I've finished The God Delusion, and Letter to a Christian Nation is on my shelf, waiting to be read. I'm hoping to get some Hitchens for my birthday (which is in a little over a week, hint, hint). As far as my atheist reading is concerned, I'm way behind. In fact, I've read more C.S. Lewis than I have "atheist" literature, and while parts of the Narnia books strike me as ridiculously simple and foolish, I rather like The Screwtape Letters. And of course most of the lit. I read is by Christians, because, well, duh.
I've been thinking a lot about my lack of faith recently. As a consequence, I'm thinking about the faith of others a great deal, particularly the faith of my family.
The God Delusion upset me a great deal. I love my wife very much. I can't help but think she's been duped. I came to my atheism as sort of a gut reaction; I started out the way that Christians often describe us: I was angry at god. I thought he was mean, and unfair, and more than a little bit evil, a bigot, a bully, and careless.
The god I was introduced to was vengeful and strict. I was told he loved me, but that he hated virtually everything I did. To me, feeling religious means feeling ashamed. I wasn't particularly interested in a god like that. I decided he could go fuck himself. It was later that I came around to realizing that it was men who had fucked with my mind, and not god, because they made him up to scare me.
I'm not happy with that paragraph, but it'll have to stay because right now I don't have the edit in me.
But now I've a bunch of arguments to support my position, in addition to the fact that the Christian god is a bit of an asshole.
So I'm upset that my wife has been duped. Remarkably, I'm not that upset that I was duped, too. However, what makes it even worse is that she's happy in her delusion, and doesn't want me to disabuse her of it. I can't see it as freeing her, as much as I try. Besides, she'd resent it, and I don't want to get a divorce (I'll bet causing her to doubt her faith is grounds for annulment). So, having read the book, and being left with the desire to reread the book, and bing armed as I am with new arguments against her faith, along with plans to read the bible for even more ammunition, I have no one to convert.
And I don't want to convert anyone.
I know that religion is in many ways harmful. I also don't see us accomplishing much by trying to "convert" (although "deprogramme" might be a better word) others. I want to defend my rights, and I will answer any questions that are asked, and I will stand for no intolerance (of me or anyone else), but I don't wanna fight.
This isn't a game. It's not us versus them. In fact, if the whole religion hullabaloo is a game, I view us unbelievers as sitting on the sidelines, watching with interest, and very probably betting. Christian v. Muslim v. Jew v. Hindu v. Tom Cruise v. every other fucking sect or cult or group circle jerk in the universe, and we don't have to get into the fray, though many of us choose to do, which is also fine by me, and I thank them for helping to simultaneously make things better and worse for infidels.
I don't want to imply that we ought to stay out of the game. In fact, I think we ought to take the position of referees. When the Muslims start yelling about virgins and flying white horses, and saying that the Hindu buffet of divinity is blasphemy and the Hindu starts screaming about being the oldest religion in the world and calling Mohammad a pedophile, an atheist can step in and remind them that they're both very silly, and if they can't play nice, they're both going to get a timeout, and then tell Jesus to get down off that thing before he gets hurt.
I will defend my rights. I will make sure my daughter (and any other kids we're foolish enough to make) how but not what to think. She'll hear the death-cult human sacrifice shit from my wife, and I'll point out that many people believe other things, and I believe they're all wasting their time.
Then I'll teach her how to throw a split-finger fastball, and how to make a really great cinnamon cookie.