On Mirth

As I have referenced before, these are challenging days.

Much  is at stake, and fools are at the wheel. For someone prone to depression like me, it can be hard to keep my chin up and headed forward.

This is why Atheopagan Principle 5 is so very important. Because it reminds us that the world of humans is not only tragic: it is absurd. And absurdity is hilarious.

I’ve never heard any—perhaps they do not survive—but I guarantee that German Jews in the mid-1930s had Nazi jokes: not only because Jewish culture is generally lively withh humor, but because this is what humans do. We make the unbearable bearable, we knock our problems down to size, even if only for a moment, by making fun of them.

And for the freest and happiest of us, this includes mockery of the greatest “problem” each of us confronts: ourselves. By willingly being silly, making jokes at our own expense, we embrace our delightful, flawed humanity, warts and all.

There is a time for dignity, don’t get me wrong. There are times when seriousness is and should be the order of the day. But honestly, those are few when compared with the number of occasions when tension-easing humor is both appropriate and welcome.

Humor brings humanity and perspective into moments that we would suffer through without it. It reestablishes the relative importance of things. It is not frivolous or trivial. It’s important.

April Fools’ Day is coming up (April 1, for those of you in other countries—I’m not sure how widespread the tradition is), and I encourage you to be as big a fool as you can get away with: to dress outrageously, make silly jokes and go for the guffaw.

This world is serious enough. Even if our humor is of the gallows variety, I’d rather go having inspired a grin and a chuckle.

Wouldn’t you?

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It’s On Us Now

As an Atheopagan, I have Principles. They are a set of values about what is Sacred and how we should conduct ourselves in the world.

Those values are about to be severely challenged as the far-right government of Donald Trump threatens the world with environmental, economic and military cataclysm and gives tacit permission to racists, sexists and homophobes to assault, threaten and intimidate people of color, LGBTQ people, religious minorities and women. The last is happening already with disturbing frequency.

Those of us with a naturalistic worldview already understood that our world is under deep threat. We knew that creating a better future wasn’t going to be easy.

It just didn’t seem we were going to have to fight along so many axes at once.

But here it is. The angry public of the United States has made a stupid, petulant choice, and we are saddled with it. And our role now is clear: we must resist.

When we see bigotry expressed, we must come to the support of those who are its victims. We must provide aid and comfort and solidarity with those who are its targets, even if we are also its targets. We must come together as a movement and as people of good and true hearts.

We must not be silent. We must not be invisible. Although at times it may be dangerous not to be.

Donald Trump and his voters are not what this country is about. They are not about the future of humanity, either. They are atavistic throwbacks to values and motivations that are on their way out. They are a knee-jerk backlash, nothing more.

And most of his voters will be victims of his policies just as much, or nearly so, as the rest of us.

We are entering a period when working within the legislative system, while necessary, is not going to help much at the federal level. It’s going to take a lot of litigation and some straight-up grassroots oppositional organizing to slow or stop some of what is coming.

And much of it, we will not be able to stop.

Before election day, we did not really know whether it was possible to stop some of the tremendous challenges facing our world.

We still do not know that, but we know the next few years are going to be very hard. They are going to appall us and oppress us and demoralize us on a regular basis.

But here’s the thing: we’re right.

We’re on the side of the angels. And while there is no guarantee that history will continue an overall arc towards justice and sustainability, it has moved in those directions in recent years. The next four will be an anomaly, not the new normal.

Take heart, friends. Take one another’s hands. Understand that what is coming is going to demand that each of us works our tail off in service to what we love.

Breathe and prepare. They’re coming.

 

A No-Bullshit Religion

A week or so ago, when I published “Is Atheopaganism Political?“, I expected some pushback. I suspected that there might be some who have embraced—even subconsciously—the dualistic idea that religion/spirituality lives in a separate realm of human experience from that of pragmatic matters such as public policy. So I thought there might be some commentary along the lines of “well, that’s okay for you, but I don’t concern myself with such things.” Or some such.

I doubted you, friends, and I should not have.

There was no such response. Feedback was nothing but positive. And this tells me that the Atheopagan group and the readers of the blog get it: that our pursuit of joy is part and parcel of this Earth, this soil. That what is real, what is factual is the only metier within which to live a true Atheopagan life. And that we have a responsibility to it.

Ours is, not to put too fine a point on it, a no-bullshit religion.

Race doesn’t exist, biologically. It is a cultural myth, and the idea that “white” people are superior to others and deserving of privilege is bullshit. It’s a lie and a moral travesty. Atheopaganism, a path of evidence-based and critical thinking, recognizes it as such.

Women are not inherently inferior to men. That’s bullshit.

Gay and genderdiverse people are not morally inferior to heterosexual and cisgendered people. The idea is bullshit.

And finally, it is bullshit to suggest that the disadvantaged, the downtrodden, the poor are inferior to the well-off. That those who benefit from the inequities of our societies have arrived in that position through merit.

Bullshit.

The bigotries and prejudices and injustices of our societies are right before us. I am under no illusions: most of us who connect in Atheopagan spaces via the Internet probably enjoy privilege relative to the disadvantaged and oppressed, though we may indeed ourselves be oppressed by some of our society’s bullshit.

It is incumbent upon us to confront the bullshit, to name it, to face it down. To speak and act for justice. To wield our skill and power to drive the bullshit out.

This—as much as the reverence, as much as the practice, as much as the awe and joy and profundity and principles—is our path. This is the way of Atheopaganism: not just for our own happiness, but for the greater happiness of all. For the betterment of life—all Life—on Earth.