I am non-religious. I always have been despite the best efforts of a Church of England Primary School, and those two or so years I spent in the company of Spiritualist friends, seduced by their ideas of an afterlife. I’m a happy non-religious, non-worshiping, atheist human being with as much good as bad to my name. When I turned my back on tempting religious ideas I didn’t find it a struggle and I know that I am fortunate because of this. I know that many people are isolated, excluded and cast out when they doubt religious teachings. For some, identifying as an atheist is a life changing event – sometimes even a life-endangering event. I think it’s important not to judge people who approach their atheism in different ways than I do, but sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes other atheists make it difficult. Continue reading Whatever floats your godless boat
When I was young I would often get into fights with the kids from other streets in the village I grew up in. The kids in my street would considered ourselves to often be ‘at war’ with the kids from the next street over and I can remember my parents constantly telling me off after fights and explaining how the best action was to ‘ignore them’. I would try, of course, but it didn’t mean they went away. We’d still see them taunting us, hear them shouting at us, and they’d throw stones from no mans land (the alley that linked our streets).
My friends and I would talk about how stupid they were and what they were probably plotting against us in secret, and each group of kids would get so wound up by the other group that eventually we would fight, call each other names and kick each others bikes. Our parents would pull us aside (often by our ears) and tell us to ‘ignore them’ all over again. We were kids, we were immature and petty, but eventually we wised up and learned to move past our differences. Years later my mum would admit to me that ignoring people didn’t necessarily solve problems, but that their advice was a temporary measure until we were mature enough to realise what the better course of action was. Continue reading Infighting: reflections from my childhood