’ll have to try a little harder.

Atheist communities

December 4, 2008

I went to my local atheist group last night.  We meet once a month and I think I need more than that. 

 

It’s just such a relief to be around people who understand atheism without me having to say anything, or defend anything, or feel uncomfortable when people pray or talk about God.  I was a little uncomfortable during Thanksgiving — though it was mostly a great time — and I really let loose last night.  I think I was a little manic.

 

Plus, this might sound odd, but there’s a quiet guy there I’ve spoken to a little, and something about certain quiet people just makes me want to be loud and wacky.  I think I am that quiet person sometimes, and when I am, I like to sit back and observe people.  So maybe the flip side of that is performing for the quiet people.  🙂

 

But back to communities.  Everyone needs them, atheists included.  So I hope you check out your local atheist/freethinker/non-religious group.  You’ll be glad you did.