I’ve returned to the topic of feminism and religion once more. I find myself struggling with this topic, mostly in how I want to present this on the blog and I apologize for continuing to be so indecisive in these posts, asking you to read all this when I’m saying very little.
A few readers were kind enough to share some of their own favorite blogs and articles on the subject, and I’m finding those very informative, but there’s a lot to wade through and think about. I don’t want to simply re-blog or borrow insightful posts from others by attaching them to my blog.
I also refuse to simply rant about fundamentalist Christian beliefs that embrace convoluted patriarchal ideals that set my female and feminist teeth on edge, so leaving feminism aside for a bit, let me speak as someone addressing religion in general. I think that this is the only way for me to start this process, to simply put my views out there and then build on those views from the standpoint of feminist interpretation within religion itself.
I have already stated that I am an atheist. The formal definition of this word: someone lacking belief in a god(s). Personally, I can easily state that until such time that an entity appears before me I will continue to hold firm to my stance that neither a Christian god exists, nor do any other belief systems deities. Also, I am firmly grounded in the belief that it is not a matter of stating that one must disprove existence, leaving open a possibility that such an entity exists, but one must prove with clear evidence that any divine being has ever, or continues to be, extant in any form.
Religion, or spiritual belief systems are a creation of man, and I don’t necessarily mean man in the literal sense here. I mean humankind. I believe that belief systems, with all their associated traditions and myths, and figureheads, and rituals, and rites were created to provide many differing, and yes even useful, tools for humankind within a cultural and social context.
Belief in a godlike power can provide strength in times of crisis. Belief in the same power or figure can provide a sense of community or belonging, and be a springboard to bring people together in shared a faith that something better, something greater exists. Belief can provide hope, calm fear, and even seem to explain the unexplainable. It makes perfect sense to me that early cultures, early civilizations turned to gods, deities, ritual, and spirituality of all kinds to combat what they didn’t understand about death, or the natural world and its destructive force.
Currently however, logic and pragmatism tells me that to perpetuate a need for humankind to continue to believe in a divine entity goes against a great deal of very plausible, highly probable scientific theory. Theory does not constitute fact, I understand that, and we can refer back to my statement on waiting for a god to appear before me as truly acceptable proof of a divine.
I also fully believe that mankind came to understand rather quickly that belief systems could be used to control. What may have begun as a way of building strength in faith could easily be used to expand the power of a few over a larger majority, especially if the few could use fear, or shame, or coercion, to twist a concept originally meant to bring peace or remove fear, into rules enforced by a vengeful deity ready and willing to bring down judgment on anyone who did not follow the word of divine law. Divine power, held high over a community, establishes the superiority of those who are able to interpret the supposed words and laws of the divine. The less that this superiority is questioned, the greater the power established by the human leaders becomes, and in turn, the more oppression is then allowed to grow and be accepted as normal, or just, or needed.
It must be obvious then, because I lack belief in the existence of a Christian god figure, that I would also find a book of teachings, credited as being the true words of this divine entity, to be in reality a book written by men who placed themselves in positions of power and superiority with an ultimate goal to control. The bible is a folktale of grand proportions. It contains stories that serve one purpose: to direct people to live in ways defined by and enforced under the auspices of the divine. In truth it is mortal man who we can thank for creation myths, and the codes manifested within the pages of text directing obedience and worship of a non-existent god.
I choose to stop here. My intent with this post is, above all else, to lay out a basic insight into my defined views as an atheist. I don’t carry a card, or partake in groups that espouse atheism, or read blogs with atheist viewpoints. What you read above is an honest account, in my own words, although I realize that those words are rather simplistic in nature. Writing this post in this way was the easiest way for me to put myself out there to all of you. I believe this may be the first time that I have actually stated my viewpoint, for the record, if you will.
I hope that you can respect my lack of belief, as I will strive to accept and respect the faith that many of you have in formal religion. It is not my intent to tell you what or who to put your faith and trust in and I can understand that faith is an integral aspect for many.
I thank you all for being patient with me, even as I flounder around trying to make sense of, and bring about some sort of cohesive discourse.
Finally, if these posts lack focus from here on out you all have my sincere permission to remind me that rambling is counter-productive and no one wants to read repeated jibber-jabber.