In a bit of tremendous foreshadowing, I have a line in my third book:
“It’s naïve to think any peace gained by such means would be a lasting one. It is like holding someone under the point of your sword, and declaring him willingly obedient, when he is simply too afraid to move.”
The same, I think, works with religion. If you point a semi-automatic weapon at me, and tell me to obey, then I will. I am no hero, for all I would like to be. I have no religion; I am not ashamed, or fundamental, about my Atheism. I think believing in a monotheistic sky-god is weird, but it’s not my choice what you want to believe.
You want to think the son of a god came down from Heaven? Great! You do you, and I will do me (that sounds bad, but we’ll run with it). You want to think there are aliens, or prophets, or a being watching you from the sky? Cool. You think that.
But your beliefs are not mine. They should have exactly zero impact on my life. They should not rule my uterus. I have four surviving children, all grown nicely, thank you, and I did that without religion telling me how to go about it. I have had early miscarriages, and lost a child, late into pregnancy, and I did that just fine without a Bible in my hand. If I found out I was pregnant tomorrow, I would be at the clinic on Monday to deal with it. My husband has had a vasectomy, and I do not want another child.
It is my right to have autonomy over my own body.
Your beliefs have exactly nothing to do with how I live my life.
But, and here’s the thing…I want to live, and let live. I want to enjoy the fact I am a Godless Heathen. I love believing that when I die, I will be dead. There will be no other life. There will be nothing beyond this existence. I will have lived and, much like a hamster, I will have died and be remembered by a few people. In a hundred years, there will be no one speaking my name, and I will be gone. That’s comforting to me. It’s what I believe. I am a card carrying paid up member of the British Humanist Association. My body is going to science. Do not pray over my corpse. Do not throw holy water at me. That is YOUR belief. It’s not mine.
Yet I will go to your funeral. I will bow my head, through your prayers. I will be respectful in your churches, and respect your mosques. I will enter your temple softly, and leave it as I find it. Your beliefs deserve my respect.
And my beliefs bloody well deserve your respect.
You will not find agreement, or belief, by firing guns into a crowd. You will not find converts at sword point. You cannot police the mind, you cannot tell us what to believe. You cannot kill swathes of people, and make us all join you in your demented war against rationality. You cannot make me become like you. You cannot make me think what you want me to think.
Honestly, I think you’re not helping your own cause, really. You want to rule. What you desire has nothing to do with religion. It has nothing to do with belief. It has nothing to do with a ‘Holy War’ or anything ‘Holy’.
Holy is something found when human loves human. When we embrace our world and care for it, and each other.
And peace will never be found at the end of a sword. Submission is not permission. You will not win this war. We don’t believe in you.
We don’t believe in you.
You will not win.