I need to be saved. Not by Jesus. By someone with a getaway car and a decent understanding of the scientific method.
Saw a poster on the Philosophy department bulletin board listing reasons why freshmen should become Philosophy majors. One of the reasons were as follows: “prove God exists using logic!” (exclamation point not mine). On that note, please see my open letter below.
Dear Age of Enlightenment,
Sorry everyone forgot you happened.
That’s a joke. I’m not learning anything. Except, perhaps, that if one ever comes across a bible verse that seems somehow nonsensical, inhumane or downright cruel, it’s just a matter of “translation difficulties” or not seeing the “broader context”.
The metaphorical hoops these people go through to keep the illusion that the bible is perfect never cease to impress me.
Overheard on campus:
“Is it a sin to illegally download Christian music?”
“Mitt Romney is a hot piece of bacon.”
“The worst part about the whole Irish abortion thing is she won’t even go to heaven.”
“JESUS WAS A JEW???”
After surviving another semester of terrifying nonsense I find myself, by luck, able to spend winter break in Northern Europe.
I’m telling you, It’s atheist paradise. Sure, there are religious people. But you wouldn’t really know it. In spite of the fact that almost everyone is celebrating Christmas, there’s very little mention of God or Jesus (and when it does occur, it’s kind of in the spirit of “yeah-whatever-that’s-the-cultural-background-let’s-all-just-enjoy-the-time-off-from-work.)
No politicians say “God Bless [insert country]” in their speeches, and if they were to try to enact legislation based on the bible, they wouldn’t face opposition so much as puzzled looks of “Huh. So, that guy just went crazy and sent his career down the drain.”
And wouldn’t you know it, people raise their children to be moral, caring and respectful. Without God.
I’ve had some pretty awesome discussions about philosophy since coming here. The ability to talk about reality, on reality’s terms, is my favorite thing about being in Europe. It’s also what makes me the most sad, because I can compare it to America.
Religious people seem to think they aren’t contributing to the horrors caused by religion so long as they’re not in the demographics molesting children or flying planes into buildings. I beg to differ. The fact that you insist upon the supernatural as an answer to big questions means there is one less person out there who can contribute to answering those questions within the reality we actually live in.
I can’t stop you if you insist upon playing your part in the way religion hinders and slows down knowledge. But you can at least leave the imaginary halo at home.
I didn’t get it when people cried after Steve Jobs died. It’s not as if they knew him. Now I get it. The idea that you can feel really heartbroken about the death of someone you never even met.
Christopher Hitchens was the one I turned to whenever the nonsense at Christian college got to be too much. Reading one of his books or watching a video clip of a particularly good Hitchens argument, or “Hitch Slap”, was more than enough to make me feel as if things weren’t all that hopeless. Being able to laugh at his take on religion, in the place I am in, was such a relief.
Now he’s gone. And I can’t help but feel as if the world is a bit bleaker.
A reader emailed me about his experience as an atheist at Colorado Christian University in Denver. It made me realize it could be worse. If anyone reading this is an atheist at another Christian college, I’d love to hear from you.
“Well I didn’t stay there long. Only about two weeks. After that I couldn’t do it. It was a more fundamentalist one. Very conservative. They made you sign purity contracts and all that jazz. I understand at your college people sleep around all the time? Well, I didn’t stay for long but I would be surprised if many of these people were sleeping around. They were all very afraid of their sexuality I think. You would get removed from the college if they found out. We were required to go to brainwashing sessi–um…I mean chapel, twice a week. Listening to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens really inspired me to come out of the closet about my Atheism. I actually first came out of the closet about it while I was there. I knew that I had to leave when I went to one of my first classes on the NT, and they told me that if I was reading the Bible from any other perspective other than it was the “word of God” that I was wrong. I couldn’t take that sort of intellectual dishonesty so I decided I wanted a real education and that I was leaving in three days and came out. Man, from that moment on everyone wanted to tell me about the wonders of Jesus Christ. I could barely get a moment alone. It’s hard debating seven or eight fundamentalists at a time. Just combating all the shit that one says is more than enough to keep a person busy. Now I am just living in KC. Have a hard time with the parents often and the rest of my family is even worse, but I am getting by. I am just trying to dismantle religion now one intelligent conversation at a time.”
Christians say the darndest things. When they’re in college, it’s ever darnder (darnderer? darndester?)
A small selection from this week:
“The only true way to celebrate Thanksgiving is going to someone’s house and refusing to leave. Like with the Native Americans. Haha. Sorry, I stole that joke from television.”
“Are those Toms? I love Toms. They answer the question ‘What Would Jesus Wear?’”
“There’s no conclusive evidence that environmental changes are man-made. Really. Really.”
“My dad said he was kind of a slut when he went to Christian college. Like, TMI, Dad.”
“Bitch, that’s my Turkey Tom.”
Had to go to a Thanksgiving church service. What I was thankful for? Getting out. But then again, I got to experience this:
The pastor asked people to stand up and say what they were grateful for. It started out with the usual round of “My mom’s cancer/diabetes/cucumber allergy got cured all thanks to God. The fact that she got sick to begin with? Well, that was something that just happened.” What came next, however, was like a little train of gold nuggets.
1. “I work for T-Mobile and let me tell you, I’m not the employee of the year. But yesterday I got a promotion! That’s God, man.”
2. “I had some trouble with my Netflix account this morning, when all of a sudden, it just worked. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.” (this is getting filed under “Christianity: sub-category: white people problems.”)
3. “I’m unemployed and I have six children. A couple of weeks ago, a company called me saying they were going to take care of all my bills for a low fee. Praise Jesus!” (quick comment: Even the pastor had a subdued expression of “Um. That’s probably a fraud.”)
On cue, everyone started spastically dancing to the music. A guy who looked like O. J. Simpson’s older, scarier brother almost knocked me over while swinging his arms around. I asked God to reveal himself to me. He must have had his mouth too full of Turkey, or something.
Christian college: 8. Atheist girl: 0.