Even when no one is listening…

OMG YOU’RE AN ATHEIST?!

October 11th was National Coming Out Day. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about check out this link.

All the hubbub got me thinking. There are three different groups in America that are currently being publicly harassed; mostly by religious organizations/groups that seek to impose their principles on other human beings often in the form of legislation. I won’t waste your time with examples. If you think long enough you can come to your own conclusions.

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I won’t be stating my moral opinion on these three hot topics because frankly I find it irrelevant.

Instead I would like to ask a question or two…

What gives another person the right to impose their moral values &/or beliefs upon another person &/or community?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’d argue not even the god-sets-the-objective-morals-I – just-enforce-them-mentality. Another question tells us why.

Is something good because god declares it as such or does god declare it as good because it is good?

Hmmmmm. The answer is rather obvious. Objective morality can be independent from a god. Now I’ve heard argumentation from all sides of this debate. A popular one is that there could be no objective truth outside of god, however, I disagree. The more I study, observe and learn the more I see a solid objective reality when it comes to morality- selfless love for one another. The execution of this principle will always be subjective but that does not discredit the objective nature of the principle itself.

I raise these questions because I’ve been under scrutiny for the past two weeks for my comments made in recent blog posts; more so the uproar from “Why I Reject Religion”.  My words have turned into fodder for a fire I didn’t even know I was capable of starting. So for those of you who think you’ve got me all figured out let’s take a look at the facts.

  • A girl named Rachel started a blog over a year ago. A few family and friends started reading it regularly.
  • Rachel wrote often to begin with documenting a month of reading, a month of writing, and a month of gratefulness.
  • The New Year rolled around and Rachel started blogging less frequently; yet more spiritual topics.
  • Rachel’s life got busy and she forgot she even had a blog until things settled down in the summer.
  • Rachel’s friends and family said they missed her blogging and encouraged her to write about the things that mattered to her.
  • Rachel started writing more frequently in September. Slowly subscriptions picked up which meant people actually cared to read what Rachel had to say so naturally Rachel kept writing.
  • Rachel wrote a post called “Why I Reject Religion”.
  • The following day all hell broke loose.

At the time, I never would have imagined the outrageous amount of feedback. Shortly before posting “Why I Reject Religion” I had watched a you tube video where Richard Dawkins reads his “Hate Mail” aloud. I couldn’t believe some of the things people had the audacity to write to this man.

Then I experienced it myself.

And boy have I heard it all.

There’s no need to be pointing fingers and playing the “he said, she said” game. There is one thing I will say though…every negative hurtful comment came from someone claiming the name of Christ as the reason why they had the liberty to say what they had to say (not to discredit the few Christians that were loving in their remarks). Ironically, those closest to me were the ones who didn’t even blink at what I had to say. They had either heard it before or decided to encourage me to keep seeking the truth in life.

In a way, September 29th was my spiritual “Coming Out” day. Only I didn’t intend it to be. For me that night was just another blog post. You can blame it on my naive optimism. Or even my value of honesty. Regardless, I’ve learned a valuable lesson from all of this.

People see the world as they are not as it is.

I quickly found that a lot of assumptions had been made concerning Rachel Margaret Sproles. A lot of values, and beliefs were assigned to my reputation that I have never claimed as part of my essence.    The things I expressed in “Why I Reject Religion” were not new concepts or beliefs to me. My character has not changed. My personality is still intact. My moral values are the same. The only difference between now and two weeks ago is that my voice became louder.  Unfortunately, the voice of reason is often times quieter than the voice of ignorance. Fortunately, it’s not the volume that matters it’s the content of the message.

So if I had known that my voice would cause so much controversy would I have shut up?

No.

Would I have worded things differently?

No.

Would I do it all over again?

Yes. Because now I see the heartache firsthand that religion causes those who are the least bit outside the circle. Several of you claimed I came to my conclusions about religion because of some assumed hurt from the Christian church &/or my family. To me that statement is comical.

Have I been hurt?

Yes, but nothing compares to the hateful words and actions that have been done in the name of Christianity directed towards me these past two weeks. And I am truly grateful 🙂 Strange as it is…because I’ve learned what it’s like to be on the outside. What it’s like for others to assume they know everything about you. What it’s like to tell the vulnerable truth and be told you’re a lying god-hater that’s “fallen away from the faith”. And since we are on THAT subject I’d like to point out that I never claimed to be an atheist. This lie has been propagated by a malicious e-mail sent to everyone and their grandmother. And the way the church has reacted is horrendous making me almost wish I was one.  Just because my understanding of the concept of god is different than your understanding does not make me an Atheist. Like I’ve said before I am still figuring out what I DO believe by figuring out what I DON’T. Currently, I am a 4.5

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I say all this not because I feel a need to defend myself. I truly believe that “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. I say this because, we as humanity, need to see the real life pain and suffering being done in the name of religion, country and God. Not too long ago we were persecuting people with a different skin color. Now we persecute people with a different god, sexual orientation, and political party.

Slightly Over Dramatic Girly Optimist

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