Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Atheism and Pride

Pride is a funny thing, and not “ha ha” funny. While not a word with many letters, pride is a big word, one which encompasses many different ideas, and it’s a word that means many different things, not only to different people, but even within the mind of the same individual. Because it changes with circumstance, it’s important to understand what kind of pride we’re talking about.

In this case, pride is the open expression and self-satisfaction that comes with some personal characteristic or group membership.

To me, pride is sort of like God. It’s something other people talk about feeling which I just simply don’t. Once, in 2007, I thought I felt pride, but it turned out to be a brief bout of high self-esteem.

Atheists face a dilemma. Oddly enough, it’s one they share with white supremacists. An atheist trying to publicly express atheist pride is met with a similar hostility and censorship as someone wishing to express a “white power” message.

I wouldn’t say I have pride in atheism, though I’m not ashamed of it. However, I would be just as biased as society if I didn’t openly acknowledge the double standard atheists face. Christians flaunt their religion in every way imaginable: before meals, at funerals (especially for atheists…), when accepting awards, even on the floor of Congress. It’s pretty much the Lord God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy fucking Ghost everywhere you turn in America.

In a sense, I feel surrounded by flaming Christians. I’m talking “get down on your knees in front of a shirtless, hung guy with a six pack” flaming.

Now, I’m cool with people being themselves and not hiding who they are, but it’s irritating to me how deep in the closet these types of people have driven most atheists.

I think Christians need to take a page from the Irish. Sure, both are associated with violence, but the Irish have managed to take a holiday like St. Patrick’s day, put aside differences, and say that everyone on that day is Irish. They are inclusive, not exclusive. Instead, Christians tend to use their holidays to further polarize the issue, insisting it’s all about Jesus, and that any attempt to secularize the celebration is an attack on Christianity.

But this example shows a fundamental difference between some groups and their aims. For Christians, it’s “us vs. them,” and Christians dream of a Christian nation, populated by all Christians. The Irish wished to integrate into society, to become one of “us.”

I tend to side with the Irish on this one, preferring to have no “them” at all. We’re all “us,” and I’m not proud of it.

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