3. housekeeping

Hiraeth? It’s a Welsh word that I learned from one of those viral lists like, “50 Words That are Awesome That We Never Use Anymore.” It describes a sad kind of homesickness or longing. As for why I chose it? I don’t feel sad about not believing in God anymore, though I did feel a heavy sadness when I first realized that I no longer believed. In fact, now I’m quite happy! For some reason, though, the name felt right. Also, ever since I saw the word, I’ve loved it and wanted to use it. So there’s that.

I will not argue with you. This blog is a place for me to share my personal experiences. I’m not here to convert anyone, nor am I here to be converted.  I was a Christian for 33 years. I was a studious religion major. I promise that you don’t have an argument I haven’t heard. I probably used it myself. That said, if you want to comment on one of my posts in a way that includes your own beliefs or experiences – if you’re sharing something that’s on topic and doing it in a respectful way – go for it. I love talking about these things.

Are you militant and angry? I’m sometimes angry when I see dogma used to justify ignorance or evil, but no, I’m not a militant or angry person.

Capital letters. I’m not someone who’s going to type the name of a deity in lowercase just to annoy people. If I’m referring to the idea of a deity in general, I’ll say, “a god.” If I’m referring to a specific god as a proper name, I’ll say God. Same way you’d say, Dad likes to barbecue or My dad likes to barbecue. Sometimes you’ll see God orders Moses and sometimes you’ll see The god of the Old Testament orders Moses. Make sense? I’m a grammar nerd, so it’s important for me to be consistent and to make sure I’m clear about things like this.

Pronouns. Unless I’m talking about a goddess, I’m going to refer to God as a “he” because I don’t feel like typing he/she all over the place. I’m a feminist. I get the frustration. But I also believe in simplicity of language. And, let’s face it, the god of the Bible is traditionally regarded as a “he.”

Stupid ideas vs. stupid people. There are ideas that I think are amazingly stupid. I don’t think that believing in God is stupid, but I do think it’s stupid to believe that the world is 6,000 years old – a belief that I myself held at one time. That said, there are incredibly intelligent people who believe stupid things. I may criticize certain viewpoints in some of my posts, but I am not criticizing the people who hold them. Or, if I am, I’ll be direct about it, and you’ll know it. Like, Jerry Falwell was an awful person, okay?

Evil ideas vs. evil people. Same as above. I think Calvinism is an evil, depraved (like that?) theology. But Calvinists are just as good and nice as anyone else… not that they’d believe that. Heehee.

Religion brings about good things. You’ll never see me denying that. But I think good people will always do good deeds, with or without the motivation of religion. And, frankly, I don’t think the evils of religion are worth the good deeds that can result from it, which could have been done without it. But I will fully support organizations that I see doing the good work of loving and helping people. I still do the weekly bulletin, monthly calendar, and website for my home church, as I’ve done for the past ten years, because I love those people, treasure their love and support of me over the years, and value all the work they do in the community. I will continue to consider them “my church family,” however antithetical that may sound. People need community like they need air and water. You know what? I think it’s community that brings about good things, not religion.

Atheists are not bad people. Contrary to what you may have heard, atheists are just like anyone else. We don’t sacrifice cats in cemeteries or worship Satan. That would be kind of dumb, considering that we don’t believe in Satan. People don’t become atheists so they can do whatever they want without consequences. We aren’t nihilists who don’t believe in the magic of the world. We believe in being good to each other just for the sake of being good to each other. Groundbreaking, I know.

Atheism is not the “easy way out.” Similar to the above. And I’ll add that anyone who thinks this needs a wake-up call. Atheism is hard. You think it’s easy to attend the funeral of someone you love, to hear about them rejoicing in heaven, and to know that isn’t true? You think it’s easy to live in a country where about 60% of people wouldn’t consider you for public office because they think you’re evil and immoral?

Why can’t you just believeBecause you can’t force your mind to believe something. You just can’t. I spent a year or two saying I was a Christian because I wanted to believe and couldn’t. Wanting doesn’t make it so. If that ever changes, someone let me know, and I’ll bring Mr. Darcy to life.

What if you’re wrong? Pascal’s wager! Really?

Seriously! Okay, seriously. If there is a god, he’s either all-good and all-loving – in which case he would be glad that I used the intellect he gave me, understand my doubts, and value my honesty over false belief – or he’s an evil tyrant that I wouldn’t want to spend eternity with.

Hitler! Stalin! North Korea! This is why YouTube comment sections exist.