Monday, May 31, 2010
Pricks and Self-Reflection
This is just my point of view on people as I see it now and is in no way, shape, or form endorsed (to my knowledge) by any humanistic, naturalistic or atheistic philosophy for the treatment of people around us. It simply points to the fact that I can now judge people clearly, and as I see fit, without having to think about absurd notions like the mythological satan with his pitchfork and hell as a repercussion in the process of coming to a conclusion about the character of others. Atheism frees us of worrying about being overly sympathetic and being victimized by people that love to belittle us or treat us like lesser than. This isn’t so much established in the Bible because the Bible is so noticeably contradictory on how we should treat others. Am I supposed to gouge their eye out if they gouge mine out, or am I supposed to expose my other eye to be gouged out as well? It’s really this whole modern misconception of who Jesus was, if he existed at all, that leads us to false conclusions on how Christians should treat others. Jesus is the one who told his followers that they have to HATE, and yes the Greek translation is hate, their family if they want to follow him. Luke 14:26. Jesus is the one who endorsed the infamous OT and said that we should follow it to the letter. Matt 5:18-19. Jesus is the one that said that he came not to send peace but a sword. Matt. 10:34. He told his followers to buy a sword, and to sell their garment to acquire one if they couldn’t otherwise afford it. Luke 22:36. He encouraged people to act in ways that brings about persecution. Matt. 5:11. He encouraged men to avoid women altogether. Matt 19:12. He elegantly called Jews the "sons of the Devil" which has resorted in untold numbers of deaths and further destructive ideology. John 8:44.
The 21st century Jesus is yet another made up figment of humankind’s imagination. This Jesus wouldn’t do anything that is unfair or immoral. This Jesus is all about love, acceptance, turning the other cheek, forgiveness, and bending over backwards to help others. He is nothing more than the reflection of our modern Christianized culture that has chosen to distort what the gospels say about Jesus to fit their mold of "goodness".
As a nonbeliever and freethinker, I can discard this whole notion of turning the cheek and allowing others to walk all over me as I offer forgiveness ad infinitum. As most believers think, I used to believe that I needed to be forgiving and understanding of those that treat me like garbage. They were just under the influence of Satan. I couldn’t just label someone as a prick even if all of the evidence was abundantly clear. Some people do have bad days, or even weeks, but then there are those who have been pricks for so long that they’ve made it a habit of living. Maybe this is bad logic, but I can just “smell” one within the first few minutes I’m around them. (You know the type) In my opinion, I find the most unfavorable personalities in the working environment. We really see what people are made of when the situations around them become quite stressed or just too monotonous. They are often very hypocritical, beyond criticism, narcissistic, belittling and patronizing towards those whom they view as little more than peons. I have a special contention for people that treat others as if they are better than them simply because of their education level, seniority, age, looks, or personal income. I don’t have to pretend to like people who demonstate such vitriol anymore. Obviously, in the work arena, I still have to be civil enough toward them, but I’m never going to be a brown noser. Call it a chip on my shoulder, but I’m willing to do things the hard way if it means that I don't have to go out of my way to be nice. Unlike others, I’m not motivated by prestige, fame, power or money. Call it the “introvert Advantage”. I don’t really have to play by their rules.
I can honestly say that I never try to bully others or make them feel incompetent because I know how it feels. I thank my newfound unbelief as a way of freeing me to see others for whom and what they really are. I treat everybody with a blank slate. As an introvert, I tend to mirror what they initially do and say to me first. I let the other person make the first move. If I come in contact with another introvert, the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship may take quite a long time to develop, if it ever develops at all. To make a fair judgment of a person, I gather information about their behaviors and interactions with myself and others. Are they respectful to me? In conversation, do they belittle me or treat me like chattel? Do they do what they say they are going to do? Do they treat me as well around others as they do when we are alone? Are they arrogant and smug to people around them that don't brown nose? Do they have unreasonable expectations for me that I could not possibly meet given the circumstances? Are they eager and anxious to criticize when the opportunity arises? Are they down to earth or are they on their own narcissistic planet? Do they act like their own feces doesn't stink?
I just like the fact that I don’t have to deal with people’s b.s. and worry about being continually forgiving no matter what. I generally reserve that depth of forgiveness for my family only. It’s alleviating to know that people can be measured by naturalistic and logical evidence. I don’t need a contradictory and outdated book, or Christian’s to tell me how to treat others. I treat them the same way they treat me, regardless of their status of “superiority”. The golden rule, which predated Christ’s teaching on it, is still a pretty good rule of thumb although there are some exceptions.