Monday, 13 July 2009

Living without a faith.

Well, I have to say - living without a faith is very easy for me. Compared to the stuff going on in some peoples heads, its a breeze. Even fellow non believers have a lot going on that gets them all worked up about religion, but somehow I don't have these issues.

It was brought home to me watching a recent YouTube video posted on Facebook by my mate Wyn, a fervent atheist and very talented magician. The video was a reading from a book called "Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes" by Daniel Everett. Its a sample of the audio book version and tells the tale of a Christian missionary who ended up converted to atheism by the very tribe he was sent to "Free". The Pirahá tribe in Brazil were already happy and didnt need "saving" and made the writer question his own faith as he witnessed them genuinely, happily living their lives without Jesus. A nice story and not in anyway confrontational. A calmly read narrative accompanies the video, made up of a slide show of photos of him and the tribes-people.

You can find it here. Its Lovely.

What I did find disturbing though, were the comments underneath at the time I viewed it. I quote

"So your telling me a grown man was convinced by a tribe of idiots who live out in the woods to completely throw away his faith and he is not a joke? BTW you continue to mention the ark. you clearly know very little about the bible."

All of a sudden, the peace loving tribe were condemned to being a "tribe of idiots who live out in the woods" by some bible reader who also announces the converted author "a joke" for "throwing away" his faith. He then goes on to tell the world he knows a lot about The Bible. His interpretation of its contents are dubious in my opinion and a great reason to question the following of a religion when you just DONT GET IT - as the commenter so clearly does not.

So much for tolerance, but then thats not a concept many religions accept too openly. I find this thuggish commenter no better than the football hooligan kicking the head of a fellow man for daring to wear a different coloured shirt than him.

There were a few other comments going on at the time I viewed that video, an equally vicious exchange between an Intelligent Design advocate and a non believer which ended up in name calling. Theres barely a comment without vitriol of one sort or another. Not at all productive. I don't believe in
ANYTHING - but does that make me "a joke" - are people like me, who don't have a faith, all "tribes of idiots" whether they live in the woods or not.

My interest in having a blog at all is to try and help bring an end to the kind of quackery that masquerades as medicine and pseudo-scientific charlatans relieving the gullible and vulnerable of their hard earned cash. I am used to having an opposing view and its hard, especially when confronted by a close friend who believes in some spurious nonsense, to make your point without offense. Its my primary concern not to offend anyone, not jump on them and bash their very personal beliefs, but to point them towards the truth with evidence to back it up.
Calling them "a joke" would not be productive. Had the author of the book succeeded in converting the tribe to an ancient and out dated belief based on purely anecdotal evidence, I am sure the commenter would have been over the moon. Instead, he just made himself look foolish and the urge to call him a name is right now so great that I am going to have to do what
HIS BLOODY BOOK says and turn the other cheek.

Funny how I can do that naturally without the help of regular Sunday meetings.