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Posts Tagged ‘quotes’
“Against the disease of writing one must take special precautions, since it is a dangerous and contagious disease.”
“Religion is like a pair of shoes: find one that fits for you, but don’t try to make me wear your shoes.” – George Carlin.
“Anybody who wants religion is welcome to it, as far as I’m concerned–I support your right to enjoy it. However, I would appreciate it if you exhibited more respect for the rights of those people who do not wish to share your dogma, rapture, or necrodestination.” – Frank Zappa
“One’s own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one’s Maker and no one else’s.” – Kahlil Gibran
This is something I don’t enjoy writing about. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth; leaves me feeling dirty, like I need a Silkwood shower & a couple of shots of Jameson to burn it all away. In fact, while I was planning on sitting down today to write a blog post, I had a completely different & unrelated topic in mind. Something a bit lighter. Something less aggravating & polarizing.
That’ll have to wait for another day.
I changed my mind this morning because I received an email. I read it & vowed that I would bark about it to the Internet while shaking my fist & using lots of profanity. Because I love you, Internet. I want to share these things with you. Also because bickering with the sender of the offending email is pointless (I don’t speak much to them, anyway) & would be less entertaining for the rest of us.
So… what did it say? What was so annoying that it warranted a rant?
This: “I forgive you.”
This came as a surprise, since I’d never asked to be forgiven. The message went on to say that even though they don’t condone my “life of ungodliness”, they forgive me; that while they do not have a relationship with me since I “have denounced God” & am “not a Christian,” that they still had to forgive me. Because the pastor said so.
A few words jumped into my mind as I read: arrogant. Condescending. Self-righteous. Judgmental. Stupid.
This wasn’t a sincere message. This was an “I don’t really forgive anything” message. A “What you are just chaps my ass & just wanted you to know” message. For a message of forgiveness, it was one of the most insulting, blindside emails anyone’s ever sent to me.
I cannot comprehend the misguided piety that motivates a person to sit down at a computer & compose an email that basically says, “I forgive you for living differently than I do. I judge you. I’m better than you & will not associate with you because of it, but I forgive you.”
Then again, I have hobbies.
Of course, they could never understand the most important thing, here: I am not seeking forgiveness. I don’t hand much of it out, either. Telling someone that you forgive them for something they were never, ever sorry for is one of the most obtuse & audacious things a person can do. Forgiving me for living my own life the way that I see fit? A terse “fuck you” just doesn’t seem appropriate here, even if it might be satisfying.
Perhaps it’s because a false & self-serving message of forgiveness is so pathetic that it doesn’t even merit the wrath or disdain of a “fuck you.” Jumping up on the dinner table & dropping a deuce in my soup is deserving of a “fuck you.” Passing judgment on my life, my belief system (essentially, who & what I am) & sending me sanctimonious bits of bullshit is much worse.
Please don’t misunderstand the meaning of my tirade: this is not a criticism of anyone’s faith. It’s about hiding behind faith as an excuse to be an asshole. If you’re going to be an asshole, be one, but find a better reason & be honest about why you’re being an asshole. Don’t throw heinous insults at someone & then say that it’s because some pastor or other nameless religious authority told you to. That’s a fucking cop-out. It’s cowardly.
Forgiveness is something that you do for yourself, to heal, to move on, or whatever you need to do. In many cases – such as, forgiving someone for being different than you – you can probably just keep that shit to yourself. Or keep it between you & whatever version of God you’ve chosen.
Many of my close friends & relatives are believers of some kind or another. I sincerely don’t care. They don’t judge me. They don’t get all up in my grill about it & I don’t get up in theirs. We have a firm grasp on the basic concept of mutual respect, so there’s no problem. We have millions of other things we can talk about. We can still enjoy conversations with one another, in spite of my godlessness. We care enough about one another to maintain a relationship, to nurture it with civility & laughing about stuff, instead of acting like dicks.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints about what big bullies atheists can be. Maybe there’s some truth to it. It seems reasonable to say that both sides would have their share of asshats. While it’s poor form to send someone a blindside email criticizing their godless existence, it would be equally wrong to spend your free time composing & sending insulting emails to a christian because you’re pissed off about their ignorance of Christopher Hitchens & rejection of science.
And what about my godlessness? What’s the big deal?
I spend a lot of time reading the works of prominent atheists, but I’m not an atheist.
I might burn some sage to clear out the bad vibes, but I’m not a pagan or wiccan.
I’ll meditate & do some yoga, but I’m not a buddhist.
I grew up Methodist, but I’m definitely not a Christian. I’ve never tried to hide this, because I’m not ashamed of it. But I don’t run through the streets shouting about it & rubbing people’s noses in it. The reason being: it isn’t anyone’s goddamn business what I do or do not believe. I don’t have to pick one thing & one thing only to believe. I can do whatever I want. So can you. We all have the right to think, feel & believe as we see fit. However, you do not have the right to bother anyone else with it & use it as a reason to insult or belittle another person, regardless of what the more extreme members of various religious groups & political parties say or do.
I never asked for forgiveness. Because I’m not sorry. I am not sorry for who I am, for the kind of woman I am, or how I live my life. That is not something I would ask to be forgiven for. If you don’t like the way that someone lives their life, then don’t be a part of it. Move on. Do your own thing.
When someone offers forgiveness that wasn’t asked for, it’s false, smug & selfish. They’ve lost the meaning of “Christ-like”. They’ve warped the concept of forgiveness. Worse yet, they could end up as blog fodder for some bigmouth on the Internet.
If you enjoy fighting with people on Facebook, or elsewhere on the Internet in those boring religious debates, that’s fine. But, when you start sending people direct messages disguised as normal correspondence with the sole intention of knocking their lifestyle & inflating your own self-righteous delusions, it’s harassment. It has all the assholery of leaving someone a flaming bag of poo, but without the comedy. When your bigotry drives you to do something like this, when you can’t find anything better to do with your time than to antagonize the people in your life, it’s not forgiveness that’s important.
What is important is something simple. Something basic that you’ve now abandoned: kindness.
“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion.” – Charlotte Brontë