I think I have dealt with this before on this blog, but things seem to have escalated around here at my small Georgia town. My wife and I seem to increasingly be the subject of random conversation with people that we don’t even really know.
To be completely honest, one of the things that prompted me to start RagingRev and move my blog from Livejournal was that the rumor mill was running wild around these parts. My former Pastor approached me at the gas station one day telling me that he heard I was in to “Satanism” and things like that, at the time I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the title of Atheist but once I settled into those shoes I felt the need to dispell some of the ludicrous things that were being falsely derived from my Livejournal at the time. Quite simply put, someone (I don’t know whom) read a few of my entries wherein I express an interest in the Occult, and decided that I must be a Satanist…how silly!
It doesn’t bother me at all that the things I do or say here are causing people to talk. Really, making people talk is the whole point of this blog aside from giving me a venue for self expression. I want to see people that have never even considered the possibility of God not existing think about things a bit, I want to challenge people ideas about society, morality, Atheism, Christianity, and religion. I really really want people to talk conversationally, what I do not care for however is that people are not willing to discuss this stuff with me. Instead they are whispering to our friends and family about the things they hear and read.
For instance; my friend Kevin’s mother was recently approached by another woman in the grocery store (I don’t know whom the woman was) whom asked her if Kevin was still talking to my wife and I…she then proceeded to talk about how we were Atheists (My wife is NOT an Atheist) and may be bad influences (this can be inferred with a tone or a look). I may not even know this person for all I can tell, and they are talking about the kind of influence I may or may not be on grown ass adults? Are you serious? As Guy Vestal would say, “So-Called Christians” really need to get a life.
The thing is, I hear this stuff ALL THE TIME, But rarely do either my wife or myself hear anyone simply ASK US about anything. Folks, if you wanna know, ask me…I think I have made it abundantly clear that I am more than willing to talk about my lack of faith with anyone, my only prerequisite for having an intelligent discussion with someone is that no one makes any assumptions about how I live or think. I want to talk to you folks about this, thats why I make such “in your face” comments on my Facebook status with a link to my blog on it…because I really want to have this conversation. I want the conversation, I just want to be included in it rather than being the subject of it.
My statement is this; Local folks, despite the awful reputation of my hometown, I love this town of Eastman, Georgia. I can look past all of the political corruption (we are famous for being one of the most corrupt cities in the United States…no lie), religious fundamentalism and ignorant racism to see a place where folks still hold doors for other people, we still say please and thank you, say Sir and Ma’am, and wave or nod at everybody we see even if it means we might run our car off the road to do so. Southern Hospitality if you will, is one of the saving graces of a place like this but we have got to move past the gossip and assumptions and be willing to have discussion and discourse about relevant issues.
I am willing to sit down with anyone, from any background, and discuss the fallacy of religion and Christianity(or whatever you want). Pastor, minister, theologian, scientist, youth group, youth pastor, missionary, agnostic, pagan, or just any regular ole person that doesn’t mind a calm respectful conversation/debate/discussion/whatever with someone living outside the status quo (here anyway). You folks that read this that know me know at the very least that I respect humanity and love people in a genuine way, don’t be afraid or ashamed to leave a comment here or elsewhere or to ask for my number, heck, you can even come chat with me on the couch (the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the LDS do it all the time, and we usually just agree to disagree in a friendly manner), but let’s stop the whispering and gossip– we aren’t getting anywhere fast and it only makes you look bad.
Before I close, let me say that a Missionary from Eastman (he is a missionary to the Philipines) recently let me know that he was asked to pray for me…and you know what…that doesn’t bother me in the LEAST…its fine…sure it’s a waste of breath, but I am not easily offended and I see the good intentions behind that–so to those people that have asked this of others, please don’t feel that this is directed at you because I don’t doubt in the least any intentions you may have had.