Thursday, May 10, 2007

the "evil" atheist email

i work for a small business, and the owner of this business is very openly "all about jesus." of course i have no problem with this, save a few uncomfortable instances where the subject comes up in corporate meetings (uncomfortable more because the rantings make no sense - not solely due to the god factor). but throughout the last few weeks, i've had a feeling that this boss is trying to feel me out. she's saying such things as "so... i have no idea where you stand on issues like this... (long pause) but as you can tell, god is very important in my life. of course, it's none of my business where you're coming from... (another long pause) but..." etcetera. the conversations seem very proselytizing and baited, and i've never taken the worm more than replying back with a simple "i don't discuss religion or politics much in the workplace." there have been a few days where this type of situation has unfolded, and it's sometimes not so easy to let slide.

now let's fast forward to yesterday...

yesterday, i received a forwarded email from this owner/boss. it was one of those ridiculous chain letters that is really a joke for rush limbaugh's in-crowd, but you get a sense some people read it as if it's a true story. it was an infamous email that actually began being circulated some time ago, possibly even a couple years ago. let me know if you've heard this before:

- - - - -

THE ATHEIST AND THE MARINE
( [Renee Puryear] This doesn't get any better)

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between
assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of
the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the
ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to
the ceiling and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, then I want you
to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes
went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am God. I'm still
waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got
out of his Chair, went up to the professor, an d cold-cocked him;
knocking him off the plat form. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The ot her
students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence.
The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the
Marine and asked, "What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do
that?" The Marine calmly replied, "God was too busy today
protecting America 's soldiers who are protecting your right to say
stupid shit and act like an asshole. So, He sent me."

THIS IS GOOD, KEEP IT GOING

- - - - -

there you go. that's what the owner of this company - my jesus-loving boss - sent me, her atheist employee. an email where the punchline of the joke is that someone with my (lack of) beliefs is a stupid and an asshole. huzzah!

i get a little bothered when the p.c. mentality goes a too far, but you have to agree with me - this is unprofessional and rude. can you imagine if i had sent a joke to coworkers where the tag line were a punching out and lambasting of a christian? ...and what is it with this stereotype that our service men and women are jesus warriors (what about Pat Tillman?)? ...and what is it with this mentality that has painted our college and university professors as ranting, ACLA badge-wearing, atheistic, liberals – the pejorative "cultural elite"??? So much for asking questions about the world, and thinking philosophically once in a while.

but i digress... my feelings aren't the subject of this post - i know this will sound funny, but i did get over the email just about right away. what's really important to me here is what most people think about someone like me - an atheist. what say you - those of faith, or those without? does the word "atheist" strike a reaction at all? what do you think about the work situation i just spoke of?

5 comments:

Karen said...

Hey Matt -- so I'm a little late in the game on your blog. Sorry! But, I thought that, as president of my church council, I was qualified to comment on this one. I think that being an atheist is a reasonable and acceptable position. I mean, really, there's no real proof of god, so why wouldn't you be an atheist? That's the whole point of "faith." I think that people tend to find religion in different ways, and maybe just don't call it "god" or "religion," but we all find some way of finding meaning (or at least fulfillment). Maybe I'm being too "new age-y," but it seems to be that god and religion come in many shapes and sizes, and just because you don't say you get behind a higher being somewhere in the ether looking down on things doesn't mean that you don't have religion in the grandest sense, and it certainly doesn't mean you are amoral or less "good," in some way.

I'm very happy with my religion, but I also think that the reason I'm so happy is that I have found a church that practices "my kind" of religion, where being Christian means being peaceful, tolerant and dedicated to social service. I don't know how I would feel about religion if I didn't go to that particular church.

I would be just as upset about such a stupid email chain "joke," because to me it's offensive not only to people who don't believe in god, but it's also continuing the myth that everyone who is Christian is a big asshole. Religion, like so many other things, has been taken over by the Right to mean a certain thing, like "patriot" has been, or maybe "habeas corpus" (which in this administration is loosely translated as "rot in jail, bastard.") It's disappointing to me that when I say I'm going to church, or when I say I'm president of the council, people suddenly think I must not believe in evolution, and offensive that people who write and send those emails perpetuate that stereotype.

It's sad to me that people forget the "reverend" part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and only associate religion with intolerance and greed and hatred. It's not just atheists who do it, but just about everyone -- me included, really. I just bought the book American Fascists, which I'm really excited to read -- it's by a guy who went to seminary at Harvard and talks about how the Religious Right is ruining religion. I'll be interested to see how the new split between the "moral majority" religious and the "social justice" religious plays out.

And by the way, I am president of my church council, and also a member of the ACLU. The two are not mutually exclusive!

Kelli said...

Hey -- by the way, that Karen girl? That's really me. Sorry for the confusion.
Kel

CheckThe Right said...

This cute little story is laced with hateful undertones. It appears to be the work of conservative ACLU and atheist haters.

As Christians we are called to love everyone including atheists. We are also called to respect everyone kind of like the ACLU does.

I believe that the ACLU works hard to insure the freedom of each person to express their beliefs and to prevent any one belief from being forced on anyone else (note: the original story I found on the internet did not mention the ACLU).

I believe that claiming a "mission from God"(as the Marine in this story did) without a revelation from God is blasphemous.

I am troubled by the concept that God can be too busy. There are 6.6 billion souls on this planet. If God can be too busy, what chance do I have that He will have time to care about me.

I do not believe God would want us to physically attack someone for their beliefs.

Stories like this give Christians a reputation of intolerance.

Katie said...

I'm in the same situation. If anyone has a problem at the restaurant that I work at, we are told by the owner that "God works in mysterious ways" or that she'll pray for us. The bulletin board that our schedule is on also has a new "Jesus Loves You" email that she's printed out every day. I find it so frustrating that she posts that up, but if I were to post any atheist emails, she would flip.

way12go said...

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Name: Sagar Gorijala
E-mail: nimzosagar@yahoo.co.uk
http://sagargorijala.blogspot.com/
Fundamental Theory Of Existence.
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6. There are finite absolute laws.
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11. God(s) can not exist.