Friday, 8 April 2016

The Fear And The Fury

If I lived in Bangladesh, or in many other Islamic countries, and openly declared my atheism I would be killed. In some of these countries it would be state sponsored, in others it would come courtesy of a lynch mob. If ever I need assurance that I am on the winning side then this would be it. When people are so fearful and ignorant that they seek to silence opposing voices it says something about what they stand for. It says also that they are brittle, fearful, and lacking in basic decency. I consider myself a rude and brassy atheist, the kind that will not tolerate your attempts to share your particular vintage of truth. Oh, and note the choice of wording here. Vintage. A cursory appraisal of religious history will reveal that the branding tends to undergo various revisionism on route to the current day. Not that this bothers me unduly. It's just a product afterall. A product vying for attention in the marketplace of ideas. I happen to think freedom of belief is very important. If you want to build your life on a religious idea then do so. I simply ask that you extend the freedoms you enjoy to those who think different. On paper it sounds so easy, but this is where the fear comes into play. In fact fear is somewhat important in the land of the righteous. Fear of sin, fear of God (Which is apparently the beginning of wisdom), fear of missing the Heavenly Express as it winds it's way to the pearly gates. It's all just a bit tedious and tiresome to my ear. Working as I do in law and order I know a thing or two about coercive control, and belief in God would appear to be a perfect example. Oh they'll tell you they came freely, that they see salvation as a free gift. Yet once claimed just sit back and watch the hoops that the devout continually leap through to keep up their end of the "free gift". Beneath the raised hands and the happy clappy and community is a culture of fear. Fear on an industrial scale. Rarely voiced, yet a tacit everpresent. In particular I feel for the many women who grew up in the faith, knowing no other identity than alignment with a fiction so self evident that it, excuse the pun, beggars belief. They are unwitting victims. They would consider themselves free. I'm not convinced they'd recognise true freedom if it were offered to them. I've seen the way they battle with balancing the requirements of faith with a sense of self identity. The inner feuding to reconcile animal appetites with the ways of the righteous. In contrast I am free. Free to experience life without limits. I can tread my own path, getting it wrong and getting it right, trampling and pirouetting in equal measure. I can face mortality with, if not comfort, at least the sense that I do this thing on my terms. I wonder whether such freedom is a terror to those who raise machetes towards those who refuse to align themselves with the absurd? Towards those whom actively agitate against it? Fear that such as me will pollute, sour, poison the wells of salvation? Have you seen the common theme underpinning this? Fear. Cold fear. Cowardly fear. And I think this will continue as long as religion has any semblance of power. I for one will happily share the planet with those who think a different way. I don't mind our differences just so long as we seek to do no harm. Sure I'll speak out. I'll mock and laugh and critique. But you won't die. And you can return the compliment. Neither of us has to end up in the gutter with our brains splashed all over the road. Which was the fate that befell the free thinker whom inspired me to write this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment