Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Have a Little Faith in Faith

I have been thinking a lot lately about the difference between passive and active religion. I feel like over the last year I have undergone so many transformations (most of them positive) and one of them is my approach to religion. After my long ascent from religion to atheism I was a little militaristic. If not vocally, at least inside my head. I didn't hate religion but I hated its symptoms...close mindedness, judgment, moral rigidity and a lack of faith in humankind and what we could create.

Living in Korea has allowed me a different perspective. Religion is passive here. Nobody talks about it and people don't ask and don't care. You could be Buddhist, Christian or Satanic and nobody would really say much. I love that. Passive religion is far less insulting and infuriating, and I'm sure passive atheism is preferable too.

Active religion involves telling everyone what you think of religion. And what they should think of religion. I've been told I'm going to hell (not a threat - I don't believe in it) and that God loves me (not a good tactic - Santa loves me too). People fight wars and blow themselves up to prove how faithful they are and to disprove the other God. The same is true for atheism. Militant atheism is no better than its anti-philosophy, crazy religiosity.

Having said that, I must say that when someone comes up to you and assumes you are Christian and think the same way they do, there is a natural desire that bubbles up. You want to tell them you are atheist and that you are happy that way. (People seem to have a hard time hearing those two words placed side by side). And, when the Christian right is attacking things I hold dear (especially in America), such as critical thought, science, evolution, gay rights and the right to have an abortion, I want to fight back.

Everyone should just chill out. If you don't believe in gay marriage, don't be gay and if you are, don't get married. If you think belief in the afterlife is absurd, make sure you don't believe in it! If you think Christianity is full of holes, contradictions and bold-faced lies...be happy and let everyone else be happy too. And if you think atheists are going to Hell, just be satisfied that you won't meet them there.

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