Saturday, November 14, 2015

no, atheism is not guaranteed to make the world a better place

I'm tired of stupid comments about religion on Facebook. Radical Christians and radical atheists and generally people of any sort who think that killing in the name of religion is okay bother me. 

Mainly, though, this post is written in response to Tommy Wallach, a lovely author who has basically says a lot of weird things. He, being the extremely smart white dude who must always give an opinion on something (I do the same thing, but I digress), tweeted that the world would be a better place if more people weren't religious.

(I could've linked to the tweet, but Mr. Wallach deleted his account, you see..)

Okay, here's the deal: tragedy happens all of the time. Sometimes more people pay attention to it because of who is involved, and sometimes people ignore it because of where it happens. Tragedy is always going to happen. Even if we get rid of religion. 

That's basically my entire argument right there. 

I understand (sort of) the knee jerk reaction to say that, without religion, there would be less murders and horrible events happening. But there are just so many things wrong with that. 

1) It's such a lazy, general statement: Look, I'm agnostic. I know that religion doesn't do anything for me. I'm guessing that the world would be a better place without radical religion, but that's not what you said. Religion, itself, is a word that includes so many things. There are hundreds of religions (maybe thousands? I don't even know) all over the place. 

Not everyone murders in the name of religion. Full stop. 

2) You're usually talking about one type of religion: Okay, seriously getting deep here. White people usually say this when something happens with Islam, or people who claim to be Muslim, or people they assume to be Muslim. 

 (I say this because the recent events were because of ISIS, which is not a Muslim organization and has, in fact, killed many Muslims, which is why there are so many refugees. But I digress.) 

Whenever the KKK comes out and does something painful/disgusting/stupid, I hear people saying that they're horrible and stupid. But no one says that all religion needs to be abolished then. 

Or, you know, when annoying Christians in the GOP say that gay people shouldn't be able to get married. Or that women shouldn't be able to get abortions. When stuff like that happens, we all get angry and rightfully annoyed and we usually come up with better things to say than "the world would be a better place if you guys were to give up your faith." 

3) You ignore the fact that religion works for others: I'm really into learning about my ancestors, and I know that religion helped many of them get through slavery and their generally hard lives. I know that religion helps people grieving for their loved ones. 

Religion isn't always inherently bad. Just because I can't believe in it, and you don't, doesn't mean that there aren't people who totally feel connected to a deity or several. The fact that you're an atheist doesn't mean that atheism is what will keep the world going round.

4) Atheists have done horrible things: If people are horrible and disgusting, they'll commit horrible and disgusting things, regardless of religion. Stalin killed more than 20, 000, 000 and he had the same idea: he made everyone atheists! By force! And things got so much better in his country! 

(Actually, they didn't. They got worse. Spoiler alert, I guess.) 

Okay, bonus round! Three things our friend Tommy is able to get away with (and also still be a NYT Bestselling author) because he's a white dude: 

1) Saying that he's a feminist because his mom is a pilot: 
I legit quote: 

I might just be an extremely bitter young girl, because of the racism and sexism and whatnot, but I don't really care if a guy (who does not experience/might not even SEE sexism) feels that women pointing out that Andrew Smith made a sexist comment is a "witch hunt." 

I always hate when white people tell me that getting upset about little things cheapens the anti-racism movement, or when guys tell me that getting upset about little things cheapens the feminist movement. Like. Who made you the voice of reason? Just because you were raised by a hella awesome mom doesn't mean that you're automatically qualified to tell women 
a) what sexism is 
b) how to handle it

2) Throwing a hissy fit because a black woman said that his black character wasn't written well/kinda sorta racist: I can't even provide a link for this, because this was basically something that happened on Twitter. A black female author (whom I love, so I'm a bit biased) pointed out some things that were weird/potentially racist about the black character in Tommy's book. Here's my version of how things went: 
BH (Black homie): This book is racist. The character isn't well written. Here is why.
BH: Well, I'm black. But also -
BH: I have actual criticism about why the representation of this black girl is an actual issue -
Tommy and his homies: OMG WHAT AN ANGRY BLACK LADY
BH: What
Tommy: *deletes account*

3) This: This comment about religion.

I honestly get on authors' cases so much because they have such a big impact. They really do, especially those with NYT bestselling books. When you do something, people (especially teens), notice. You know what else they notice? The reaction to what you did. Whether or not you apologize afterward (how you apologize, how long it takes, etc.) If you seem to be learning at all.

I have his book under my bed and sometimes I read it and I'm like eh whatever. Your black character bothers me, but who am I to judge? But then I think about the other black girls reading this book, getting excited because there was a black character (like I did), and ultimately feeling let down.

That's why I wrote something about this tweet.


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