Thursday, January 22, 2009

One More From The Mailbag And Then I'll Get Back To The Funny

Would it be wrong to admit that I love finding out that people have been reading my blog? Here's the thing, in real life I'm only comfortable in front of other people when I'm either behind a hockey mask or well, really, that's about it. Earlier this month, I kept one of my resolutions and did something that scared me. That something was to go to a workshop at Improv Nashville. Of course it didn't hurt that my friend, Phyl, backed it up with a double dog dare ya and yes she kept her half of the dare.

Sorry. Wandering here. So. I love it when people read my blog. I love it when people pay attention to my words. I really love it when I make somebody laugh, and I usually find out about it when someone sends me an email.

Today I got a letter that made me realize that I need to come clean about something and make it pretty clear about where I stand. Here's what that letter said:

Hi Jas!

You're a funny chick and I like your stories but as I was reading it occurred to me that you refer to religion a lot. That's a shame because I'm an atheist so we probably don't have anything to say to each other. If you ever do change your mind, I'll be happy to talk to you about it. Here is a list of books you might want to check out.

Snif Snortman

Um. Okay. Snif? I hope you'll stick around because quite frankly, you think I'm funny and it's good for my ego. Also, maybe in real life we wouldn't have much to say to each other. In truth, I'm more of a listener than a talker unless I'm entertaining my nephew. So there's that. Also, I really, really hate it when someone, usually a conservative fundie type and almost always a man, gets an idea of what my views are and then gets all, "Hot digitty! We could have some great arguments!" No, we couldn't.

Okay. Yes, I do follow a spiritual path. I am what some of you might call a believer. I am okay with this and so is the bulk of my closest family, who are not believers. And that's okay because I respect their views as well. We're family and part of loving and accepting your kin is respecting that what moves them might not move you and vice versa.

Personally, I think some of us are wired to believe and others aren't. That I do feels like a gift, but if someone were to approach what moves me and it doesn't move them, it would probably feel like a burden. It's cruel to demand that people believe in something that isn't in their heart. Does this make me a bad practitioner of my religion? Maybe so. I don't believe in Hell in the Judeo-Christian sense anyway, and find it hard to think that if we are created, we would second-guess the gorgeous diversity with which (s)He created humanity. I'm only smart enough to have explored the mechanics through anthropology. The purpose and ethos behind it is really beyond me.

Something else I want to throw out here. I think that religionists are asking too much when they demand that our beliefs be respected by non-believers. Historically, practitioners have not respected the beliefs (or absence of) in others and it isn't right to demand homage and practice when there is no willingness to return the gesture. I think it was great that President Obama included non-believers in his inaugural address but I would have been much happier to have heard him refer to them by name as Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics and Brights. To do so would have afforded them recognition as specifically identifiable people as opposed to simply "not-us". It would have shown that he respected their right to not believe or take part in that aspect of the human experience. That is also what we should expect, that our right to believe and practice be respected and legally protected and nothing more. If we're getting what we need from what we're doing, it should be sufficient without co-opting government legal, administrative and operational devices.

So, there you have it. Deep in my black, dessicated little raisin of a heart, I know this means some people will stop reading, I will never be best buds with Penn and Teller and a segment of the Nashville religious community will make it their job to set me straight on a number of points. I can live with that.

Thanks, it felt good to get that off of my chest.

Oh, and bless you however you'll let yourself be blessed.

Jas Faulkner

copyright 2009 Jas Faulkner


Phyl said...

Heya, babe. Would you believe (har) -- I didn't actually know you were that much of a believer, though I knew there was Something there. I think the reason I didn't know was that we're friends based on other things, like interest and respect and admiration (at least, that's how it is from my side!).

That's what's really important, and really makes the world go round anyway.

And...I didn't actually keep up my end of that dare, not that day anyway. But I did go out to the next event, even when I didn't really feel like it, so I hope that counts.

I was extremely proud of you for doing your part. I also didn't realize it was going to be quite that scary for you, so I'm even more impressed. *mwah!*

Laura said...

Jas, thank you for gracing your readers with such a moving testament about what tolerance looks like and--in my lexicon of belief--what Jesus would do.

jas faulkner said...

Thanks, y'all!