“Because I don’t want to think about it”.

Posted: January 4, 2016 in Atheism as I live it.
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These words “because I don’t want to think about it” will stay with me for a long time. An acquaintance of mine spoke them to me in regard to her deciding to become christian and they were I think the end of a potential friendship. Not on their own, but they were the key reason for the rest of the conversation which included all of the usual tag lines.

I should explain that this person is Chinese and moved to Australia less than 2 years ago. Something that concerns me about the Chinese is how susceptible to religion they are because of communism and culture. This person was not an educated atheist or philosophy veteran crossing over to religion. This person was a clean slate and religion is winning over my counter perspective and reasoning (it’s local, I’m not, I have the distance disadvantage).

I will have to explain the Chinese before going on to explain the “clean slate”.

The Chinese learn of religion in school as somewhat of a joke on western society. It is, I can’t deny it but this learning is not a true comparative religion course or philosophy course which would serve better to instil the communist doctrine of antitheism. They are simply taught it exists. What they learn gives them no tools with which to refute or fend off the deceptions used by religion to talk hold of and control people.

This goes one step further because the Chinese have not actually done away with religion. Maybe Mao didn’t understand how much buddhism and ancestor worship were a part of his own life being raised buddhist. Maybe he did and like all the wisest and worst political leaders used religion to his benefit. The fact remains that religion is a part of Chinese society. Chinese pseudo medicine is rife through China with hospitals even having traditional medicine wings. Ancestor worship and fending off spirits is considered “culture” with shops letting of crackers before opening for the day to fend off evil. New years celebrations for one also include crackers and other ancestor worship activities. The Chinese are religious and practice religion in more ways than they know, they simply see it as culture, not unlike cultural Christians in the west.

When western religion goes to China with its well practised deceptions the Chinese are unready for it, they consider it without the Firewall we in the west have. We in the west all have a firewall against religion. The religious have a firewall against other religions and we atheists have a firewall against all religion. We grow up with the tools to defend against religion because we see it or are taught it all our lives. This is simply not a part of Chinese culture. Worse Chinese culture is all about respect for the past and your elders. Religion plays on this respect in their culture and it allows christianity to do the same.

So this Chinese person came to Australia. I guess it put her in more danger.

She is an at home mother in a new country and needed social outlets. She also wanted to improve her English and get out of the house. Not problems for her in China. We all need things to do and in China everything and everywhere is so much more. More everything. We live a quiet life in Australia, very different even without the language and new country barriers. Anyway she found a church near her offered English for new Australians (an easy target group but I have also wondered if its one of the government funded service) so she made use of their services. From there she became socially involved, she went to bible classes, went along to some of their community outreach and from there she has decided to become christian (I’ve seen the process before).

Her reasoning for deciding to become christian really bother me but are common enough and nothing new to me, the same mindless drivel I have heard all my life. “I want there to be a god”. Well sure, couldn’t we all occasionally do with an all loving something, wouldn’t that be sweet? But that is not the christian god, that version of their god is the lie sold to children and the unwary (this person can’t claim to be entirely unwary with me in her other ear). Even so the god she has settled with is the simplistic loving one used to get you in so they can keep you in with hell fire and brimstone. This is actually a problem for our friendship because it is too simplistic and leads to simplistic thinking. People at this level start to think hell is a serious problem and I find nothing in my mind is more insulting than someone thinking you need to burn in hell for not believing in their imaginary friend. Okay this is less about me, I don’t believe in your friend, its really no skin off my nose. The real problem is that with its heaven and hell this religion fucks with your real world relationships. For someone struggling with relationships this isn’t what you want added to your problems. For some reason you will now look at otherwise good people and your family and think they will burn. You will think they need to be saved, you know they need your imaginary friend and you can’t just see them as people who just need you. How is this added concern helping you to love? How is this improving your mindset? You know what, a loving thing would be great but I don’t want it to be the god you’ve chosen. Why would you?

Her next line of “rationality” was “I don’t want to think about it”. This is just fucked up. You did think about it. Someone lied to you that accepting belief wasn’t “thinking”. They gave you a variation of one the most simplistic theological philosophies of all time, pascals wager, and you only gave it the consideration they told you to give it. “Isn’t it better to believe than not?” Well no, god comes with consequences, not believing doesn’t. This wager begs additional questions you chose not to consider, you though but you stopped short. What god is the right god? What proof did they give you and did you consider the proof of other gods? If you really didn’t want to think about gods, why didn’t you remain atheist? We think about gods far less than religious folk (even when we blog about theism). I don’t fear hell or any other shit attached to gods because “I” really don’t think about them. What you have actually decided is to think about god and stop considering really an option.

This was the beginning of the end of a potential friendship. I can’t take blatant stupidity from people in my life. It will take some effort to continue this friendship beyond this point (and I can’t say I didn’t see it coming).

The tag lines that confirmed my suspicions about the state of this persons mind were “I had a personal experience”, “bless you” and “meeting you and having you as a friend is a blessing”. The last one of which shit me up the wall. I don’t give a fuck about your “experience”, it doesn’t rate as evidence and nor should you (and its worse when you express it with a confirmation bias). Blessing me is just you hoping your imaginary friend will act on my part and its a fucking lazy way to express friendship. If you want me to do well and consider yourself a friend, you be a friend, don’t put your imaginary friend in charge of making my life better. But, worst of all, is telling me I am a blessing.

I didn’t become a friend because of your fucking imaginary friend (and in this case she didn’t have one when we met). Why did your friend wait so long for us to meet? What part did our own actions take in our meeting? What actions of mine made events in our lives possible? Why when I had been doing the same thing for 10 years or more had it taken so long for your god to get to the point of our meeting? Why did we meet before you decided to be christard? I am not a blessing to anyone. I am not god given, there are no gods. Give me what is mine. If I acted in a way that created the potential of our meeting, I did that not your imaginary friend. I am the person who didn’t judge, listened, offered advise and didn’t get involved when you discussed your personal relationships. This is what I learned in almost 50 years of life, it was not dropped on me by a god. Stop trying to attribute anything about me to your imagination. I am the result of events in my life and choices I made.

For me personally, I lost respect for someone this week. I also think I lost a potential friend and think religion gained another idiot. It never fun learning people are not as bright as you think they are.

Beyond my week and events of the week, what really concerns me in all of this is that this is how I see religion spreading through China. My mother in-law, an old woman from a rice farming village, believes in jesus (I don’t think she really knows what a jesus is) because someone has sold her on hedging her bets. Yes pascals wager. The Chinese are susceptible and evangelists know it and exploit it. During my time living in China I saw women handing out pamphlets on streets and even bothering passengers on busses. Pamphlets straight out of the jehovah’s witness handbook. The most simplistic nonsense but nonsense the Chinese have little defended against. I find this to be a very sad even without the personal connection. It’s sad we human are not better than this.

I will end this rant here. I am a little upset at how little power we have against the might of religion. I can’t even save the people I like when the church has more of their time and is in their ear more often. I can’t even offer the services or social connections that religion does. All I can do as a counter measure is promote secular organisations (and will now, today, record the promotions for our community radio station) who always need new people and support to continue their services. Walking clubs, sport clubs, arts groups, community bands, community radio stations are some what we have, our only alternative to church (there may be more options in your area). What we atheists and secularists don’t have is that one overriding factor – god – that keeps people involved in these community activities. Without god community organisations need people. I am going to leave this rant for you to think on and ask only that all atheists to join at least one community group (with my business I joined our radio station 3 times 😉 ). If we are to give people an option to religion…

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

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