Maybe I’m naïve. Maybe it’s because I still can’t really tell if I’m meant to call myself agnostic or humanist. I joined the Humanists but they sent me a badge that had Happy Without God written on it, and although I am pretty happy without a deity I felt as though that might upset someone if I wore it out. I don’t really like upsetting people who haven’t done anything to deserve it.
Everyone wants to upset everyone else though, it seems. People think it’s perfectly fine to hate entire groups of people based on their religion, and as long as they qualify their statements by saying that it’s definitely not racist because Islam isn’t a race (let’s face it, you knew what I was talking about) then it’s perfectly acceptable. It really isn’t.
My dad is racist. Fortunately I’ve never had to live with him, so I never saw the worst of it but he used to tell me things like “I don’t care who you end up with as long as he’s not black or on the dole”. Yeah… He’d say these things during my weekend visits where he’d be drunk and stoned the whole time and hanging out with creepy weirdos who made lewd comments about me when I was super underage and all of these things were okay because as long as you’re white and British then it was all good.
It wasn’t good. I was scared of my dad. I don’t think he knows.
Emotive shit aside, it was the anger that scared me. How could you be angry at someone for existing just because of the colour of their skin? It makes little sense to me. You might as well yell at the sky for all the good it’ll do. Same with beliefs. I completely understand the work the Humanists do to stop religious stuff being incorporated into places where it ought not be, but when it gets pushed that little bit further and I’m actively antagonising people with badges (I may be a bit oversensitive about the badge) then I feel like I’m venturing into somewhere I have no business being.
To be honest, I don’t really believe in anything. I ignore it when religious stuff gets inflicted on me because I’m usually doing it for someone who considers it important to them and I generally either find it interesting because it’s not something I usually do, or I do it and forget about it because it’s meaningless to me. You know what I really think though? I think that science is magic. I think it has more meaning than we give it. Many, many things we couldn’t explain used to be attributed to something supranormal, but now we can explain them we don’t see anything interesting anymore. We’re looking at the arse-end of space and you lunatics are arguing about the most ridiculous things. Who cares if that guy thinks space was created by a deity. Stop fighting and look at the stars.
Stop generalising. Stop doing it to everyone, about everything. Go and listen to people. Yeah, most of them are boring and to be honest most people have at least one obnoxious opinion – just find the ones who know better than to share it because at least they know deep down that they’re most likely wrong. Stop thinking it’s okay to be horrible to people who have beliefs because you’re an atheist and you think that makes you better, somehow. And for fuck’s sake, stop hating innocent people. Hate terrorists, hate dickheads.
Should we hate people like my Dad? One of the last times I ever saw him, a black family had moved in over the road and his response was to stick a BNP sticker in the window. Because of this, and various other tests of my patience that I finally couldn’t bear any longer, I haven’t spoken to him in a decade. I don’t need to, because he won’t have changed, because the world has gotten scarier and all he has to shield himself is really faulty psychological defence mechanisms. And these kinds of people won’t analyse themselves or their behaviour. I can tell them why they think the way they do, but that will do nothing. I can’t offer comfort. And they are so full of hate that it scares me.
So maybe I am naïve, but I just think that if you spend your whole life being angry at something out of your control that is never going to change then maybe, if you get five minutes, you should just have a think about why it bothers you so much and what all the hatred is really going to achieve.
Those are some terrible thoughts that you are trapped with, friend.