violetcheetah: (Default)
[Disclaimer: I am an atheist; any similarities between the God in this story and your own God are purely coincidental.]

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violetcheetah: (winry)
So, people keep comparing the current "religious freedom" bill in Arizona and now Georgia to pre-civil-rights lunch-counter stuff. But the thing is, it's not an analogy: it's a tautology, because there are in fact white-supremacist sects of Christianity, and if these bills become laws, adherents to those sects would have every right to refuse to deal with anyone not Aryan. For that matter, that stereotypical Arab-ish cab driver could take a look at the cross around your neck and leave you at the curb. My boss could find out that I don't believe in a deity and fire me. Hell, my boss could find out I have PTSD and say, "I don't believe in PTSD; you're possessed by demons," and fire me. A restaurateur who belongs to the "Quiverful" movement could refuse to serve a childless couple if he believes they are childless by choice.

Everybody is one of "those people" to someone.


violetcheetah: (Default)
Two short pieces from workshop tonight:

***


Suffer, little children,
And then you may come unto me.
How can I take your pain if you have none to offer?
Your father, like mine, is holy:
He is only doing what must be done
To mold you into what you need to be
If you are ever to join me in heaven.
I know you can't tell the difference now
Between the fires of hell
And this forge you are living in,
But some day you will understand.
You will sit at my right hand
And my own daddy will kneel before you
And beg your forgiveness.


***

"You will be the Good Shepherd," he told me. "You will be perfect and pure and whiter than snow, and they are sheep, after all, so they will follow you."

He left me with them on the mountainside, never doubting I would succeed, because I was his son. He expected me to know what to do, to tell where the wolf howl was coming from and to lead them away, but I'd never even heard a wolf, and it's a beautiful song, enticing and intoxicating and hauntingly sad, and nothing that sad can be a danger, anything that sad should be comforted, so I sought out the maker of the melancholy melody and the flock followed me without hesitation. With no one left to shepherd, I had no choice but to be his lamb, and lead myself gently to slaughter.



violetcheetah: (Default)
He'd just finished the semester at the Southern Baptist seminary, but he hadn't started preaching yet. He was 8 years older than her, one year older than her brother, and he'd always been so earnest, so gentle, that when she was a child she'd thought he was very smart; he had seemed like a college professor when he was still a teenager.

She only came back to Kentucky once a year around Christmas, so she hadn't seen him since she graduated high school five years ago. Hadn't seen a lot of people from the church, people she'd grown up surrounded by, the one place where no one made fun of her, where the grown-ups doted on her because she could memorize bible verses and then tell you what they meant. The church was home back then, back when she'd believed that she believed in God because she desperately needed to believe, needed there to be some kind power behind everything, some outside meaning underneath all of it, conducting the world like a painful symphony that would someday, someday have a happy ending, even if that day was after she died. It had been four years now since she had broken away from religion, but she still ached for it, for that sureness that there was a higher purpose and that pain was not in vain. She envied the people she'd grown up with, but atheism was as much a matter of faith as belief had been.

Not many people at this New Year's Eve gathering asked her about her faith. It probably didn't occur to them that the devout 10-year-old would have grown into a heathen. But he did ask; not if she went to church, but where? Did they have Southern Baptists in Boston? Yes, but she'd stopped going to church. He frowned, puzzled. "But surely you still believe." She thought, yes, I believe in many things: my friends, music, love; we differ on this one thing is all. She just said, "After a fashion." It wasn't enough of an explanation for him, and he pressed, and she knew he didn't want the answer she'd give, so she softened it.

"I'm a Christian Atheist." He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. She'd known it would break his brain, and there was a certain glee she wasn't proud of, but she realized she'd said it because she truly wanted to explain, wanted him to understand. He wouldn't understand, she knew, but she could still explain, could still try.

"I don't believe in God, so I don't believe Jesus was his son. As to whether the version of Jesus in the Bible is real, whether the historical Jesus actually said all the things that the writers of the Gospels said he said, I don't know." He opened his mouth again to break in, but again no sound came out, and she gentled her voice further. "But even if the Jesus in the Bible is just a fictional character, that Jesus is still an incredible role model. He helps the poor, he's kind to outcasts, he forgives horrible wrongs, he loves everyone. I try to live up to that example. I try to treat others the way the Jesus in the Bible would have treated them. I don't always succeed, but no one does."

His eyes were bright but clouded, like someone with a fever. Confusion, urgency, fear. Sadness. "But that's not enough," he said. "That doesn't earn you a place in heaven."

"Why not?"

"Because. Because you must believe, that Jesus is the Son of God and he died for your sins and was resurrected."

"I can't. I can't will myself to believe that any more than you can will yourself to believe in Zeus and Athena. If your God exists, he created me without the capacity to believe in him. So why would he condemn me for something I have no control over?"

"I don't believe you lack that capacity. You just need to find it within you."

"Well, that's another thing I lack the capacity to believe."


[The prompt for the piece: each workshopper wrote down a noun and a verb on a card, and the next workshopper was supposed to use those two words in three sentences in their piece.  My words were "She" and "Broke."



unsafety

Sep. 6th, 2013 12:15 am
violetcheetah: (chess)
I wasn't able to attend the writing workshop this Wednesday, but Toni usually posts one of the prompts on his Facebook page. This one (a poem, Joanna Klink's "Some Feel Rain") didn't strike a chord in me overall. But there was one fragment that resonated, and I ended up with this blog post.

[Trigger warning: sexual abuse]

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My Rapture

May. 20th, 2011 10:14 pm
violetcheetah: (Default)
I apparently planned to write this on March 9 — or at least that's when I named and saved the blank Word file — which is before I heard about Harold Camping, so the timing is entirely coincidental.

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