Atheism for Lent... and what I learned.
Last year around this time, I participated in "Atheism for Lent". A unique journey through the Lenten season to be sure.
I read Marx, Emma Goldman, Freud, Nietzsche, Joe Hill as well as many others. All interesting. All confident in what they wrote or said. (I'm confident... with a side of questions).
But they also seemed to be exactly what they were against.
Goldman was as fiery and preachy in her stance against Billy Sunday as Billy Sunday was about what she called his "God Idea"; calling anyone who went to hear about it, "unrefined, ignorant, curious and weak enough to be put into a mild state of insanity". Her gospel is self and she's as preachy about it as the ones she criticizes for being preachy.
Maybe its "cool" to agree with some of the things these writers wrote, but perhaps it's not about agreeing or disagreeing, perhaps it's more about looking deeper into what they were so adamant about and seeing the truth of what religion is and does.
Religion in and of itself is like a prison. Religion slaps up fences and gives you the rules. Then it threatens you if you shake the fence or question the rules. It also tends to "rule" by fear, intimidation, sexual abuse, general abuse, and demands of money.
All these are things Christ Himself was furious with when He came. He came swinging a sword. A sword He used to release the prisoners, reveal the religious bullies and to split the hairs between lies and truths. Of course He was hated. He revealed all the dirty religious secrets and more importantly, the dark hearts that kept them. He messed up their perfectly good system that kept the fat, fat and the poor, poor. He revealed that they had it backwards. The poor were the rich, the rich were steeped and even buried in poverty. Poverty of the soul.
Atheist or not, there are the rich and there are the poor.
Poverty of the soul is something the various atheist writers seemed to have in common. none of them (as far as I know) broke through their own fences, their own boundaries to see any other truth. Marx says religion is the opium of the people and encourages them to try it, but take it further.
Goldman twists the story of Prometheus saying that he's bound to the "Rock of Ages"; indicating a god is bound to God? "Unbind Prometheus" she says, and you'll dispel the night and its horrors.
Why not explore the night, the "horrors" (of faith), and possibly see freedom? Her writings shout against the religion she sees and reasons and comes to conclusions about.
But it is the same with so many people bound by religion. Shouting at the night, warning agains the horrors, but never going into the mystery, the darkness, and finding Christ in their own horrors. Finding that they are the horror, the darkness the bound, the blind - they are the opium, they system- being comforted and quieted by what works for them. Safe in their own ideals. Seduced and sedated by religious habits, prayer meetings and the clink of their coins being dropped in the offering plate as it passes. Just enough to let them breathe one more week until they collect their little sins and head back next Sunday for another hit.
Shhhh... close your eyes, nothing to see here. There's a song called "Oceans". One line says "Sprit lead me where my trust is without borders". Without borders. Without fences. Into the darkness. The beatiful mystery.
I tend to be a fearful, not very brave girl, but I find the darkness and mystery of God ever enticing. I trust Him. I've seen the warehouse walls long enough. I have found peace in the mystery, grace in the raw, uncut, not-yet version of my. Beauty in my ugly. I'll never go back. I learned that atheism is as constricting, suffocating and rule binding as religion.
Neither one gives you room to look further or deeper.