Friday, August 19, 2011

Those Angry Atheists!


I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi



I recently had a Facebook show-down with my ex-sister in law. (And others who had to put their two-cent about religion on my page) I have posted the positive replies and the supportive responses here as well as the stupid crap that people feel they HAD to say. Here is how it went.

I posted this status update on Facebook:

I just realized a bunch of people deleted me as a friend from Facebook. Pshh What was it? That fact that I am bisexual and speak out for gay rights? Or wait.. maybe it was the post about not beating your kids? No? Ohhh It was the fact that I am not a Bible thumping conservative? Oh well. No big loss! If you dump people who have been your friend that long because they think differently, you are more close-minded that I thought!!

Now, I am all for people stating their opinion and disagreeing with me. But I DON’T appreciate people telling me how to feel, how to believe, and what kinds of things I should or should not post on my OWN Facebook page. Here are some of the responses I received:

1) Friend Joyce: “No way I'm deleting you as a friend! I love you and to be completely honest I love you more now that you're being honest about who you are :) I’m too old for lying about who or what or when or why or where LOL just tell me the truth...I’m a big girl...in lot of ways :) “

2) Friend Amy: “good riddance. There’s a reason spring cleaning feels good. (I know it's not spring but you know what I mean.) Adios, nut-jobs.”

3) Friend Step Up: I ♥ this post! Keep being you!

4) Friend Eric Ragle: Florida sounds just as backwards as Tennessee. Stay strong! You're awesome.

5) Friend Laura Caton-David: As a native East Tennessean (now in FL), I can tell you that in many ways it is just as backwards or even more so!

6) A friend and former boss: Lenroy Jones ‎...can't get rid of me that easy :-) much love coming from Lexington! You’re still the beautiful person that I met in Jacksonville Florida! Awesome Lady!!! ..and highly intelligent. Me back: Lori Graham Atkinson Thanks Lenroy! :) That made my day!!!

7) Former student Kelsey: Love you, Ms. Atkinson :) You've always been one of my biggest Role-Models ♥

8) Cousin Jennifer: Hey You, Lori! I won't leave you...I am totally the proudest sister of a gay man and am very grateful to have an open mind! I love you, cousin of mine :)

9) Cousin Jim: Lori, there is a God as I know deep down that even when things are not going right as they rarely do, God is there. I can't prove it anymore than I can prove the existence of infinity. The God we all hoped for and believed in as a child has been replaced by the God of mercy who lets us learn from our decisions. Pray for mercy, be merciful, and you will see God act in your life. I'll keep you in my prayers.


10) My response to Jim: Hi Cuz, I respect your right to believe in a god. I like things that can be proven and I like evidence. I don't like blindly following something because of a vague feeling or because of a deep down feeling. When I see some evidence of a god, I will believe it. Thanks for your input though.

11) Cousin Jim’s response back: I understand Lori, I'm an Engineer and have studied science my whole life and still can't find evidence for many of the theories that have been put forth. Get under the stars for several hours and keep looking, if you don't believe in God after spending several hours looking at creation and trying to imagine that it was all created randomly from nothing with no beginning, you must be looking at something else. There is nothing vague about the feeling you should get when contemplating the vastness of the universe. Maybe a bottle of wine will help?

12) My Response back again to Cousin Jim: Cuz Jim, I live way out in the country with a lot of trees and an acre of land. My son and I love to lie out on the hammock and look at the stars. We love to name them, talk about them, etc... The feeling I get is one of amazement at the beauty. I don't give credit to a god for the beauty any more than I give credit to a god for my awesome son! Just because something is awesome and beautiful and can't be explained by science, does not mean we have to "fill in the blanks" with a god.

13) Cuz Jim back to me: Not just "a god" the one and only God; Jesus Christ as taught and preached by the only institution revealed to preach Him, that, of course, being the Catholic Church Lori. Set up by God himself to teach us. He's as real as it gets and unlike a lot of scientific ideas, Jesus Christ has stood the test of time. Look into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and what truth they teach before you listen to all the "modern" ideas, most of which will be gone with the wind before you know it. Truth; whether it be scientific or religious can never be contradicted by truth, there is nothing to be afraid of.

14) My response back to Jim: I don't agree with you, Jim. But I respect your right to believe the way you do.

15) Cousin Jim’s final words: I love you Cousin Lori, hope to see you soon! It was a lot of fun getting to know you the little bit of time that we did while you were here. By the way, you don't have to agree with me Lori Graham Atkinson, I'm just a flawed guy trying to make my way in the great big sandbox.


16) Other friends:

I think you're awesome, Lori!

Not me lady!!!! We haven't even met but I respect you and you stay on my Facebook!!!!!!

For what it's worth, you're still one of my favorite people.

AMEN SISTER!! Good for you! If someone doesn't like who you are or your thoughts, they can go piss off. :)

(Best friend and more... Mel) I understand all of your views on religion, or whatever point you're trying to make to Lori. You say you love her and then try to push your own beliefs down her throat. Do you honestly think you get her to quit believing what she does by being pushy? Probably not. No more than she can make you abandon your beliefs. Why not try something new. How about simply saying I love you no matter what you believe, or who you are. I am here whenever you need a shoulder. I don't know...just a thought. Here's a little bit of education for a few of you that like to use the word 'CHOICE'. Being gay, bisexual, straight, transgendered or whatever is not a choice. That's why it's called a lifestyle NOT a “choicestyle. “

17) Ex sis-in-law, Myrna: I'm not dumping you! God isn't dumping you, either! Love yourself enough so that it doesn't matter if those you think should love you, don't. I miss the happy, joyful Lori with a great sense of humor. Reading angry posts all the time makes me want to sign off FB. Just my thoughts! Love you!
18) My reply to sis-in-law Myrna: Myrna, If you were in my situation, you would be angry too. I have LOST MOST OF MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY because of religion and ignorance. Please DO take me of Facebook if you can't handle the good, the happy, the angry and the rest of me. I am still the same Lori that you helped with birthing Angie. I am the same Lori that loved and took care of Helen when she was ill. I am the same Lori that laughed and had fun with you and Chuck when I was still with Joe. I am the same Lori- only more outspoken and I WILL NOT be silenced by people when I am having a difficult time. I keep Facebook as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. I also feel that MY page is MY page and I can vent when I want to vent. If people do not SPEAK UP and STAND UP for injustice and ignorance than it will continue. I LOVE MYSELF enough to speak my mind. Sitting by quietly is not the way to accomplish change. I love you Myrna, and I will always see you as my sister-in-law, but please know I will understand if my FB posts upset you and you delete me as a friend. p.s. I no longer believe there is a "god." If there was a god, so much injustice would not be going on in the world. If this "god" is all powerful, then he/she/it needs to step up and start doing some good in the world!

19) Ex sis-in-law back: Lori, I'm going to say this again and I hope you hear me. I LOVE YOU! You are my friend. I'm not going to remove you as a friend on FB or in life. It isn't that your posts upset me as much as I miss the balance of good happy thoughts along with your personal views on life and politics, religion and loyalties. I don't see happy Lori anymore. If you weren't my sis-in-law, I wouldn't bother to offer my thoughts. I'm sad you renounce God because I do and always have believed He is the only One who has the answers you are looking for. I just hate to see you go through life as an 'angry person'. It will suck the life out of you. Of course, you can have your 'voice' on things and issues that you are passionate about, but you were never taught the love of God whose Peace passes all understanding. I hope you will have as open of a mind about that as you hope others will have about your choices and sexuality. There is a lot of ignorance and intolerance about Christianity and relationship with God as well. Be forgiving! Sending you big Hugs and I will continue to pray for you to find happiness and peace.

20) Me back to sis-in-law: Myrna: I miss the old Myrna that was less conservative, more fun, more open minded and accepting and less judgmental, but I don't go on your page and tell you that. Why? It is your page and your voice. Please don't pretend to know how many versions of "god" I have had crammed down my throat. I WAS taught about god in every way, shape, and form and I have found it all to be a bunch of shit. That is part of my anger. I will pull out of the anger and move ahead, but I need supportive friends who understand this. Many, I should say MOST, Christians deserve the intolerance because they try to cram god down the faces of others in every aspect, including politics. Please don't tell me to be forgiving. You have no idea how it feels to be me.

The same day of this exchange, I came home to find my 14-year-old cat, Casper dead. So I was not having a good day anyway. But the point I would like to make here is this: Please don’t tell people how to feel when they are having a difficult time. Also, trying to cram your religion down someone’s throat is NOT going to make them post more positive and happy Facebook statuses. For the record, I don’t think my posts are very negative. When I am going through a tough time (Like a recent breakup with my girlfriend, or having to take my ex BF for to court because he would NOT LEAVE ME ALONE) I was quiet and did not post much on Facebook.

My choices when reading these kinds of responses (the annoying ones) were 1) Ignore them 2) act like I agree with them and not let them know they made me angry 3) Be myself, realize this is my Facebook page and tell people what I NEED to say. Obviously, you see I chose number 3!

Many anti-theists have written about why we are angry. We have a good reason to be! Here is one of the best explanations of why atheists are angry by Greta Christina.


I would like to add a few of my own reasons that I am angry.

1) When I took my ex- partner of nine years to court for harassing me, jeopardizing my job by stopping by, emailing and leaving notes on my car, my father, my very own DAD, wrote a letter FOR my ex. Not only did he, or my mom, not support me, but they wrote a letter FOR the man who has made my life miserable. WHY? Because they don’t agree with my “lesbian lifestyle” and they think I have gone off the deep end because I came out as an atheist. THIS MAKES ME ANGRY. But most of all, it hurts me. Some days I cry every day because I feel a major loss. If my parents had died, it would have been sad. But having them ignore me, and basically disown me is far more hurtful. Anger is a natural stage of mourning. So get off my back!

2) I am angry because I live in the Deep South and I am a minority any place I go. There are very few atheists or bisexuals where I live. It is lonely and I often feel angry when I am in a conversation with someone and they ASSUME that I believe in their god. I DON’T!

3) When I want to put a post on Facebook, I get the above responses. The ones that make the angriest are the ones that, again, ASSUME that everyone agrees with them. Like this: “You were never taught the love of God whose Peace passes all understanding. I hope you will have as open of a mind about that as you hope others will have about your choices and sexuality. There is a lot of ignorance and intolerance about Christianity and relationship with God as well. Be forgiving! Sending you big Hugs and I will continue to pray for you to find happiness and peace.” PLEASE don’t tell people what they were or were not taught! It tends to make them upset, and yes, angry! Don’t tell someone to be forgiving either. I will forgive… in my own time. And, if you want to know how I feel about someone telling me they will pray for me. Read this.

Finally, I feel that I am not defined by my anger. I AM angry sometimes and sometimes I feel at peace. But just because I am angry, does not mean I have to be defined as an "angry person." I am going through the motions and going through the stages in the best way that I can. Please, please, please people who claim to be Christians: If you want to come across like your Christ, then stop judging and start showing love and compassion. Whether or not someone believes the same way that you do.

The longer I am out of Christianity, the more I can clearly see how much of a cult it is. I will NEVER go back and I feel freer every day. Angry? Sometimes. Get over it!!







12 comments:

  1. Wow buddy so epic. just so ya know, all the cool atheist live in Nor Cal and ya wouldn't be in the minority here. I'd be angry also, in fact any normal human would be and I wouldn't trust anyone that wouldn't be. Lastly...are we FB friends. I'm Kriss Cam on facebook (that is my alias. If you see the six pack, then that is me). Awesome buddy.

    Kriss

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  2. Lori - i'd say that Nor Cal and then all the way up the coast if a great place to live for folks who are actually open minded and want to live and let live.

    anger is vital - last weekend i was invited to paint with my daughter and before i knew it i was painting a very angry canvas and being asked who i was angry at and then sitting with that anger until i realized right then it was God i was angry at - kinda shook me up a bit but totally understandable considering the year (and especially the summer) i'm having.

    no one has a right to tell either of us what to feel - just hold on

    and i'm so sorry to hear about Casper (((HUGS)))

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  3. Why can't I leave comments on my own god damned (hehe) blog?

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  4. Let me try this again. lol
    @Kriss I wish dude!! I would LOVE to live there! I like your blog and I can relate to the struggles with being more outspoken and more live and let live. I sway bewtween the two!
    @Deb, I went to your blog and left a few comments. Girl, I am so sorry you have having a shitty time too. :( Big hugs! Thanks for mentioning my cat. So sad.

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  5. It does make sense to me that someone, knowing how our society is, would openly immerse themselves in two controversial lifestyles at the same time and then be upset when the social attitude is exactly what you already knew it would be. It makes no more sense than throwing yourself off a building and then being pissed when you hit the ground. This does not mean that I don't sympathize with your plight. It only means that if you knowingly piss into the wind, don't bitch when you get wet. I hope your life turns around and you find the acceptance you seek. This will not happen until you stop crusading for the cause and start crusading for you. Not one of your cyber friends are going to send money. They'll encourage you rigt over the cliff if they think that's what you want to hear. Real friends tell you you're doing some fucked up shit because they care about your future. No, being bi or atheist is not fucked up. Putting your life in a constant state of chaos is because the price is not paid by you alone.

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  6. Dear Mr. Stalker who refuses to follow court orders to leave me alone,

    NO CONTACT means not even anonymous comments on my blog. YOU are MOST of the reason my life is fucked up right now and I will NEVER forgive you for the pain and stress you have caused me.

    I am not asking my "cyber friends" (as you have always liked to call them) for money. I am only asking for their support and understanding which is why I write this blog. You think everything is about money. It's not!

    Whether you think I am going through some stage, or just trying to put myself in the middle of turmoil or controversy, I really don't care!

    You have never accepted me as I am. I am sure it must be painful to have an ex girlfriend turn to women and come out of the closet she was in for so long. I am sure that hurts your tender ego, but I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!!!

    People who feel laws in their state are affected by others who hate and try to keep them down will always be in the middle of chaos. I am not inviting it, but I am not a big chicken shit like you who hides behind an anonymous posting to make a point.

    And you should talk about pissing in the wind and getting wet. Really? You stalked and harassed me for one full year with warning after warning that I was not going to allow it. Then I took you to court and you whine about how horrible I am to do that. Piss in wind=get wet you ass hole. I don't care what you think and I DO NOT want to hear from you again. Try writing me again on my blog and I am filing a report against you. I don't even care if it messes up your new job.

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  7. I so badly wanted to reply to that wonderful comment up there... But I will hold my outspoken tongue. Just one thing... you have EVERY right to be pissed, angry, hateful, what the hell ever you want to be.

    For any Christian to have the right to judge us and preach the bible, that they usually know very minimal about, then yeah... we can be pissed. ESPECIALLY you! Of all people I know that are athiests, you are the most honorable one of all. I know most of your story, I know things that have been said to you and it fucking sickens me. (Excuse my language) You are bisexual and an athiest... but there are people committing crimes on the streets that get less hatred blown up their ass than you do. Makes no sense to me. Sadly, I hate coming here and reading your blogs. I get so angry and my temper goes through the roof. It disgusts me to see how you are treated. It's sickening to see friends AND family judge you for all of this. I've told you once before and I'll say it again... you are one of the few TRULY strong women I know. You're strength may not be seen to others, but it shines quite brightly every time you actually DO write about all of these "helpful" things people have said. Helpful? fuck... I'm just going to stop. lol.

    I have much respect for you and all you do for people like me who had trouble coming out about being an athiest. THANK YOU!

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  8. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I know that my anger is a stage, but my blog helps me get it out. Kind of like my therapy. Do you feel like your blog is that way for you? I am sorry if it makes you feel anger, it is not my intent.

    I thank you for saying I am strong. I suppose I am. Lately, I just don't feel very strong. I feel very alone and overwhelmed and don't have a lot of hope for my future. But I guess me still being here means I am strong.

    I was raised to be quiet, be humble, be meek, men are the authority, etc... I have been in the closet for all of my adult life and I am tired to pretending to be someone I am NOT! I am tired to sitting quietly by while inside I am angry at the injustices of the world. When I read stories about kids, teens or adults who are bullied, beaten or killed simply because of who they are (whether it be LGBTQ or Atheist or whatever)I feel angry. But feeling angry is not going to be enough. We have to talk about things. We have to let others know this is not acceptable. Being out as Bi and an atheist was really not even my choice, someone outed me and my blog. This was painful. All of it has been painful to lose the love of my parents and most of my siblings has been devastating. But now that I am out, have lost all support of people in my family and many friends, I figure, what the hell. What the fuck do I have to lose? NOTHING! I have a lot to gain: Being a support system for others, letting others know it is okay to be who they are, finding new friends and family who love me as I am, feeling like I am being true to myself- finally!

    What Mr.Stalker does not realize is that I used to admire and look up to him. We used to talk about politics and religion and many other things. He was one of the reasons I started my blog, he is one of the reasons I stared losing my faith. Isn't it funny that he puts that comment up there? He tries to act like he is christian around my family and others, but he does not believe in god either. He must hate me for daring to speak my mind. He must hate my outspoken blog and the way I am being true to myself. I don't care anymore.

    He came to the ONE place that is ALL MINE and is trying to intimidate me into thinking that he can bully me on here. He can't. He may have been able to convince my family, my brother that is some great guy, he may have been the reason they found out a lot of things about me. But he is NOT going to hurt me any more or keep me from speaking my mind.

    Thank for being supportive and letting me know that you respect me. It means a lot. And guess what? You are a real life friend- not a "cyber friend" as stalker likes to call them. Some of my cyber friends have gotten me through the worst time in my life by listening, caring and loving me just as I am. They are true friends. The ironic thing about this is that Mr. Stalker and I met online. pshh

    I love you girl and you can talk, chat, text or write to me anytime!
    Lori

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  9. Yeah, I can't exactly say I like Mr. Stalker so much... but then again I don't really like many people anymore.

    I couldn't agree more about my blog being a way to express and let out certain angers I hold in. I'm not a person that can speak easily about emotions or such... for I like to think they no longer exist. BUT, my blog is something that is mine and if someone chooses to read it, then you are choosing to read MY views, MY beliefs, and everything I wish to write about. Judge if you want, but don't force anything on me for I'm not going to change what I want to believe in for someone else.

    Thank you again. and one last thing, I love that we keep up with each other on this blog for it does help us keep in contact and stay in touch on more than just the daily life... these blogs are who we are and what we stand for. It's a great thing we both have going on.

    I love you too and hope we continue to keep in contact..."cyber friend" (:

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  10. Dear Anonymous AKA Mr. Stalker (or can I just call you John because who do you think you're kidding?),

    Why are you so certain that Lori's friends like me (the hated cyber-friend) aren't here for Lori in any way she needs? You've never met me. You don't know me. And you sure don't know the extent of my friendship with Lori or what I am or am not willing to do for her. I love Lori. I would do anything for her. And yes, I met her online. BFD! If that blows your mind then the next part really will...

    The main thing I want to say to you, John, relates to this part of what you wrote above in response to Lori's blog post:

    "It does make sense to me that someone, knowing how our society is, would openly immerse themselves in two controversial lifestyles at the same time and then be upset when the social attitude is exactly what you already knew it would be."

    I'm not sure what society you are living in but you must have gotten there in a time machine. In the society I live in (which is in the year 2011 in the Southeastern United States), being gay and atheist isn't a big deal. It isn't something one should expect repercussions for. It is actually so socially accepted that people who identify themselves as gay or atheist have laws protecting them from discrimination based on these things. Why would laws like those be needed? Oh, to protect people from hateful people like you.

    Neither being gay or atheist are reasons for anyone in our society to be the target of hate or harassment or any controversy based on those 2 things alone. And just so you know since you seem to be a little behind on the most current science regarding sexuality, people do not CHOOSE homosexuality or atheism. Atheism is actually the "default setting" for a human. Religion can be taught and people can be brainwashed into believing things but a person isn't born believing in Jesus or God or any deity really. It's taught. As far as being gay goes, one is born with their sexual preference. People can be taught to repress their true sexual preference or shamed into denying it but that doesn't change what it really is. People can choose to repress homosexuality or repress acting upon homosexuality, but nobody chooses to be born homosexual.

    One more thing, John. When I told my mother about what you did to betray Lori and what you got her father to do and when I told my mom how Lori's own parents have treated her after being lied to by you and egged on by you, my mother cried. It took my moms breath away as I spoke, as she listened to the story of how Lori's own parents have rejected her unless she go back pretending she is straight and Christian.

    My mother cried out, "how can Lori's own mother, the woman who gave birth to her, not show love to her? How can she not hold her daughter and tell her she loves her every minute that she is able? Her daughter is a gift and she is taking her for granted. Lori is her child; her little girl... how can she?" And then my mother just sobbed. She sounded like someone sucked the air right out of her chest. And it is heartbreaking. And I blame much of that on you and your meddling.

    You do not seem to know what is acceptable behavior for a partner, John, just as Lori's parents do not seem to know how to show unconditional love. You do not deserve to be in Lori's life. She is worthy of love exactly how she is.

    You should be ashamed of yourself. And you should show more respect for the court and the Judge who has ordered you to stay away from Lori, physically and in cyberspace. I think the judge would be appalled to know you are continuing to try to harass Lori. Luckily Lori has the law on her side. Maybe you can get her parents to reject her but her rights are at least protected in a court of law. Thank God.

    Sincerely,

    Amy

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  11. Oh, Lori, if you lived near Myrtle Beach I would SO love to hang out with you and pick your brain. I am a black liberal atheist in the heart of Dixie who has an awful lot of conservative friends on the "Book of Faces", and I know exactly where you are coming from. Nothing drives me nuttier than bible-bangers who want to tell me how to feel on my own page. I'm perfectly able to self-censor on someone else's page , but on mine, all bets are off. I say what I feel and my true friends can handle it....those who can't can de-friend or hide me at their discretion.
    I spent a lot of years conforming for other people's expectations, but no more. I am who I am, and I can't be anyone else.
    LOVE your blog, so glad I found it!
    ~DC Martin

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  12. I just found your blog after doing a search for "Christians with sexual hangups." I'm in the Savannah area and am thrilled to find out about another atheist. I'd love to be a Facebook friend to you, so as soon as I can figure out how to do that without giving up your privacy or mine, I will. Back to the reading!

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