It hasn’t been long since I began writing as an outspoken atheist. I’m still pretty new to the online community and all the players in it. When I first started, I was so inspired by people like Richard Dawkins and Hemant Mehta and Christopher Hitchens. I’m still making my way through their works with utter glee.
It was a quote by Sam Harris, though, that was the true dawn of Godlessmom.com,
Sam Harris: Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.
I don’t know what it is about this quote that struck me, but it was the instant I finished reading it that I had thought, I need to be a part of this conversation.
It’s been about a year and a half now that I’ve been here with you guys. I came into this naive about a lot of things: how offensive my words could be seen as by theists; what lengths believers are willing to go to to defend their faith; to what degree atheists are discriminated against in other parts of the world.
The one thing I have learned though, that is the most shocking and unexpected by miles, is that a handful of atheists have been some of the most unreasonable, irrational people I’ve met so far.
As you can likely imagine, realizing this has let some air out of my balloon.
Day after day, I watch in-fighting and bickering. Week after week, there is some new scandal in the very communities I look to for rational, well-thought-out discussion. It’s to the point now, where I, as a barely educated Canadian woman with an associates degree in “courses that sound interesting” now knows beyond any shadow of a doubt that I have more ability to be rational than some people with PhDs.
In the last place I would ever expect to be able to, I have nurtured a growing disgust.
Some of you nonbelievers, are fucking lunatics.
Here are some of the signs you fall into this category:
1. You are perpetually angry. You’re the captain of the S.S. Outrage, whose deck is lined with humour-seeking cannons. If you sniff out fun of any kind, or spy a smile a mile away from your crowsnest, you summon your army of the professionally offended, all sporting their trigger-proof vests. They man the cannons, ready to take aim at anyone who dares utter a word in jest.
Was that… was that a joke I just heard? Victims! Take your places! Ready? Aim! FIRE!
2. You’re a pro at the knee-jerk reaction. Clarification? Who needs it? Further research is for fools! Knowing what you’re talking about is a silly idea forced on us by the oppressive forces that keep us pinned to the floor! Fight back by perfecting the ol’ recoil-in-horror routine. Be sure to add an inflammatory insult and attack on someone’s character. Hope (but don’t pray – that would be irrational!) that what you’ve said is enough to take a bitch down. All you ever need to understand a bigger picture, is one outrage-inducing comment! Fuck the rest! If you haven’t ruined at least five respected people’s careers by age 30, you’re just not trying!
3. You can’t handle it when people disagree with you. Maybe you couldn’t give two fucks if someone votes differently than you. Maybe you couldn’t care less whether someone is pro-life or a communist or wants to keep pot illegal. You sure as hell don’t give a shit if someone denies climate change. But if someone dares to hold a different opinion than you do on the topic of gender equality… well…
To the Doomsday machine! If we can’t all agree on precisely how gender equality should look, we are ALL. GOING. DOWN!
4. Your YouTube channel looks like recess at Springfield Elementary. Every video is another raving rant directed at some other Youtuber, peppered with childish insults, assurances of your own intellectual superiority over them, and chopped up clips from their videos. Your eyes are on fire and your camera lense is dotted with your spittle as you try in utter vain to string together a coherent sentence. Did you just invoke, “I’m rubber, you’re glue…”? Oh, yes you fucking did. Can your dad beat up their dad? Fuck yeah, he can! Can you see England? Can you see France? Well, then you can sure as hell see their underpants!
5. You jump at the chance to tell your sob story. In eighth grade you were tripped by the captain of the football team and called, “tubbo” and you just won’t let us forget it. Your PTSD is triggered by fat-shaming, yo mama jokes and ads for Oreo cookies. When you find yourself at the bottom of a dish of poutine, in your guilt and shame, you post a photo of it on Instagram, captioned, “Tubbo is as Tubbo does. #WeightLossFail #Pathetic #BodyPositive #Fatstagram #AbuseSurvivor” in hopes that your 7 followers will comment with things like, “Fuck the captain of the football team! You’re no tubbo!” or “You are beautiful to me!”.
6. Conversation is a foreign concept to you. When you’re talking to someone else, you only have two speeds: Small Talk and Firey Rage. There is no in between. You can’t handle talking about anything of any depth whatsoever without feeling cornered, attacked and defensive. If anything worth talking about penetrates your fortified walls, it better hope it’s wearing a helmet, because the bombs are gonna drop. Oh! there goes the “You have to respect my opinions!” bomb. Look out! The “How dare you!” bomb! Duck! Here comes the “I’m offended!” bomb!
In short, you’re about as fun as Gordon Ramsay at Arby’s. You reserve the right to call anyone and everyone a fucking muffin but if they so much as look at you sideways, it’s time for the outrage brigade to riot. 1984 is a manual for you, not fiction and one day, you’re pretty sure you’re going to crowdfund the building of a thought police app, so we know precisely who all the wrong-thinkers are.
We could be talking about religion and gender equality with ease, clarity and success. Instead, we’re lobbing garbage at each other like Harris in Major League. Atheists are rational thinkers? Ha! I literally laugh out loud at that, now. Of course I began my time as an outspoken atheist believing this to be true. In my naivete, I neglected to remember that atheists are human, too, and have the potential to have all the very same faults as everyone else. While I am still inspired by people like Richard Dawkins and Hemant Mehta and the late, great Christopher Hitchens, so many others have disappointed. Heroes have fallen, expectations dashed, bubbles burst.
There are people in the online atheist community now, that I simply cannot stand because they have become obsessed with taking other people down. All I can glean from that, is that you’re not a rational thinker and you have nothing of worth to say without your enemies there to poke at. At some point, you saw the world rationally enough to conclude that there is no good reason to believe in a god… but that, my friend, is where your rational mind begins and ends.