Skip to main content

Christian Indifference

By Carl S ~

There are pains that don't go away. You know what I mean. All you have to do is watch survivors of clergy rape or any rape and read about or listen to their experiences. Some survivors are over 80 years old. And fundies like to say they're being persecuted! Anyhow, grievances aren't welcome nowadays (except on TV “reality” programs.) And we're expected to be forgiving (let's not forget forgiving). And we don't want to offend anyone, do we? How boring!

I occasionally have feelings of what once felt like betrayal, at a picnic with my spouse's family. You know how you sit around small talking and confide with family members? An in-law mentioned “God” and asked if I believed in “him”, and I said “No.” Another in-law heard me, and came over. This was my first close encounter with fanaticism. Someone else joined in, so I was trapped between two fundies. Bystanders listened. This went on for some time. I left that room, and went to cry in another, out of frustration. You know what I mean? But it wasn't the assault on my conscience I remember most. It was the silence of my spouse all the while this went on. She just sat there and said nothing, didn't tell them to leave me alone. When I went outside, she didn't join me. Years later, I'm thinking this was due to childhood indoctrination: she was taught you don't interfere when “authorities” are “correcting” someone who questions “the Faith.”

After a while I came for the meal, and everyone behaved normally. This 'afterwards' reminded me of when I was young, of those verbal fights at night, when some family members would get drunk, uninhibited, and attack each other by bringing out their resentments and grievances. The next morning, they behaved as if nothing had happened. Drunk on booze or drunk on Jesus, I guess the pattern is the same.

Anyhow, my stifled emotions could not be held in check for long. When we got home, I let loose out of frustration. No apologies. This was a rant about fanatical beliefs and attacking my morality. When I was done, I looked at my spouse and saw indifference. Add to this, discomfort at my speaking out, as if I was wrong to do it. But that's old history. We've been living hundreds of miles from those relatives for (“How long have we been here now dear?”) almost 19 years now.

Update: Just this summer, six of those original relatives were on their way to a national park and stopped by for a get-together, sharing experiences, photos; as if they'll never change. We went for dinner at a local restaurant, my beloved treating. They went on their way, time constrained and with so much to see. None of that “God-talk.” In a way, this wasn't a surprise; I'd spent part of those intervening years sending them my and others postings from this site. All's well that ends well as a truce, I guess, or as my generation would say, “Cool it.”

Oh I know that old “Blood is thicker than water” saying. Somehow that didn't explain enough about these situations. No, they had to do with me being an 'outsider.' So many years later, I feel that's where I still am and always will be. I think it must be like this in every believer + nonbeliever marriage. The family clan's religion reigns supreme.

Recently, I found an applicable quote from Freud. “A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it.” To that, I will add, cruel. So I'm thinking. If you're an atheist or agnostic and you marry an evangelical or fundie, you have to live with t

It kinda explains how so many of god's saved people, with cold indifference, stood by and watched their Jewish neighbors being hauled off to whatever fate awaited them. If you can't convert them, who cares? I understand one of my distant relatives was Jewish. If so, she might have died in the Nazi extermination camps. Would pro-life Christians oppose abortions if Muslim fetuses are aborted? Hmm.

“It’s very common to hear people say, ‘I'm rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. ‘I find that offensive.’ It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?” So I've developed the bitch attitude to religious sensitivity of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry, who said, “It’s very common to hear people say, ‘I'm rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. ‘I find that offensive.’ It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?” (Gervais says the same with fewer words.)

Maybe you think I'm bitter and angry from all the damage cold Christian indifference is causing societies. Who wouldn't be? There are ways I deal with it. Given enough time, people are almost forced to come around. (I just happen to be impatient.) Things like abolition, the vote for women, acceptance of equal rights, gay rights, stuff like that, are now accepted by the majority. It's like, “of course, what's the big deal?” Sure, human rights are still being rigidly opposed or ignored by the righteous, and so we have to vote out of office whoever advances their agendas, lest they dominate us. The same rigid believers don't care, and would be happy if non-believers “go back into the closet and know their place.” Change takes time. My spouse isn't one of them, and I doubt her family would challenge her love for me today, by repeating their past behavior, even though she's been raised to sit quietly while god's chosen experts tear into anyone who implies they're no morally better than this atheist.

Feel free to not avoid offending. Everyone's offended by some things. Offending people raise social consciousness. They even make us laugh at our own beliefs and biases by pointing out how ridiculous they are. Just don't become accustomed to those Christian frigid fists. Don't be bullied.