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Religion Redux
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The holidays are always good for at least one thing: arguing with your family.

And each year it seems I take a step further away from religion while my parents become more and more dogmatic. So what to do? Continue to play the charade? That's what most families do.

I still bow my head when they pray over the food. I've still bought everybody Christmas presents and taken some for myself. But celebrating Christmas is pretty hypocritical for an avowed agnostic, don't you think?

I guess I'm tired of being in the minority, of not being seen as someone with a legitimate viewpoint, but rather as a potential convert, or a fence-sitter, or someone who doesn't believe in anything.

Well fuck that.

Most people who want to convert others haven't paused for half a second to consider whether maybe they've got things all wrong. I didn't come to the place I am ideologically by lapping up whatever was put on my plate and asking for seconds. I've thought about it, read about it, talked about it, wrestled with it...for years. And I continue to do so. I don't like being condescended to by people who haven't put an ounce of introspection into thier own beliefs.

As I've pointed out here before, agnosticism isn't fence-sitting. It's an honest acknowledgement of a particular type of ignorance. I don't presume to have peeked in every corner of the known cosmos. Believe it or not, there are lots of things I don't know. And guess what? That's all right. You do the best you can and keep striving for more knowledge and understanding. But I certainly don't think the height of understanding was a book full of supernatural stories written thousands of years ago. When it comes to world religions, I haven't seen a single one that doesn't remind me of a sideshow huckster's routine. When it comes to god, I claim ignorance, but I'm damn sure not iffy when it comes to religion.

And as far as beliefs, I've got plenty. I believe in truth, and I believe that the best way to get there is slow and steady, picking a little corner here or there and mulling it over with skepticism and scrutiny until the you've got a reasonable answer that fits all the evidence. And then, most crucially, asking anyone who cares to to double-check you. I believe in goodness, and in evil, because I've experienced both. I believe that all people, everywhere, should have a certain basic level of human rights. I believe that societies in which power is distributed function more effectively and humanely than those in which power is concentrated in one or a few. And I didn't need a holy text to teach me these things. In fact, most so-called holy texts contradict many of these principles.

I guess I'm just tired of being looked down upon for having a belief structure that doesn't revolve around the same shallow monotheistic platitudes that most people buy into. I'm tired of people continually demanding that I respect their unsubstantiated supernaturalism when nothing but contempt is demonstrated for my beliefs.

I'm just pissed and tired...but I suppose I just need to get used to it, 'cause it ain't gonna change anytime soon.

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