Pink Atheist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days we seem to define ourselves through a color coding system. There are red states and blue states, yellow ribbons and green cars. We have Black Mondays, Ruby Tuesdays, and Orange Alerts. I want to add a new color to the mix: I am a Pink Atheist.

 

Recently, with the rising voices of atheists everywhere, it is easier for me to say that I am a non-believer. The many books that have come out in the past few years have helped strengthen my resolve in non-belief and have made me feel less isolated.

 

These atheist writers are mostly men. With titles like The God Delusion, or Why God is Not Good, there can be no mistaking their message: religion is bad and un-provable, science offers better answers than gods, and anyone who is religious is misguided. I call these guys the Navy Blue Atheists.

 

I am pink for the simple reason that I am a woman. But the reason that a pink atheist is different from a navy blue atheist is more complicated than a gender difference.

 

I have no scientific degree. I know nothing about biology, neuroscience or sociology. I have no interest in telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t believe in. What interests me is how people come to believe what they believe, how they got to where they are—whether they dwell in a place of religious belief or not. All I really have to add in the dialogue is my story of how I came to be comfortable with being nothing, which means having no religion    

 

As a child my religious identity was that I was vaguely Jewish, due to the fact that my mother’s family was Jewish, and distantly Catholic since my dad was Italian and had been raised going to church. But really, I was told we were nothing. I learned to avoid the topic of religion early, and I adhered to the rule of agnosticism for many years. That meant that I shrugged when asked any questions about my beliefs, and then I changed the subject. But I was never really comfortable with that avoidance of the topic, I was curious and the question mark was not satisfying as an answer.

 

It was when I was an adult, with kids of my own that I really started to question what I was; not what my parents had said I was, but what I was all on my own. One thing I knew was that I was not a believer. My husband’s sister and her husband are devout Christians, and there was a point when they insisted that I become like them, so we could share the love of Christ as a family. The anger that arose for that situation made it clear to me that I would not go down the path of salvation with them. The harder they pushed me the more sure I became.

 

So I became an atheist, no more hiding behind the “maybe” or the “who knows” of the agnostic. But I am not interested in disproving anyone’s god. I just want to be able to coexist with the believers. As a person who values community, I would rather focus on our commonalities than on our differences. As a person who values other people and wants to know, wants to listen, wants to understand, I cannot make a blanket statement of who is right and who is wrong.

 

So I’m pink because I favor the personal narrative instead of the cold, hard-edged logic, and because I seek to bring people together rather than separate everyone out. When that’s combined with my lack of religion and the fact that I am content and comfortable with that lack, I become the first pink atheist.

 

From my pink point of view I see a happy world where everybody gets along despite their religious differences. There are no wars and no conflicts or petty disagreements. Just harmony: pink-tinted and delicious.

 

But like the spun sugar from the summer fair—dyed pale and still warm as it melts in your mouth—the fantasy is fleeting. The sugar disappears, the fluff and puff of sweet is gone. You throw away the paper cone, licked clean of any wisp of pink, and disappear into the crowd. The world is still full of conflict and hatred, much of it over religious beliefs, but for that moment you feel hopeful, the candy brings you back to the child within: curious, open to ideas, wondering and sure that best is yet to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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