Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank-you, Gracias, Merci, Danke, 谢谢, شكرا , спасибо, , Obrigado, ありがとう, אַ דאַנק

The holiday season begins the time of year where post after post, story after story, is about how “the Atheist” deals with certain religious situations that occur with each tradition. The past weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve been bombarded with every typical, “How the Atheist can cope” story on my news feed; from large news providers like The Huffington Post to personal blogs like The Friendly Atheist.  Reading all of these stories has made me realize and understand what I am really thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2011.
With all the “givens” aside that I am obviously “thankful” for: my husband, my children, our health and our happy home, friends and family, yadda yadda yadda, it has become glaringly apparent that I should emphasize one very special “thank-you”.
So here goes:
This Thanksgiving (and hopefully I am able to retroact this to all past Thanksgivings) I am especially thankful to my parents, Diana and Marcello, who always let me and my brother “be”.  I mean this in the sense that we grew up always being encouraged and supported into finding our own way, whether we fucked up royally or soared with achievement.  My parents never constrained us into a specific “you have to do this this way” or “you have to be this person” and I am quite sure that, after the standards ups and downs of “life”, they turned out some really cool kids. Not to brag, but I think my brother and I are some pretty cool cats.
So when I read these articles during the holidays about how an Atheist should “cope” or speak with fellow Atheists who have to hide who they are at the holiday dinner table, I just realize how lucky my brother and I have it.  We’ve never had to hide anything from our folks (which sometimes results in some pretty TMI conversations).  We’ve never been criticized for who we are or what we believe (or don’t believe).  Sure, both mom and dad are Atheists too, which helps a lot in the whole “non-judgmental” department, but I have a feeling if either my brother or I came home one day as evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews, my parents would be ok with it. Sure, they’d be a little confused, but aren’t children supposed to confuse their parents to begin with?
So thank-you, mommy and papinos, for letting us “be”.  I know that I will instill those same sentiments in my children so that they may become whoever they wish to be without fear or repercussions.
Now get over here and stuff your faces.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Tit-for-Tat You Don’t Want to Play

So I guess by now, everyone has heard about the Atheist group in Orange County that put up a billboard that misquoted Thomas Jefferson.  This is the same group that thought it would be “informative” and “eye-opening” to rip out Bible pages off of a pier.  In other words, at least to me, these are the types of Atheists that I tend to say, “I’m not with them”.  I mean, as Atheists, we are constantly  being scrutinized and criticized for being these godless heathens with no possible way of having or understanding morality without a sky daddy and book of rules written by primitive goat herders telling us how to live.  I have often heard the random theist wonder out loud how I am not running around murdering, raping, and pillaging, if I don’t believe there is a god to “punish” me for those actions and that, and this is where it gets scary, if they knew there was no god, they don’t know what would stop them.  Seriously.  The only thing stopping you from being a murderer is the idea that there is an invisible sky fairy keeping you in line?  And I’m the immoral, unethical, baby eater?
Anyhow, I digress. 
So basically, we have this O.C. Atheist group that gets their billboard wrong.  Oh, well, egg on your face, do a better job next time, right?  Wrong.  Apparently, this mistake the group made is somehow supposed to discredit all of Atheism and make us the laughing stock of the world.  Really.  Really?  Honestly, if one more person comes up to me with a smirk on their face saying, “Oh hey, you’re an atheist right, did you hear about that group that got the Jefferson quote wrong” <snicker snicker>. As though now I’m supposed to say something, “You’re right, we’re all buffoons!  How silly of me not to believe that a woman who was a virgin got pregnant by a ghost who then became this guy who got nailed to a cross by his father but then came back to life three days later and then flew up to the sky to be with his dad and the ghost who are really all the same thing and then we have Christmas.”
I mean, do you really want to play tit-for-tat with the whole theist vs. atheist and “making stupid mistakes” thing?
Let’s do a little breakdown here:
Theist “whoopsies”:

Statistics from A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States (2004)

  • US clerics (priests, deacons, bishops, etc.) accused of abuse from 1950-2002: 4,392.
    About 4% of the 109,694 serving during those 52 years.
  • Individuals making accusations: 10,667.
  • Victims' ages: 5.8% under 7; 16% ages 8-10; 50.9% ages 11-14; 27.3% ages 15-17.
  • Victims' gender: 81% male, 19% female
  • Duration of abuse: Among victims, 38.4% said all incidents occurred within one year; 21.8% said one to two years; 28%, two to four years; 11.8% longer.
  • Victims per priest: 55.7% with one alleged victim; 26.9% with two or three; 13.9% with four to nine; 3.5% with 10 or more (these 149 priests caused 27% of allegations).
  • Abuse locations: 40.9% at priest's residence; 16.3% in church; 42.8% elsewhere.
  • Known cost to dioceses and religious orders: $572,507,094 (does not include the $85 million Boston settlement and other expenses after research was concluded). (Hartford Courant, 2/27/04)

I could go on, but this is just a half-hour show……

Atheist “whoopsies”:

Not really much of a comparison no?  And before someone starts with their “Hitler was an atheist” bullshit or “Stalin and Mao were atheists and killed millions of people, so there!” argument, let me just say Number One: No, he wasn’t and Number two, "Atheism itself has never motivated, excused or caused any deaths. Atheism is just the personal statement that one does not believe in god or gods. Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao became a religion. Ideology became a matter of faith in these instances." (quoted from The Athefist)
So, I’ll gladly accept a misquoted billboard by a group of over zealous Atheists any day.  I may not agree with their methods, but faced with the alternative, I think I’m going to be just fine.