I thought about that throughout the day as I weeded, planted and otherwise beautified my trashy old brick patio. A few thoughts came to mind that were hardly groundbreaking, but did cause my rambling mind to consider a few out of my ken types of ideas.
Personally, I cannot lay claim to atheism. My version of a divine being is one that is not simply the paternal figure, but rather one that also encompasses the maternal. Why else do we refer to Mother Nature, if not as the feminine aspect of the divinity? But I also don't see the divinity as some individual up on a cloud somewhere. The spark of the divine resides in all creatures, human and otherwise. The single exceptions, in my view, are daylily-chomping deer and groundhogs.
That said, the idea the man put forward was that in times of crisis, he does not believe that anyone does not offer up a prayer to his god.
If a person doesn't believe in his god or anyone's god, then that person has no need of sending a prayer in that direction. That person is more likely to be hoping that the doctor performing surgery, the EMT applying CPR or the police officer facing down a gun-wielding nut has the best possible training and will be using all his or her skills to their best advantage. The idea of applying to a religious construct outside of one's own beliefs for support isn't likely to be a part of that individual's arsenal.
We really were not founded as a strictly Christian nation, in spite of the Bible thumpers' loudest claims. (Those are people who refuse to accept written history, so you just have to ignore the poor sods and hope they leave you alone.) This gives us all the government-given right to explore religious thought, or not. For the people who give up on the concept of a god, there is often a set of mitigating circumstances that have led them to that pathway. The overriding question for all of us is this:
Is anyone else's religion really any of our business?
I would argue that it is not, given the rights granted us in the United States Constitution, not to mention just those that constitute good manners.
That said, why is this guy even given a forum in the newspaper to blather on about his inability to accept the fact that people who claim to be atheists honestly do not offer up prayers? What the heck does anyone care about that guy's opinions? And why would the opinion page editors even bother with such drivel?
In my own religious journey, I rejected the trinity long before I had any notion of Unitarianism. Poor old Reverend Kleffmann was conducting Saturday catechism classes at Trinity United Church of Christ, still using the box of antique Evangelical and Reformed Church catechism books. (God forbid those tight-fisted Krauts on the church board would ever let loose of a few sheckels to buy UCC materials!) Anyway, our job was to memorize the answers to doctrinal questions. My mother was making me attend and I therefore saw no reason to put forth any effort.
One Satuday morning, he called on me to recite something that had to do with Holy Ghost and I responded, "I don't know. I don't believe in ghosts." My classmates gave me dirty looks and Reverend Kleffmann's bald head smacked down on the table. It's a wonder he didn't smash his glasses. Somehow or another, I was confirmed on Palm Sunday and allowed to take communion on Easter. (They used Mogen David, just in case you wondered if we were juicers or winos.)
And that, my friends, was really the end of religion for me. I didn't revisit the idea again until my first run of graduate school when I would attend church periodically with a UU minister friend, who for some reason unknown to me, never took me to a UU church in spite of his assertion (privately, I guess) that I was a Unitarian. A Presbyterian minister boss later told his church board that I (a secretary to a pair of the staff ministers) was not a Christian. I didn't agree with him.
On the other hand, when I gave it some thought, I realized he was absolutely correct. But it surely did not make me an atheist.
So here it is: the paper publishes junk like this man's disbelief that anyone is truly an atheist. People like me wish they would quit allowing these pointless religious discussions on the opinion page. Christian friends think it is okay to grab my hands and force me to go along with their table blessings (damn, but that is so utterly rude of them!). And unless confronted with these types of behavior from time to time, people like me pretty much don't think too much about religion - at least not the way the rest of the folks appear to.
On a beautiful Sunday like today, my thoughts don't turn to church as much as they do to feeling a great deal of gratitude at being alive to enjoy the day and to love those around me. Rather than concern myself with the beliefs of others, which is none of my damn business, I would much rather be happy that people are able to find solace in times of sorrow through whatever means bring them the most comfort. As humans, we have a lot of means available to us. The real crime is in not tapping into that.
Wishing all of you readers the best of June Sundays...Happy Fathers Day to the dads, and......
Happy Birthday, Scott T. Mouse! Auntie, Unc, Charlie and Simon all love you!