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Cross-Posted From A Facebook Email

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Jun. 5th, 2010 | 02:13 am

Hello, *******. I am glad for another opportunity to connect with you.

Some of the apologetic character of my public athiesm is a recognition that I am a bigot where faith is concerned, and I try to portray my lack of faith as a failing rather than calling out the faith of others as error.

I am also trying to prod self-reflection in those who see faith as both a gift and a virtue (using virtue here not to mean strength but to mean correct choice and its resultant rewards). How can it be both? And if is is a gift, what is the correct attitude toward those who don't have it? Surely not condemnation--are you bad because you didn't get a gift?

Part of it is also a way for me to express my genuine pain at the lack of God. Your beliefs seem to have modified over the years, so I'm not confident in saying that you are a theist. If you are I have a question for you, and it is one of my questions for any theist: think of the times that you have turned toward your Divinity for comfort or strength...now imagine that that you found nothing there...think about how much harder life would be without divine presence and help...how then will you approach an athiest, with condemnation or mere sorrow?

For the record, I don't think my anti-theist bigotry is unearned. Some of my earliest memories are of elementary schoolmates telling me I was going to Hell for my lack of faith, which always seemed like harsh punishment for something that didn't really *feel* like a choice to me. I lived on the far outskirts of Boise during my primary school years, and the budding friendship I had with the only boy my age within walking distace was derailed when he was forbidden to play with me due to my atheism. The Catholic Church has recently come out and said that at least a few non-Catholics will still mysteriously be saved by the Catholic Church's action in the world (even though such salvation will owe nothing to the erroneous beliefs of those saved), but in general it is an article of faith in most Western religions that lack of faith equals damnation, and I have lived my life feeling oppressed by that tenet.

Your unsolicited advice is sound, though I wish you had phrased it in a more "I give you credit for..." kind of way than a "You should give yourself more credit for..." way. I see it as mainly acceptance of me on your part, which I currently crave. There are plenty of changes I could make so as to have a more pleasurable or competently navigated life, but what I need from friends these days is to love me where and how I am. I've spent my whole life trying to be *better*, have I not yet earned love and acceptance for who I am?

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