Gum in My Hair

An embarrassingly honest blog

Tolerance, Bitches. Try it. May 4, 2012

Filed under: Shut Your Mouth! — dulcedementia @ 11:21 am
Tags: , ,

Well, here it is. I’m writing again. No promises that it’ll be continuous. I’m not sure that I’ll keep it up. I just wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind for a while. In one word, it’s tolerance. But, you know, that word is so weighted that, of course, you can’t say tolerance without explaining yourself.


I’m a pretty open-minded broad. Yeah, I’m straight, but I could give two fucks about what you like to put where on your body. I mean, if ear sex is your thing, do it to it, bro. Just don’t come crying to me when you get a case of swimmer’s ear.

Damn, that’s one sexy ear.



I use sexual orientation as an example because, well, that’s what’s in the news these days. Hatred, bullying, acceptance, tolerance, love. It runs the spectrum and I like to think that I’m on the love side of it all. I mean, my best friend in the world is a vegetarian, but you don’t see me ordering a big plate of wings when we’re out and then just menacingly eating each one while looking her dead in the eye. I eat my delicious, delicious meat and she doesn’t.


But there’s one divide recently that’s had me thinking a lot about acceptance lately and that is religion versus atheism.


Hey! Yeah, you. I just saw you roll your eyes at me. Yes I’m talking about this shit again. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.


Anyway, it’s a pretty weird divide for me, the whole religion (OK, more Christianity than anything else, since that’s what I’m most familiar with) and atheism thing. On the one hand, you’ve got people trying to convert you to religion to “save” you from an afterlife in hell. And a lot of these people are wonderful and sincere in their love. On the other, you have people that are trying to “save” you from a life spent as a slave to dogmatic teachings and faith. And a lot of these people are sincere as well. But there are also a lot of douchebags on both sides of the playing field here.


Do I get angry? Fuck yeah I get angry. I get angry at conservative Christians touting pseudo-science to prove a point. Or, you know, straight up denying science. It makes me bristle. I want to fight back. I want to yell louder than them. I want to “set them straight” about religion.


Then I say to myself, “Kelly, in with the rainbow, out with the storm.”


I calm down and I remember my roots. I was raised the daughter of a pastor, meaning I was brought up in a Christian family. I spent my life surrounded by Christians until I was 18. When I left home, I spent about 10 years reevaluating what I believed and I finally came to the conclusion that I do not believe there is a god in this or any other universe. Because of this decision, I’ve found my life to have much more meaning and I enjoy every day I’m alive because I don’t get a second life.


Here’s the thing. People might say that I’m a good person because I grew up in a good, Christian home. I call bullshit on that. I’m a good person, because I have amazing parents who taught me to think for myself and be kind to everyone around me (Have you seen the meanies that some “Christian” homes can produce?). Thing is, if you’re a good person, you’re a good person. You can use religion (being Christ-like) or non-religion (making sure everyone gets a chance at this life) to back up why you are that way, but the fact of the matter is, I think that part of our lives has VERY little to do with how we turn out.


I’ll get back to my point now. Tolerance.


This Easter, I went to my father’s Easter service at his new church (btw, if you are spiritual in the Christianish way, I highly recommend it. They served mimosas.) because I thought it would be a good chance to spend time with my family. However, I was late, so I sat in the balcony alone and just sort of watched. This was the first time I’d been at a church service in probably 5 years. It felt really uncomfortable, but miraculously, I didn’t catch on fire and my skin didn’t melt. When I relaxed a little, you know what I saw? A lot of love. You know why? Because my pops is a tolerant, loving guy who wanted a church that was open and loving of anyone who wanted to come and do their god thing. So, that’s the kind of congregation he has.


This is Christ’s, well, Christ’s orange juice and champagne. I’m too lazy to try and make a religious mimosa joke.


And I get it.


I get why people want to believe in a god. I’m not going to list them all out here, because, for some reason that seems like it would be really fucking trite. But I get it. Just like I made a conscious decision half a decade ago to reject religion and spirituality for my own reasons, everyone there made their own decision to love god and the bible and follow Christ’s teachings. Who the fuck am I to tell them that they aren’t allowed to be their own, free thinking person? If Christ is what they need, then Christ is what they need and I’m not going to judge a single hair on their head for that, because, you know what; I know exactly how they feel. I just feel it about the exact opposite thing.


It’s called empathy, people. That whole “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” idea. I highly recommend you try it if you have not already. You’ll find that things on the other side make more sense and your urge to fight the beliefs that are directly opposed to yours suddenly isn’t quite as strong.



Be open. Be respectful. Give love. Be tolerant and accepting. You’d be amazed at what you get back most of the time.


Ugh, I sound like a fucking hippie.

 

I’m an Atheist, Could You Please Take Me Seriously October 11, 2010

Filed under: Shut Your Mouth! — dulcedementia @ 2:07 pm
Tags: , ,

Anyone who’s known me over the course of my life has known that I have wrestled with religion, spirituality and the idea of a higher being for a lot of my life.


Growing up in a Calvinist Church as the oldest child of the pastor, I was surrounded by religion. I spent K-6th grade in a private Christian School and lived next door to the church until I was about 15 or so.


Magic!

So yeah, I didn’t really like religion by the time I graduated from high school. I went off to Indiana for college and I don’t think I set foot in a church other than Christmas and Easter services when I was back home. Those three years, I barely so much as thought about religion.


When I went off to live in Peru for a while, I was surrounded by a new religion: Catholicism. When I would take trips up into the Andes, I became fascinated with how the Incan culture had become intertwined with Catholicism (similar to the way Voodoo incorporated it). Thus began my love affair with my hatred of religion.


When I went back to school, I chose to minor in Religious Studies and wrote my final thesis on “The Mallification of the Church.” Yeah, I totally made up a word for the title of my thesis. I rock.


Anyway, throughout this time, I maintained that I was a spiritual person, but I chose no religion and claimed no doctrine as my own. I was agnostic.


But a couple years ago, I started thinking about why I was agnostic. I mean, I didn’t really believe in one particular god, per se, and if I didn’t believe in any dogma or in any god, was there really a point in claiming I was even spiritual? I mean, seriously, the ONLY reason I even thought there may be a higher power was Descartes’ “Unmoved Mover” philosophy (at least, I think it was Descartes, it’s been a while since I looked it up).


About two years ago, I decided that I am an atheist. I had already let go of all religious notions, so it was not that difficult for me to come to the conclusion that there is no higher being.


However, I’m not a militant atheist. I respect the fact that many people feel the need to believe in a higher power and that brings them great comfort and I still bow my head at my pop’s house when we pray before a meal out of respect. But I expect the same respect in return, and I feel as though I don’t get it a lot of time.


I tell people I’m an atheist and some wrinkle their noses (these are folks who are pretty much agnostic too). Others tell me, “Oh, you’ll grow out of it.”


I usually yell something about string theory, but I'm kinky like that.

What part of my decision not to believe in a god makes you think that I’m going to change my mind just because you think I should? I mean, my choice involves no faith. My choice doesn’t involve believing in fairly tales and magic. How am I the one who’s making a weird decision?


And for those of you who think I became an atheist because I was too lazy to follow a religion, you are most definitely wrong. There are a lot of things made much easier through religion and spirituality. Death, for example, is a doosey if you don’t believe in a god, heaven, hell or some form of reincarnation. Yeah. I’m pretty sure that when we die, that’s it. We dead.


You should know, too, I’m not afraid of death. When it comes, it comes and I accept it. When I die, I won’t know I’m dead. There’s nothing scary in that.


Also, just because I’m not spiritual doesn’t mean that I can’t marvel in the beauty of everything around me. I would argue that it makes the mundane all the more amazing. Think of how many years of evolution and mutations it took before all those dandelions became hearty enough to take over your lawn. And they’re still evolving! It blows my mind. I find beauty in the expansiveness of our universe and am frequently overwhelmed by the complexity of life all around us.


Maybe people think it odd that I live by a code of morals and I am a genuinely decent person even though I have no book to tell me the best way to live my life. They think that since I’m a kind, compassionate person, I have to have a little bit of the “spirit” in me. Nope. I chose to live my life as a good human being all by myself. In fact, I would venture to guess that I do a better job of it than many people that call themselves Christians.


So when I tell you that I’m an atheist, please don’t snicker and give me a condescending look like I picked atheism because it was the “cool” thing to do for now. I put a lot of thought into this decision. However, please, feel free to engage me in discussion or even debate. Just don’t get mean about it.


I mean, would Jesus be a dick about it?

 

 
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