Not Invited

not_invited_cover-thumbHappy New Year!  I spent the day on the slopes and I feel tired, but the kind of tired that I love. With that said, believe me, I am fully aware that it is January 1 and I have to post today.  I was thinking a lot about the article I referenced in my last post  as I was skiing today in the beautiful Sierras–great way to spend the first day of the New Year, by the way.  Anyway, I was thinking more about why there didn’t seem to be a humanist presence there.

One of the reasons put forth, that I addressed in my last post, was that we (humanists) don’t have an alternative community to offer.  I think it’s more cut and dried than that.  I think that it’s simply that humanists are not welcome in situations such as Sandy Hook and why would non-believers go where they are not welcome?

Friedman even said, in his article, “In fairness, it should be pointed out that the families of each Newtown victim chose religious funerals. The interfaith service, by its very definition, precluded the involvement of leaders from non-faith organizations like the Ethical Culture Society or the American Humanist Association.”  There simply was no place for us there.

What are we going to do, stand up at a funeral and offer rationality? Go speak at a prayer vigil and question devotion to a god that allowed such horror, or pray aloud, “where the fuck were you oh, god?”  No, that would have been inappropriate.  In those situations most people need to be told a fairytale in order to remain sane and that’s okay.  We respectfully remained silent, something the religious have difficulty doing and so their presence, of course, was very evident, and ours was not.

We simply are not like the religious in that we are not going to foist ourselves upon those who are vulnerable and hurting.  We don’t have a belief system to foist upon them anyway.  It would be unethical to bring a false sense of hope to them, like the religious do; we can only bring human understanding and love–quietly, without notice.

The Humanists mentioned in the article, actually of us fellow non-believers, do not need to trot ourselves out for the religious world to see. If we do that, we will become like them.   We need to reject their promptings, their put downs, their, “See! People can’t do good without God” mantra.

We need to be the ones that are there for the long haul.  The ones that will be there when the media attention is gone, and the youth groups and church choirs have moved on to something else and those who are left with broken promises begin to question their god. We need to continue to be who we are, real, authentic and good.  The world needs much more of that.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ... Zoe ~
    Jan 11, 2013 @ 20:18:45

    Your skiing sounds wonderful. 🙂

    Notabarbie: One of the reasons put forth, that I addressed in my last post, was that we (humanists) don’t have an alternative community to offer. I think it’s more cut and dried than that. I think that it’s simply that humanists are not welcome in situations such as Sandy Hook and why would non-believers go where they are not welcome?

    It makes it difficult for humanists to show up (though as you pointed out earlier “we” are there but quietly so) because we know it will offend. Though we can extend compassion to those who are hurting, they cannot extend understanding our way. Most of us understand why. Our very presence screams at them that there dead loved one is, well – dead. Not alive in some religious heavenly realm or awaiting sleep in a non-limbo state until some sort of religious resurrection. The religious need that after-life at the time and our presence highlights the differences we all believe when it comes to the after-life. Most humanists I know wouldn’t want to hurt the religious or rub salt in their wounds.

    I’m curious as to how the families of non-believers inside a similar tragedy would have been handled by the majority of religious faiths touched by this horrific tragedy. Would the large numbers of God-believers comfort us and leave out the evangelism? Would they bring us food and sit with us without the hope of converting us? Would they come to our secular memorials and to the graves as we buried our dead?

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Jan 12, 2013 @ 08:25:01

      “I’m curious as to how the families of non-believers inside a similar tragedy would have been handled by the majority of religious faiths touched by this horrific tragedy. Would the large numbers of God-believers comfort us and leave out the evangelism? Would they bring us food and sit with us without the hope of converting us? Would they come to our secular memorials and to the graves as we buried our dead?”

      Are those rhetorical questions :-)? Obviously the answers are no, no, and no.

      That is not how Bible believing Christians work.

      I remember when my sister-in-law and friend, Sue, was dying of cancer. The first question my Christian friends would ask me was if she was saved or not. When I would say no, they would tell me that my goal, first and foremost, was to share the gospel with her, that it was my responsibility to save her from Hell. Once they found out that she was a nonbeliever, that is all they cared about. They didn’t even try and comfort me. They didn’t seem to care I was losing someone I loved; they just knew she needed to be saved. Time was of the essence. It put a lot of pressure on me and I found myself avoiding her. Thank goodness I had two years with her after I left Christianity before she died. I’m so grateful I had time to just be with her and feel no pressure to evangelize her, but just to enjoy her. When she died, none of my Christian friends offered to come to the memorial.

      Reply

    • notabarbie
      Jan 12, 2013 @ 08:25:53

      Thank you for your faithful support. It means so much to me. xxxooo

      Reply

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