Monday, August 31, 2009

Hey, Kids, Rock and Roll

Fellow Atheists: Are you like me? Do you feel kind of alien in your own hometown? Have you recently had the sensation, the kind that doesn't lead to some chilling metaphor for a tasty mint and chocolate wafer? Are you starting to feel like, suddenly, you don't belong in the place you've spent most of your life?

Wow, holy crap, I feel that way.

Thank [insert deity here] that I'm adopted, because I'd be a whole hell of a lot more depressed with the fact that I'm related to these people biologically if I weren't. Throughout my entire life, I've tried in vain to find a common ground with these people. Through actions on both party's counts, I've come to be regarded as the black sheep of my generation, far surpassing the black sheep that came before me.

And a major part of that designation comes from my being the family's 'lost soul.' Well, if they think I'm they only one, they're fooling themselves. While I may be the only Atheist in my generation, I'm not the only one in the family.

Increasingly, my younger 2nd cousins are becoming skeptical as they mature. Whereas one was thinking of going into the seminary, a few years later (and a few weeks ago) he came out as an Atheist to me. You have no idea how proud - and relieved - I was. His brother lists himself as Agnostic on a social networking site - cool! Another cousin is more open about her skepticism and criticism of her part of the family, which I find totally awesome: Another voice.

Whether their parts of the family know it or not, I'm no longer the only black sheep.

There's hope for the biological Jacobson's yet, by golly.

But still, what is there for the few of us yet? We still live amongst a sea of stubborn theists, the most vocal among them being the members of our own family. We're still pretty isolated, and we're most certainly met with a great deal of shaming and disgust from those whom even the Bible says are obligated, begrudgingly or not, to love us.

It's tough to be at war with the ones you love. It really, really is.

While mostly Protestant, our family still harbors a great deal of the prejudices and false sense of entitlement that most modern Christians are stereotyped with. Homosexuality is a sin, evolution is 'just a theory,' 'we're right and they're wrong,' Genesis (and by extension, the rest of the Bible) is literal truth, and an all-seeing Magic Sky Pixie is behind everything we see and experience. There's no turning them from this, no getting them to ask even one question.

And there's no convincing them that attempts to 'save our souls' are fruitless; still the fight to turn us back on their idea of the right path, no matter how insane and fanciful we know it to be.

It's a war that will never be won by either side. A house divided shall never stand - but they don't say anything about what the remaining factions will do. Obviously, in our case, both sides will stand: Us - a mere four strong - and Them - literally dozens.

David Essex once asked the two questions we few face now: Where do we go from here? Which is the way that's clear? We can only dream that we were looking for that blue jean baby queen, because the reality is much less enticing.

When 90% of the people around you claim the same association and beliefs as those you're trying to distance yourself from, finding a road to travel - much less a destination - is a pretty daunting task.

And with the resurgence in popularity of the idea of a supposedly 'Christian Nation' and its desire to oust us as godless heathen non-citizens of such... I'm starting to think there isn't a way that's clear at all anymore.

We do have our own brand of faith, believe it or not. Our faith is in the fact that we can make a place for ourselves on this world, and we can find a way to somehow help make it a better place for everyone. Our faith is in humanity and its ability to work together as a society despite perceived differences. We have faith in a day when the rest of us can finally put away the storybooks, give up on pixies and wraiths, and retire the characters within to the pantheon of mythology with their counterparts of old.

That faith keeps us together, and keeps us strong, no matter what the odds, no matter who the enemy or how hostile they are. That faith makes us a new kind of family - adopted or not.