I begin this post, safe in the knowledge that I am going to offend some people.
It is not my intention.
But, just like a coeliac eating cake in an elevator, I should probably apologise in advance.
I speak, of course, about religion.
During my late teens and early twenties I rallied against many things, and when “The Man” and the Howard Government got a break, religion copped it. As I have gotten older I have mellowed, and now accept that I don’t have the right to tell people what they shouldn’t believe in, in much the same way that people don’t have the right to tell me what I should. I have met some deeply cool people who are deeply religious, and they have made me realise that I can’t tar everybody with the same fundamentalist brush. Plus, atheists who try and shove their anti-religious ideation down people’s throats have much in common with Jehovah’s Witnesses. So, colour me “respectful atheist”. Zen atheist. Realistically, none of us know what waits after death. We aren’t, you know, dead. Or reborn. Or omniscient. Or something. We just have an idea. I have an idea, I like my idea. Don’t try and force your idea on me and I won’t poke holes in yours. Deal? Deal.
I should point out that it’s not an easy stick being an atheist. If I were to get terminal cancer tomorrow, I would have nowhere to turn. I don’t believe in a beautiful land filled with naked dead relatives, and I couldn’t find solace in prayer, or the communal nature of church. Atheists live without safety nets. To me, life is shorter because this is the only chance I will get to be CC. No rebirth. No afterlife. No second chance. There’s only blackness for me at the end. It’s confronting. Next time you have a pain in the ass atheist in front of you, remember that. Pat them on the head or something.
I’m sure they’ll love that.
Not condescending at all.
And, to be fair, I also used to tease non religious people. My ex was an atheist as well, and I used to insist on watching HillsongTV just to wind him up. Or, I would sing Kumbaya loudly when we were grocery shopping just to annoy/embarrass him. I know. I’m a painful girlfriend. He had to squirt me with the hose in the produce section just to shut me up. Then I yelled ‘domestic abuse!’ and we may have had to quickly abandon the trolley and shop elsewhere.
Anyway, once upon a time, instead of sending warm wishes to my friends and family at Christmas, I would send out rapid fire text messages: Jesus wasn’t born today. Jesus was a Pisces. Hence the fish metaphor. He was probably a Palestinian, too. If he ever existed, that is. Happy Holidays xx
Speaking of Christmas, I spent it with an ex one year. His mother was deeply religious. She welcomed us, and told us that it was beautiful weather to celebrate the birth of our one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. After hearing this, I may have inwardly retched, which may have lead me to point out that the origins of Christmas Day probably trace back to the pagan tradition of Summer Solstice, not the birth of Jesus.
“I beg your pardon?”
CC: I just read this book which talks about where a lot of the mythology and symbolism in the Christian religion comes from, and-
“Oh, you read it in a book, did you?”
CC: Well, to be fair, you read that he was born in a manger in a book as well. It’s just that my book wasn’t written by people who thought the earth was flat.
Shortly after the turkey sailed at my head, I would learn that soup kitchens are quite depressing places to eat at on Christmas Day.
I used to work with a kid who belonged to Hillsong Church. I could barely contain my glee. Despite mellowing, I am still very anti-Hillsong. I think that if you are going to tell your followers that giving any less than 10% of their gross income is “robbing God”, you can spend the money in better ways than building flashy new auditoriums. Feeding the poor, perhaps? How about giving some of your annual $55 million income to AIDS charities in Africa? Isn’t greed meant to be one of the 7 Deadly Sins? I don’t care how much charity work they force their parishioners to do; they are a crew of capitalist scumfucks ripping off the tax laws for their own benefit.
I used to poke this Hillsong boy like a small child poking a panda at the zoo. Often I would start arguments about nothing, that would lead nowhere, just to wind him up. Such as on Easter Sunday:
CC: Jesus rose from the dead, hey?
CC: How is that even possible?
“He’s the son of God.”
CC: Can I rise from the dead?
CC: Why not?
“You aren’t a boy”
CC: What if I was the daughter of God?
“That doesn’t exist.”
CC: Well, that’s a bit sexist.
“You aren’t, anyway.”
CC: How do you know?
“Because you don’t believe in him”
CC: How do you know that this isn’t a test of your faith? Wasn’t Jesus meant to return to earth at some point?
“You aren’t Jesus!”
CC: See, I’d consider that a failure of the test.
Another time, he laughed at me for believing in evolution. I pointed out that it’s only based on facts. You know what a fact is, right? The irrefutable thing? Not the campfire stories that litter your precious book. He replied, “You believe we come from monkeys? Ha ha ha! Well, I don’t know about you, but I am a man, not a monkey!” I would later discover, when watching HillsongTV, that the unimaginative little fucker had just regurgitated a quote from Brian Houston. At the time, I pointed out that chimps share more DNA with humans than they do with other chimps. He wasn’t convinced. Hmm. Did he know that humans share DNA with bananas, too? Then I offered him a banana. Just to confuse him. Was I calling him a monkey? Or was it forced cannibalism? He never worked it out, and to be honest, neither did I.
Looking back, what I did to this poor kid could be classed as bullying. At the very least I was a condescending bitch. I reasoned that, although he was smaller than me, his idiotic opinions made him slightly larger, if only from the neck up.
Plus, I was working for Gloria Jean’s at the time, which sucked all kinds of ass. They were so stingy that we had to supply our own meat for the Christmas Party BBQ, which was held at a staff member’s house. Someone stole my boyfriend’s steak. He went hungry. And then a fifteen year old acted drunk after drinking non-alcoholic champagne. All in all, it was a very dark time and I don’t blame myself for baiting the odd Christian. Gloria Jean’s is owned by people from Hillsong, incidentally.
At this point in my life, I respect your religious beliefs, whatever they may be. I wouldn’t dream of doing any of these things now. Jesus-fucking Christ, no WAY. I may have embellished these stories…but only to make them funnier. Or myself seem wittier. In real life, I don’t think as quickly as I type. But, “never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn.”
I managed to take the lord’s name in vain AND quote a mass murderer in the same paragraph.
Nice way to round it all off.