Friday, November 23, 2012

Religion and The Holidays

I try really hard not to be a recalcitrant little asshole when it comes to my atheism. I understand the profundity of true faith, and the good it can do for people. I've tried really hard to quash my militant atheist ways, and have been guilty of condescending anti-faith finger-wagging douchebaggery in the past. I won't rag on somebody for having a religion anymore (I will poke fun, though, there's a difference). 

One thing that really bothers me, however, is the observation of others faith during the holiday season.

My fiancee's mother is very religious. She attends Christmas Eve mass, and expects her children to do the same. She is an extremely sweet lady, and is not mean, coercive, or passive aggressive about it. She simply requests that they join her. My fiancee and her brother have, in the past, gone to mass with their mother, and been good-natured and silly about it (he'll quietly sing Christmas hymns and insert his dog's name into the lyrics under his breath). My fiancee has not requested anything of me, neither has her mother, but we're visiting her mother for Christmas this year, and I recognize that it's likely that I will expected to attend without question.

Religious services, particularly Catholic services, make me profoundly uncomfortable. I went to mass with a friend and her family a few years ago, intending to soldier my way through it, thinking it would be no big deal. In the middle of the mass, the priest brought a bunch of kids up to the altar, started reading them bible verses, and began engaging in what can only be described as blatant indoctrination. He began a call-and-response with this group of kids, who were so eager to be part of the group, telling them that they had to listen to Jesus. That Jesus was the ONLY way. That they were bad people if they didn't stick with the church forever and ever. These kids were 5 and 6 years old. I had to go outside and smoke.

I respect others faith, to the best of my ability. It doesn't help that there are large groups of people who, on a daily basis, try to strip me of my humanity (as a gay person) using their "faith" as their excuse. I will not berate one for one's faith. However, I deeply resent the fact that those that do not subscribe to a religion are constantly expected to defer to those that do. I've been told that politely opting out of the ceremony would be horribly rude, and that I should be embarrassed to even consider such a thing. 

The Catholic church actively works to cover up the rape of children by priests. The Catholic church pays no taxes, and contributes only about 4% of its total profit to charity.   The church does back flips to keep women from positions of leadership. The church grants women the right to exist insofar as they are willing to incubate a fetus at the cost of their own life. The church refuses to allow the members of its clergy to marry and live fulfilled lives and pursue normal sexual and emotional happiness. The church wags firey fingers and damnation in the face of children when they dare to have a sexual thought, and sexually and emotionally stunt entire generations of people.

I despise these things.  I have a huge, huge problem with these things.

These are not things I will bring up, at all, during Christmas. I have no desire to rob my fiancee's mother of her faith. It just bothers the hell out of me that those of no faith always have to defer to those that have faith.  I hate that it makes me a total douchebag dickface for even considering opting out of hanging out with the members of an institution that, in my opinion, does more harm than good anymore. I just want the same respect that I attempt to bestow upon others. Is that too much to ask?

You go to church, I'll stay home and clean your bathroom, cool? Cool. 


  1. These do not seem to be unreasonable thoughts to me. However, if you want a bathroom to clean, please come clean mine. I won't expect you to go to my church. :) Happy Holidays, m'dear.

  2. HAHAHAHA, yes ma'am :D Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays to you as well :D

  3. You have faith, I have faith. Just because one doesn't follow the teachings of a faith doesn't mean that he or she has no faith in general. In fact, the first dictionary definition of faith has nothing to do with believing in a god. The first definition is my favorite: fidelity to one's promises. What a wonderful thing it actually means. If more people "of faith" realized that their counterparts aren't faithless, it would work out better for everyone, and you might not have to deal with such rebuttal from "believers."

  4. Apologies, in this context by "faith" I meant religious faith specifically. I agree with you. Just because I'm godless doesn't mean I am unkind. I get off on philanthropy, I can't stand the abuse of children or animals, I try to promote equality for everyone. Atheist =/= nihilist.