Well, perhaps you don’t know it, but my two encompassing passions or obsessions lately are knitting and atheism. Mostly I write about knitting on my personal blog, with a few diversions into politics or other things that are on my mind. Today I’d like to talk about my other passion, with a slight diversion into fiber arts. (It’s not often that one can talk about atheism and crafts in one topic.)
You may well ask, “How can you be passionaite about atheism, since that’s just the absence of belief? Isn’t atheism just a lack of passion?” A few years ago, I would have agreed with that sentiment. But then came 9/11, which in turn illuminated and increased the political power of religious fundamentalists in the United States. And I, in my unbelief, was no longer able to ignore the beliefs of others, beliefs that I once shared. And then came a slew of best-selling books on Atheism including The End of Faith by Sam Harris and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. When I read the first, I couldn’t believe that a book author actually understood what I had experienced in my own life as a fundamentalist. I was thrilled that this book might help others to understand the dangers of fundamentalism in the world — and in the US.
When I read Dawkins’s book, I was emboldened to come out more publicly as an atheist and I started thinking about writing my own book about my journey from fundamentalism (edited for clarification: I was a born-again Christian) to unbelief, because I thought (and still think) that the ex-insider’s perspective is missing from the dialog about atheism. Almost all of the books that have come out have been written by people who were always atheists or who nominally belonged to a religion as a child, but none (except perhaps Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi) are written by people who had once been fervent followers of God.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on my book. I can’t keep on it for very long stretches, because I start having nightmares about my past, which is much worse in my dreams than it was in real life. Years ago, I would have believed these dreams were God trying to talk to me, to get me to “come back into the fold,” showing me the errors of my ways. But today I see the dreams as evidence that my unconscious mind is still processing all of the information, and that I need to step back from the writing for a while to let the next step happen internally.
Well, I’ve said all that to say this. If your’e an unbeliever like me and you have a chunk of spare change to blow, here’s something fun to help you celebrate Christmas — a holiday that I still love, even though I don’t believe that either Santa or God is real. This Flying Spaghetti Monster felted tree topper from NifNaks is a great way to throw your holiday celebrations off kilter and show a litte spunk. If you can’t afford this tree topper, they also have a tree ornament and a lapel pin for sale (they have lots of other cool and geeky felted stuff, too).
If you’re not familiar with the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) and his noodly appendages, you owe it to yourself to read up on this new diety, who many believe is the real Intelligent Designer.
May this Flying Spaghetti Monster reach down from above, and touch all your holiday guests with His noodley appendage.
Cross posted, with slight variations, on sheeptoshawl.com.