Friday, April 13, 2012

I Don't Hate Atheists, I Hate High School

I have a few atheist friends, though I admit they're more like acquaintances. I guess I'm lucky though, for the most part I think my atheist friends are smart people. Five years ago I pretty much thought all atheists were idiots and they thought I was an idiot. Thanks to the great discussions I have at Shimer College, I've come to realize what it is that really bothers me with atheists.

I should say what bothers me with certain kinds of atheists. You see, no two atheists are the same, though they may share that one commonality of not believing in any conception of G/god. One atheist could be as different from another as a Methodist is from their Pentecostal neighbor. The problem I have actually extends to all kinds of people, not just atheists- today I'm just going to talk about atheists because the examples I've seen lately were atheists. Remember high school? I know that if you are like me, you try to forget and spend many nights crying yourself to sleep over the nightmare that was those four years of pubescent insanity. The most amusing thing about high school is the groups that students form. We've got environmentalists, Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), a Bible study, anime club, sports teams, and so on. Atheists sometimes have a group, but unfortunately it varies based on where and how many students want to put their belief- or lack thereof on display.

My high school didn't really have an atheist student group, or if they did it wasn't well promoted. I certainly heard a lot from atheists though. Oh yes, I heard so much about how stupid I must be because I believe in God. In retrospect, a lot of the same people who said such nasty things to me about my faith were people who got burned by the Church in one way or another. At the time I thought all atheists were just bitter self-righteous individuals who were fixated on insulting every theist. It wasn't until very recently that I realized that those weren't atheists, those were bullies. They had to make everyone else feel miserable while bolstering themselves up as the only intelligent people to grace high school with their presence.

I can forgive the kids who were like this in high school, especially since I was no better in my high school days at representing the love and grace of Christ. What bothers me is people who call themselves atheists, but really they're just bullies. They are a disgrace to the wonderful and incredibly intelligent atheists I have had the pleasure of knowing- even for a short time. Bullies like this hide behind their "atheism" because they can hurl insults at people and claim that whatever they say is valid because they are the "free-thinking" ones. It's about as absurd as claiming that I am the most fashion-forward person because I wore the right shade of blue today.

What worse is that it isn't limited to atheists who have these bullies in their ranks. Christians can't even label themselves as such without their stereotypes being applied, especially the stereotypes created by some really insane bullies who called themselves Christians. Environmentalists, feminists, and so on and so forth. I used to think it was just because they were the most radical people of their movement, but radicalism (not to be confused with extremism) is not an excuse to be a bully. You can hold the view that people who eat meat are virtually cannibals without having to walk around calling people with a burger in their hand "savages" or something like that.

I'd just like to thank my atheist friends for showing me that one can hold the view that there is no G/god without being a complete idiot-jerk about it.

Peace that surpasses all understanding,