Today in Atheists and Non-Christians Know Nothing and Need Guidance

by Shaker Hallelujah_Hippo

[CN: Christian Supremacy; eliminationism; racism.]

There is an absolutely joyful article over on the Huffington Post that a Facebook acquaintance of mine posted under the declaration that it is the best article ever!

And I have to agree, as an atheist lady who feels pretty good about knowing her own mind, it is pretty much perfect! I can't even quite pick out what my favorite part is, but I'm going to try to talk it out.

Maybe it's that being a converted Christian makes Angela Jamene an expert on ALL Christians and their motives; and that those motives are always about spreading joy and light and love.
Every invitation to church is an "I love you and I want this indescribable love, peace, and joy for you because I genuinely care about you."
I for one have certainly never had anyone badger me about sharing their beliefs and partaking in their rituals because I would be DOOMED if I didn't. (To be fair she does issue a blanket apology in the second to last sentence for anyone who has "wounded [me] in the name of a God they obviously needed more time getting to know," so, ya know, the mean folks aren't Real Christians anyway. I guess that's settled.)

Maybe my favorite part is that, as an atheist, Angela Jamene is sure that I don't know myself and what makes me peaceful; I need the good word shared with me by folks who know better. The whole idea that atheists can't be joyful really pisses me off, especially because a lot of atheists I know (myself included) found joy, contentment, and peace by leaving religion in the first place. Just because the choices that make us happy are different than those of other folks (in this case, practitioners of Christian faith), does not make them wrong. It just makes us different people with different worldviews and having that dismissed is really fucking insulting.
When a friend or a kindly stranger, a relative or a playgroup parent, says "Hey, why don't you come to church with me on Sunday?" what they mean is "I love you so much, I cannot describe what I know you can get from this because I can't even put into words what it has done for me."
Not for nothing, but we've done a lot of talking in this space about how 'my worldview is the only RIGHT one and everyone would agree with me if they were just smart enough/rational enough/taught well enough' is inherently silencing. I don't have a problem with anyone who has found joy and contentment and peace from reading a free bible and attending church services; I do have a problem with them telling me I am wrong for not finding the same value and joy in the exact same things they do (and if I 'just gave it another chance' or 'tried it this way' I would definitely agree with them; as if my disagreement is an indication of a lack of understanding on my part rather than proof of profoundly understanding the world differently.)

Maybe it's being told that someone (ALL Christians, in fact) wants to share 'infinite love and acceptance' with me
On behalf of Christians everywhere, I would like you to know that we really, just whole-heartedly, love you. And, we want to share this infinite and ultimate love and acceptance with you.
But IT IS DEFINTILEY CONTINGENT on me doing the same rituals and expressing the same worldview as them; that I can only earn their love and acceptance by doing things their way. Saying 'I will love and accept you unconditionally (and I want to love and accept you!), if you agree that I am right' is not the most welcoming and accepting thing I can think of; but I've got an unenlightened atheist brain, so what do I know?

Maybe it's the way she compares being badgered into attending Christian religious services as THE EXACT SAME THING as my friend suggesting we try eating at a new (ethnic!) restaurant.
The people that invite you to church are just like that friend that insists that you try the new Puerto Rican restaurant downtown, they have experienced something amazing and they want it for you too.
Because being urged to try (implied) new food choices is obviously the same as being urged to partake in religious views that say I am somewhat unworthy and joyless and unloved unless I am a part of them. (NB: I also want to point out how specifying that my hypothetical friend is trying to convince me to try Puerto Rican food pretty solidly says that the assumed audience is white folks (and definitely not Puerto Rican or other Latin@ folks) who are shy of ethnic food the same way they are shy of attending church services. Which is a pile of erasing and racist garbage.)

Maybe it's that she seems to be saying what she (and Christians collectively) want for me is more important than what I want for myself, but that I should just go along with it because they know what's best, anyway. I don't think I need to explain how exhorting me to ignore my own boundaries and wishes because someone else is convinced they know better than I do what is good for me is deeply hostile to consent and agency. It is a garbage argument when it is used in favor of anything else and it is a garbage argument when it is used in favor of joining a Christian church service.

I am honestly happy for Angela Jamene that she has found happiness and joy and community in her life. I would sincerely appreciate if she would respect the happiness that I and others have found as equally valid for us.

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