By one definition, I am what is called an Atheist. I tell people that is what I am. An Atheist. But in my heart, and in my mind, I am more than that. I’m an Anti-Theist. All gods are harmful. All religions, in the end, are harmful, in one way or another. (You can read a bit about that here.)
I wrote in my journal in 2009:
I have fallen even further into the abyss that is anti religion. In my mind, I cannot wrestle with it any longer, but must admit to myself that being an Atheist is no longer who I am. I have fought against this for a long time. My compassion for people, and their needs made their use of god/religion acceptable. I used to think that “religion” was okay. If you want a god and religion in your life, go ahead. Have at it. Your choice. It is my choice to not to. But now, I can hardly be tolerant. I can hardly choke the antipathy I feel back.
That paragraph was only the tip of the iceberg. I came back to this entry (and the ones that followed), in my journal 100 times. It pushed me out of complacency, and in the last few years, has really helped me to define myself in the quest for logic, reason and understanding.
My own personal quest was pushed a bit faster than I anticipated. My motto has always been “Question Everything”, and I taught this well to my son. He has a million questions, and in order to even begin to answer them, I had to delve deeper than I had ever before into all sorts of subjects. He and I don’t have short Q&A sessions. Instead, we have these long – 4-5 hours sometimes – conversations.
I try not to guide the discussions, but allow him to wander through his own mind and naturally ask or discuss a thought. When you get to have this type of interaction with your own child, it is.. just amazing. And scary. And let me tell you something — you have to know what the hell you are talking about, because his questions are almost always on point, and well thought out. Because of this, I began really reading everything I could get my hands on about philosophy, religion, evolution, biology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, every other fucking ology there is.
Along the way, in 2009 I found this voice, in this book that blew my mind. He said everything I thought, but didn’t know how to say.
Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important. Where once it used to be able, by its total command of a worldview, to prevent the emergence of rivals, it can now only impede and retard—or try to turn back—the measurable advances that we have made.
Sometimes, true, it will artfully concede them. But this is to offer itself the choice between irrelevance and obstruction, impotence or outright reaction, and, given this choice, it is programmed to select the worse of the two.
Meanwhile, confronted with undreamed-of vistas inside our own evolving cortex, in the farthest reaches of the known universe, and in proteins and acids which constitute our nature, religion offers either annihilation in the name of god, or else the false promise that if we take a knife to our foreskins, or pray in the right direction, or ingest pieces of wafer, we shall be “saved.”
And another, one of my favorite quotes:
Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.
It was christmas time, and my boyfriend and I were having some issues and hadn’t really spoken in a few weeks. I picked up this book to bury my thoughts in, instead of the vodka I really wanted :D. And there it was, plain as day. These thoughts, words painted on the page, delivered so eloquently, were exactly how I felt, exactly what I thought, and exactly what I needed. Someone in the fucking world I live in actually fucking got it and knew how to say it.
I think I read the book 5 times that week. I recall feeling like somebody had just given me CPR, because I could finally breathe.
If you know me at all, you’ll I’m talking about Hitch. Christopher Hitchens. The book is “God is not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything”. And it changed my life dramatically. He became one of my favorite people in this
world. I watched his debates, read his books, read his articles, saw his interviews, watched his progression, his take-backs, enjoyed his “HitchSlaps”, got way too excited when he, Dawkins, Dennett and Harris got together, and finally, watched him succumb to cancer. He died too fucking soon.
I think his death, just this past December 2011, really sparked this fire I feel inside me. Part of this feeling is still mourning for this man I never knew, who spoke for me, gave me a voice, as well as millions of others. Part of this feeling is that, with his death, his voice was silenced. And yet what he stood for, what he taught us, what argued for, what he debated for, what he lived for, and what he wrote for, cannot be stopped.
In the last few years, I’ve taken my voice out of the journal, and into the public forum. My voice will never be as loud as his was. My voice will be a tiny one, in the midst of a roar. Insignificant, really. And yet, because of Hitch, I cannot allow my voice be silent. It will take 1000 people, putting their voices out there to be heard, to even begin to measure up him.
I’m a fangirl.
I’m an Anti-Theist.
I’m a voice.
And dammit it, I’m glad for it.