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May 2013

Things I No Longer Want To Have To Do As An Atheist

I don’t want to be asked to pray for people. I don’t want to be expected to “join hands” and pray about someone’s illness. I don’t want people that I know to say they’ll pray for me, especially when they know that said prayers have resolved absolutely nothing, in years. I don’t want people to condescendingly say “pray about it” to avoid listening to me because they don’t have the resources to try to problem solve with me or don’t have true concern about me in order to be a listening ear of compassion. I don’t want to associate with people who assume not engaging in prayer rituals for others is equivalent to wishing harm on others. I don’t want to be expected to tweet prayers in response to natural disasters or human-made “terrorism” (which includes imperialism via White supremacist capitalist patriarchy and White male mass violence).

I don’t want to be asked to donate money to churches. I don’t want to associate with people who think that not handing blank checks that I don’t have anyway to churches is the same as wishing harm on people who attend said church. I don’t want to be asked where’s my “church home.” I don’t want to be invited to a church. I don’t want to be a doormat in a Black church so that men who are otherwise oppressed in society can feel like kings in the church. I don’t want to spend all of my time in a place like a church that harms me—the world is already enough.

I don’t want men using their theism and assumption of my theism as an excuse to try to talk to me. I don’t want these same men offering me unsolicited advice or media suggestions based on their extremely patriarchal and sexist theist views. I don’t want men marginalized by race to expect me to accept gender subjugation because of a theism I don’t practice.

I don’t want to rationalize slavery, poverty, rape, child abuse and hunger as things a deity sees but mysteriously ignores since the deity’s ways are “mysterious.” I don’t want to be expected to believe that certain Whites are chosen by a deity and thereby superior to Blacks who’ve suffered and still do. I don’t want to worship a White male deity. I don’t want to worship a deity as a spirit, without a gender or race either. I don’t want to participate in the subjugation and oppression of others because of a book written and modified by men is presumed to be connected to a deity for whose existence cannot be proven. I don’t want the answer to any currently unanswered questions about human existence to be "if the answer is currently unknown, it’s because a deity made it happen, and once later explained by evidence, the deity moves on to being the answer for other unknowns."

I don’t want people who believe in this deity to claim that I am “oppressing” them by rejection of their oppression of me, as if it’s their right. I don’t want to be judged as a person who automatically wishes harm on others if my “good” isn’t shaped by a same set of religious beliefs that also advocates sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of oppression and hatred. I don’t want to be expected to cite platitudes and verses from a collection of writing by men—writing that has no proof of connection to a deity even if said deity exists—as proof of my supposed goodness. I don’t want to be required to only think of the anti-racism and social safety net related sociopolitical roles of The Black Church as an excuse to ignore the institution also as a source of oppression. I don’t want to have to practically daily explain to theists, especially Christians that their personal need or comfort from religion becomes more than personal when it is a tool used by individuals or the State to oppress others. I don’t want to have to explain how statements such as "everyone just respect everyone’s beliefs" obscures theist privilege and unequal political and social footing between varying theisms and then theism itself versus atheism.

I don’t want to read about any more people, especially ones of colour who feel forced to believe in and practice various religions, especially the monotheisms, against their will. I don’t want to read about yet another Black person outcast from their family for not believing in the same religion used to subjugate their ancestors. I don’t want to read about any more people of colour using Bible verses to justify physical abuse of children or viewing them as property not people. I don’t want to be told by Black people with theist privilege that I should accept this subjugation for “the sake of the race” or because Black womanhood has to be shaped by suffering and oppression and nothing else. I don’t want to be told by those with theist privilege that I should just “get over it” and accept everything I listed above, when some of these same people wouldn’t suggest this in the case of race, gender, class or sexuality.

I don’t want to engage in religious rituals where my “inherent evil” as a Black woman is placed center stage, yet those rituals are conducted in a church that would cease to exist in under 30 days without Black women’s labor. I don’t want to give credit to a male god for the centuries of sacrifices made by human Black women. I don’t want to be required to participate in my own oppression. I don’t want to even explain why I shouldn’t be required to participate in my own oppression.

Related Posts: Black, Atheist and Hiding, Thoughts About Atheism and Intersectional Feminism

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