This is Bethany Patchin. If you're not familiar with her, in short, she was the poster child for chastity, courtship rather than dating and the quiverfull style of reproduction- for a while. At the age of 19 or 20, she wrote an article that become quite famous in certain circles stating that her first kiss would be at her wedding, with her husband. Then she wrote a book not long after her wedding condemning any kind of birth control, even natural family planning.
Then she had 4 children in 5 years.
Bethany experienced horrific post partum depression and in the end, she changed her mind. Publicly. She got help for her depression, got divorced, went back to college, started dating, and repudiated her former very public opinions on religion, dating, chastity, what have you.
I like Bethany. I admire people who are brave and strong enough to publicly say, "Hey, you know what? I was totally wrong. My bad!" So, I am not being rude to her in the following critique of her post on atheism. I am being kind because I like her, and because I can see her point of view.
Anyway, here's what I take very polite issue with:
Here's what I think about atheism. I don't really believe in it. I think that faith is never actually lost. I think it's there in everyone, like that "springtime is the work of winter, all the time" quote. We all have spring in our hearts. Every human throughout time has had it there. Some people were and are forced into a life of winter, some people choose it, but I think the undying spring is ALWAYS there. (I guess I'm a universalist now.)
Yes, I could spit fire about someone telling me where my faith is. (Nonexistent.) I could deride anyone telling me that not having faith is like eternal winter. (We both hate winter with the same passion.) I could condemn her for condescension and the arrogance of presuming to know exactly how I feel.
Or, I could think back to yesterday, to one part of a very long post about GAD and the worries it causes me to have:
What if I go blind? What if I go deaf? What if I can't work anymore? Am I being offensive to blind and deaf people by fearing this? Am I prejudiced against the disabled? I am an awful person.
It is condescending to say to a deaf person, "Oh, poor you, you don't get to hear things. That is clearly lesser than being able to hear things." That is offensive and awful.
It is not, however, awful and offensive to fear the unknown. I have never been deaf or blind. I fear it because I don't understand it, because I have never experienced it, because my knowledge is limited. I don't look down on deaf or blind people, nor do I think their experience of the world is less than mine. It is different. So is being Canadian or gay. It's a different life from mine, but so is yours. And, quite frankly, were I suddenly plunked down in your life, I'd be afraid. At first. Then I'd get used to it, figure out the rules and move on.
So here it is. Yes, there are people that have no faith at all. I am one of them. If I had faith, I assure you, I would know about it. I do not exist in a winter of the soul. I am not afraid. In fact, I am free. I have less fear than I did when I believed. My life is richer, more satisfying, more complete than I ever thought it could be.
Hi, I'm Faith, and I am entirely without faith, and I'm okay.
(Yes, yes, I know. I'd like to change it to Fleur. Still starts with an "f" and so much more appropriate to who I am.)