Passing clouds

I love English weather.

Someone has to.

I love the endless cloud formations, the varying shades all congregating, a merging melting pot occupying the same space better than humanity can.

Then again, the skies occasionally produce tornadoes. Sometimes like people, nature spirals out of control. I have been told the UK has more tornadoes than anywhere in the world (per square km), they just often form in rural areas and are nowhere near as destructive as those seen in the States.

I did in fact see one off the coast of Majorca around the year 2000. Incredible, something I have always wanted to see unfolding in front of my very eyes. A couple of miles out to sea, it’s a shame smart phones weren’t a thing. We decided to leave our chunky video camera in the hotel as we had no plans other than the pool. To this day my sister and I argue as to who saw it first. It was definitely me.

I also look up and remain thankful that my country does not endure regular natural disasters. I have to, I thank anything and everything that keeps me here for as long as I am. Not that I am thankful that others go through this instead, it hurts every time I have seen the media coverage of a tsunami slamming into a coastline or a quake tearing the ground apart. What I do consider are the religious nations suffering such forces. Is that why they are religious, sometimes prayer is only thing left? Why do I escape these nightmare scenarios in a relatively non-religious nation? Why do dedicated theists live perilously at the bottom of an active volcano or in long lasting droughts?

Nature is a beautiful thing, but it likes to kill us.

 

Superiority 

There’s a difference between claiming superiority and fighting against the label of ‘inferior’.


I received the above comment last year, anonymously of course. I am not trying to make myself superior, I’m just trying to see humans in a more positive light, leaving behind the desire to submit or beg for some kind of forgiveness.

Rosa Parks was not claiming to be superior when she refused to give up her seat for a white person. Homosexuals aren’t attempting to make heterosexuals inferior as they resist being thrown from rooftops by religious fanatics. It is possible to want to rise from the trenches of societal acceptance and seek equality without claiming to be better than anyone else.

I am sorry for anyone that begs to be inferior, plenty of people do. Some people need a master to get through their lives, I can imagine if we were able to achieve a technologically-simulated Second Coming how many people would get down on their knees in an instant. I can also imagine the delight shown by the button-pusher as they receive instant control over billions.

Rejecting oppression will be cool one day, not today but hopefully soon.

 

 

Non-existence

I often receive a certain criticism in response to my thoughts, feedback claiming that I shouldn’t be angry towards something that doesn’t exist. A very good point.

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If it did come to light that a certain God existed, many atheists would remain reluctant to worship. I am one of them. Not every atheist agrees with this but many do. I split my time between disbelieving without sufficient evidence and providing opinions as to why I would disagree with a god if there was to be one.
This seems to cause confusion, apologies for this. I don’t believe in a God, the disagreements I have with a deity I don’t believe in are hypothetical. This doesn’t mean I do in fact believe he exists but that I have reasons to oppose him if he did, as so many choose to believe. 

I would do the same if everyone was convinced that Dr Evil existed. If there was very little evidence to suggest so yet people were convinced in the billions, I would take time out to see it from their side and if he does in fact exist, why we probably shouldn’t be worshipping him.

I also believe many people simply want me to believe in a God. Sadly I do not, even if you want me to. I just try to see it from your side from time to time.

Inferiority

‘If you think we’re walking lumps of meat animated by random sparks of electrochemistry then why would killing people be BAD – or evil? Or anything else for that matter?’

I don’t- and hopefully will never-understand the link between life emerging  without a deity and a desire to cause suffering. There’s as much chance as me finding out I wasn’t the first owner of my current home and deciding to smash my neighbours windows. What thought process would be necessary to lead to such sadism?

I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that this is another lie we are told, as if religion has helped us refrain from inflicting misery. There are billions of believers in a world of countless religions, yet I still find it necessary to lock my door at night. We would be screwed if all religious people were bad, for sure. Even though this is not the case, religious violence is rife and therefore the fear of a decline in religion should be in fact optimism. Many nations with large non- religious  populations demonstrate enviable stats concerning healthcare and quality of life, low crime rates and freedom of speech. Many religious nations are so dangerous people risk their lives to flee, often to less religious nations.

On top of this, what happens if your God is found to be the rebellious child of another one? Falsely stating that he or she is the moral-providing leader, only to be exposed as the child of the actual God that left the room for a brief moment (that moment seeming to be a couple of millenia due to relativity). The new God chuckling to himself as he picks up little Timmy and sees the confusion he has caused to all the theists below on Earth.


What would then happen to your perceived morality? If the father had a completely different set or morals to the son that you worshipped? Would all worshipping change hands completely and immediately with this knowledge? What would then happen if yet another God was found above the two? 

Morality doesn’t have to come from above. Wouldn’t it be easier if we were to just talk and establish it for ourselves? After all we are the ones that have to endure this life, it’s a shame we make it so difficult.

Proximity

It is an annual tradition that the Red Arrows perform a flyover of the quayside to signify the start of the Great North Run, the largest half marathon in the world. The Red Arrows make me happy. I feel a great sense of pride and awe when they do their thing, one year rudely waking me up as I slept in, the sound of those engines so close to the ground had me jump up in sheer panic thinking the building was collapsing. I checked the flight path this time around, instead of following the River Tyne from the west and flying over the famous seven bridges, they flew in formation from the north and directly over what would have been busy traffic had it not been for the 57,000 runners. I made it with a minute to spare (seriously, I was exhausted) to record them flying over. The above image isn’t a photograph but a screenshot of my video.

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I pass this hotel everyday. Sadly, two teenage employees went to Manchester on the 22nd of this month and did not make it home. I did not know them. I do however know two people that did make it back home safely. To think that world leaders and international superstars had these people in their thoughts in the past couple days is pretty surreal. As I have said previously with similar experiences, I am unsure whether its a sign of the times or spending longer on this planet that I feel such stories are seemingly closer to home.

I will be the first to admit I am incredibly lucky to live in a nation with relative peace and security. In no way do I believe otherwise. Some regions of Earth experience similar atrocities with relentlessness frequency and I can only attempt to fathom such hardships. This does not mean that I want to play down the severity of the losses experienced in Manchester, nor do I want to pretend I have no concerns of the potential for an increasing number of tragedies within the UK and Europe.

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The same building can be seen above, between the Sage on the left and the Tyne Bridge in the center. I feel this building will be a constant reminder that terror is becoming more of a norm, paired with the heavy armed presence at every busy venue this week. I want to talk about that. The fact that I had rarely seen officers with guns growing up and now it looks like my children will grow up feeling strange if they don’t see armed police.

Strangely, the more attacks I hear of the more I am forced to respect religion or be labeled a bigot. The more I want to talk about the perils of blind faith in the 21st century I can’t without people losing it, and I’m finding more and more reasons to do so. Saying that, I live in one of only a handful of nations in which we can speak out as atheists freely. Most people here are non-religious, with a reeaaallly big urge to hug theism when religion demonstrates a hatred for diversity and a desire for death. I won’t blame a whole religion, just the aspects that deserve it. I will make the most of life in a non religious country to speak up about a religion that I guarantee so many people would do too given the chance. If flogging, beating, murder, honour killings, prison time, torture and slavery weren’t repercussions for questioning reality for some people, I would have a lot more time for religion. Millions more would have time to be free.

I don’t want the light to go out on free speech. I want to see red, white and blue trailed in the air from the Red Arrows, not lighting up the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building in sympathy after another attack. This of course is how I feel about every nation, I can only talk of mine. I trust that many of you are doing a great job fighting similar battles, keep fighting.

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Fate

We have a choice, do what we are told to do or face the consequences. The most tragic aspect of all is that we believe this is a choice at all. You can give the bully your pocket money or don’t. If he really cared about your right to choose, his fist wouldn’t be clenched.

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Am I really enjoying my right to live a life without religion if I am aware of the supposed repercussions?

‘See, you do have a right to reject God, you are doing it right now.’… I hear echoed without diminishing. That may be the case, but am I content with so many varying beliefs about my fate? How could I? How can I be fooled by this illusion of choice? This is supposed to be free will? I don’t like to be swayed by false liberties.

I am not an idiot, even if my opinionated, rebellious actions seem to contradict this. If I cannot see the end of the road, I know it is there. I reject the judgement awaiting me on the horizon not because I struggle to comprehend that the horizon will one day be in touching distance, but because I think of the day when the horizon is in front of me constantly. What better way to avoid the end of the road than to step off it completely and focus my life on what makes me happy instead of what makes me fearful.

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An Atheist American

I would say I first realized I was Atheist at the age of 7, but I was jumping around Christian denominations, and Buddhism, until I was 21. I’m 22 now.

Being an Atheist is difficult. We’re pushed to the outskirts of an excessively religious society hoping someone will acknowledge our existence, beliefs, and credibility. Some do, and for that we will be forever grateful, but many, particularly in the southern area of the United States, do not.
I am apart of a minority that isn’t ostracized overtly (not often at least). It is a quieter discrimination. Like a parasitic fungal infection, you feel the judgments microscopically. The hyphae of others’ beliefs interwoven into our skin, infecting, and feasting on our organic bodies. I scratch and scratch to rid myself of these judgments only to become inflamed with humiliation.


Many religious people are well meaning. Their hands reached out in sisterhood -or brotherhood-, acutely attuned to the vulnerable hearts. I’ve learned this is the tactic the religiously involved take full advantage of. The shedding of a tear sends them into savior mode. The gospel is shared, hands are pressed in prayer, and then they move on when they realize their fair weather attempts pushed us further away. They interpret this as resistance to the inevitable, a denial that will be reckoned with at the end of life, or something we will rue so deeply and irrevocably we will stretch out our arms in their churches and cry, “you were always right, forgive me!” I push away because they send me a slew of platitudes. “Everything happens for a reason,” or my personal favorite, “god gave you a sister with special needs to teach you patience.”


Apparently God uses other human beings as pawns to teach other people virtuous behavior, according to some. I push away, because where their mind is consumed of where they go when they die, I am focused on how to make the only opportunity of existence I have as fulfilling as possible. I push away because I see religion absolving selfishness. I don’t see humans helping because it’s the human thing to do, I see them helping for a ticket into heaven. Why be apart of that?
Atheism is not a cauldron bubbling with noxious fumes. It is not the temptation of freedom from a spiritual law. It is the simple fact that Atheists cannot will themselves to believe, and this is where the religious disagree. They claim we aren’t trying hard enough, or we are angry. They say these things with blind confidence as if Atheists haven’t found themselves hunched over divine doctrine in the middle of the night trying to understand why people keep saying they hear music of the supernatural, but we hear nothing. Most Atheists I meet know just as much as the religious do, if not more.
I believe the most difficult aspect of Atheism is the false preachings of endless “blessings” with religion. The religious in America, as in many countries, are the good. It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “it’s the Christian thing to do,” when referring to a good deed. I am disappointed the society I live in believes goodness comes with qualifiers. Maybe I would be content in my own world if the religious would stop saying my life is unfulfilled, that I am missing something, that I have no ultimate morality. What have my convictions done to leave me unfulfilled and have no morality, exactly? The missing opportunity to pick out the ones who don’t go to heaven because they didn’t believe in a giant spirit in the sky, and say, “at least that’s not me?” Is it the ability to commit heinous crimes, ruin people’s lives, and lift my chin to the ceiling with tears of self-pity and guilt and ask for forgiveness, with the knowledge I will be absolved of my wrongdoings because God is merciful (funny, he’ll forgive a serial killer, but not the Atheist)? Is it the ability to feel superior somehow compared to other animate beings that I live along side? Is it the knowledge to boast of historical victories, conquering indigenous tribes of people just because the religious want the world to mirror their image of their interpretation of the perfect human being?

I refuse to accept those injustices, and I never have. I may be apart of a quiet minority, but it’s because people have begun to listen. Our perspective has penetrated the world, and the religious are afraid of someone who doesn’t need religious law to guide them. Being an Atheist is hard, but at least we carry full responsibility of our actions, we love people because every human deserves love, and we will never point a finger at someone saying they don’t deserve something because they are different.

Love whoever is around to be loved. Love when people don’t love back. Love unconditionally.

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See more from Summer Janacek’s writing here.

This is the first of the INSIGHT guest posts, which will provide a glimpse into the lives of atheists around the world and an opportunity to connect with bloggers of a similar nature.

Follow for more and thank you Summer for the perspective!