This is the moment I've been waiting for all my life. The moment when the people rise up, take a stand against greed and corruption, and truly change the direction we are headed. And now that the moment has come...I don't give a shit.
The Occupy Movement has literally swept the world, with people standing in solidarity, outraged (finally!) by our collective economic state and the reasons behind it. I should be moved, I should be impressed, I should be there. But I'm not, and here's why.
WE are the reason our economies are failing. WE are the reason for the greed, the corruption, the bailouts and the loopholes. I know you don't want to hear that, I know you want to jump up and down and yell about how unfair it is that the 1% is holding all the wealth while we struggle to buy basic necessities. And you're right, it's not fair. But think for a moment about where those fatcats get their money. From us. Our insatiable lust for the newest smart phone, the latest fashion, the fastest car, a bigger TV - that is what fuels the people you are protesting against. Our demand to have the latest thing at the lowest price is what has created this monster. Corporations couldn't get rich and powerful if we weren't buying their shit. Banks couldn't fuck around with our money if we stopped handing it to them in piles, hoping their investments get us just a little richer. And the government couldn't keep creating loopholes and tax breaks for them if we stopped fucking electing them. As long as we keep doing what we're doing, nothing will change.
I admire your solidarity, and I agree with your principle. Now let's take this somewhere. Let's use this collective power, this passion and this commitment to actually change things. Let's go home and occupy our lives. We need to change our way of thinking. Stop being so fucking greedy and materialistic. Share and trade things instead of buying new. Buy locally. Support farmer's markets. Cut up our credit cards. Buy used cars, or better yet, a bus pass or a bike. Volunteer at the soup kitchen and donate our old jackets to charity. Elect people who will represent us as a whole, instead of who agrees with us about abortion. We have a chance to really make a difference, here. Let's not squander it.
I am tired of racism and sexism and homophobia. I am tired of skewed statistics and outright lies. I'm tired of hatred dressed as righteousness, I'm tired of innuendo passed off as fact, I'm tired of unfunny jokes and unfair slights. I'm exhausted by the perpetual misconceptions, the ridiculous stereotypes and the condemnations to hell.
Particularly tired, though, am I of bullshit. If you are a racist or a sexist, a homophobe or a bigot, say it. Don't hide behind your Bible or your God or your upbringing or your location. Don't pretend that you are speaking for Jesus when you bash gays. Don't pretend you are speaking for your entire race when you spew racist garbage. Don't pretend that you are advocating family values with your sexist philosophy. If you're a bigot, stand up and say it! If you really believe all of the vile, hateful things you say, you shouldn't have to dress it up as religion or nationalism or tradition. You should be proud to stand up and declare your bigotry!
And, for the love of all that is good, do not say "I don't hate the person, I hate the sin/culture/whatever", because that's fucking bullshit. If you hate something that a person has no control over, if you hate a sexuality or a skin color, you do indeed hate the people that exhibit those things. You are condemning part of the essence of that person. You are letting them know that because of something they can't help, because of something beautiful, unique and harmless about them, you feel they aren't as good as you are. You are saying that being from a certain country, having a certain skin color, being a particular gender or being attracted to a particular gender is wrong. Think about that for a second. Think about, first of all, how fucking stupid that sounds. And then think about how ridiculous it is to say "I don't hate those people, I just hate how they are". Apply that standard to anything else, and you'll see how utterly moronic it is.
"I don't hate dogs, I just hate that they bark and have fur and want to play and need love."
"I don't hate chocolate, I just think it's an abomination for sugar and cocoa to come together."
"I don't hate roses, but if my daughter brings one home, I'll disown her."
Makes sense, right?
It astonishes and appalls me that bigotry is still so prevalent, but the fact that you assholes now need to lie about your bigotry gives me some hope. You, who were once feared, are now cowards - hiding behind Gods and feigning social concerns, because you know your opinions are shameful. You know that, with each passing year, your membership dwindles, your actions become less and less acceptable, your words are more often met now with ridicule than agreement. You know that science and reason and education have ripped all of your arguments to shreds, and, best of all, we know that bigotry is to no benefit.
We are evolving, and you will be left behind.
I recently joined a "Religion & Spirituality" discussion group on Facebook. It's been awhile since I've allowed myself to get involved in such debates, as I find they usually degenerate into a few atheists and a few Christians and Muslims slinging generic insults at one another. Since I am none of the above, and am interested in actual discussions, I bored quickly of those kinds of groups. This one seemed a bit promising, though, so I gave it a shot.
As an agnostic, I am generally shuffled into the "atheist" category and attacked immediately with preaching and threats of hell. That, I can deal with, but what's worse is when I can sense that someone genuinely believes that I am doomed to hell and hurts for me. That is hard to take, especially since my Mother is a Christian, and I can only imagine the worry she feels for me.
I worry also. I worry that religion is tearing our world apart. I worry that the focus has been put on the wrong things. I worry that while people argue over who God is and what his opinion on homosexuality is, they are overlooking the vastness and beauty of our universe.
My problem is not, I repeat NOT with the concept of God. One would have to know a lot more than I do to claim there is no God, and until we have a much better understanding of ourselves and our universe, I think it would be foolish to claim otherwise. Those who have searched for truth and come to believe in God have my utmost respect - not for their conclusions, but for their earnest search.
My agnosticism is not based on a disdain for the concept of God or an atheistic requirement for empirical evidence - rather, it is based on the complete opposite. When I look at the vastness of the universe, contemplate the complexity of every living thing, and indeed, even the non-living, it strikes me as self-evident that whoever, whatever, set this in motion is far beyond our own comprehension. It is not something that can be summed up in a book of parables and a handful of rules. It is not something that can be obeyed, it is not something that cannot be personified.
If one believes in God, one must also believe that God created not just Earth, but the entire universe. One must believe that every star, planet, sun, moon, every galaxy, was created with intention and purpose. We have a beautiful and mind-bogglingly large universe around seemingly just us, and we are squabbling over shellfish and dinosaur bones and two dudes getting married. I have a hard time believing that this was the intent.
Religion, all religion, tends to be based around a single event in the life of a single human - the crucifixion of Jesus, the enlightenment of the Buddha, the revelations of Muhammad. These single events are given enormous significance, and the recognition of them is seen as vital to our salvation. I tend to look at it from a more abstract angle. When I ponder these things, I picture the earth as seen from space - I see this small planet, surrounded by many other planets, stars and moons, and it seems to me that no one life is significant. Some lives have influenced our own, yes. Some lives have been given for us, yes. But it seems to me the real significance lies not in a single life but in all life, and the event we should be revering is existence itself.
Wherein I say
whatever I want.