Today I had a tremendous epiphany and am no longer an atheist. Startling, I know. I've dedicated myself to combating religion for so long that I cannot remember when I first took up the cause, but all things must end. For those who know me this will come as a bit of a shock, but read on and I think you will begin to understand my reasoning.
I started while I was debating one of my Christian friends, we had been going at it for about an hour and finally she came right out and said that "God had written the bible".
I tried to sidestep it, told her that it there was clear historical precedent for multiple authors of the book and centuries of cross pollination of the Bible's stories with other period myths had been recorded. But she would have none of it, it wasn't even enough to argue that the bible was divinely inspired, "God himself had written it."
I started to laugh. It was like something had snapped in my chest, the smirk became a chuckle, became a laugh, became a guffaw, became a shout, became a howl. Harder and harder until I could barely breathe, just sat across from her nearly moved to tears by the escalating noise of my own laughter.
God writes books? This was the last straw, the stupid statement that epitomized religious dogma. God WRITES BOOKS?! Does he also direct films? Does God code software or post tweets? The creator of the universe, who hurls stars into icy eternity and spins the miracle of DNA from mere willpower, writes a single book then gives it to dirt farming, pig-fucking, illiterate peasants 3,000 years ago. Not the Chinese, Egyptians, Japanese, Russians, Aztecs, Greeks... stone age goat-farmers in the poorest most violent region of the middle east.
I've sometimes wondered how good a book written by the creator of all things would actually be.
I've read the bible, and let me tell you, had God been the author it would have had more useful things to say. Moreover, GOD MAKES SHAKESPEARE A BETTER WRITER THAN HIMSELF.
No, no, no, no...
It was too foolish, to narrow minded, too silly.
Gone were all my evasions, all my practiced flourishes of speech and reason, all my cloak and dagger arguments. Gone, Gone, Gone.
It was like a curtain had been swept away, and there was suddenly no protection between me and the full stupidity of her ideas. For me, it was like Frodo first glimpsing the eye of Sauron. A huge, angry, rippling ball of foolishness that towered over me, a coiled web of terrible logic that groaned and whispered fallacies and fickle desires.
I was still laughing when I realized what I had done, the mistakes I had made by treating religion differently than any other stupidity. I had spent YEARS of my life not laughing at it. Trying to talk people into seeing just a little bit more perspective concerning their place in the world. I had oriented my identity in opposition to true stupidity, called myself an "atheist" hoping to make those who hold religious beliefs realize I stood against them. I had spent so much time and energy taking these ideas seriously by fighting them on equal footing.
But now I see. If a man walks up to you and says that he believes that people are powered by AA batteries, or that Lemmings are suicidal, or that winged horses exist, or that a dead man is coming back to earth to punish those who aren't expecting him to, YOU MUST REACT IN THE SAME WAY TO ALL OF THESE IDEAS.
Laugh. Laugh harder and harder until your belly contorts, and your eyes tear-up, and you feel like you might pee yourself. These are after all stupid ideas. All of them. Equally stupid and worthy of mockery.
BUT... I have never felt the need to call myself a "Doesn'tbelieveinWingedHorses-ist"or attend seminars on "LemmingsWannaLive-ism" so why the hell am I an Atheist?
There is no title or movement for people who don't believe in astrology, or alchemy, or racism. Why is there a group for people who don't believe in God? Why does there need to be? In the future I hope that the idea of being an atheist will be as preposterous as the idea of being an "Anti-Alchemist"is now. Nobody needs to say it, people know better.
Bad ideas like religion are never defeated by becoming their inverse, that kind of opposition only lends them power.
From here on out I am no longer an atheist... I am just a man who seeks to destroy ignorance and bad ideas wherever I find them. Religion is no better or worse, it's just another bad idea. Laugh at these people and sooner or later they will realize that they are not warring for their cause with non-believes, we are mocking their stupidity and moving on.