I do not want to “do a Scott Morrison” here. I am a privileged, educated person and I can take care of myself so far as what people say about me and my beliefs are concerned. However some assumptions do not please me.

I have been an atheist for about sixty four years. I have many, quite religious, good friends and close family members. We rarely discuss the subject out of consideration for others’ views. In fact, I only realised it was legitimate to go public at all with these then non-mainstream views when I was at university.

However, as a one time researcher, I find it difficult to cope with the reality that, as non theists, we are constantly being asked, by those who wish to believe something different, to prove the null hypothesis which we accept. It shows a real lack of understanding.

My Twitter account, for some time, has been punctuated with religious argument, views and support from people I do not know. Many make the assumptions we know nothing of the nature or details of religions. I usually quickly scroll past them. What would be the point of responding, I ask myself. However, a few months ago I tweeted an answer to one of the constant religious fillers of my stream who had pushed the view that lack of proper knowledge of Christianity made people such as me non believers. I replied, “@ XXXX I don’t need a class on fairies when I say I do not believe they aren’t at the bottom of my garden, either.”

She replied with resentment that I was “parodying” religion. Some cannot even accept that a non believer will axiomatically think of religion as tantamount to a fairy tale, albeit a well meaning one with a large number of positive messages and admirable suggestions as to how to live a good life. (Most fairy tales have some positive message too! But perhaps that is unnecessarily parodying again.) I ignored her tweet and moved on, resolving never to reply again.

But this morning I find she has again retweeted this tweet of mine with yet another answer from herself.

I repeat here, in a direct and non “parodying” way the basic concept. It  is not up to me or to others with no religious beliefs to have to defend a null hypothesis.

Recently the following question was also posed to me by a very nice, close acquaintance of mine who lives a devout Christian life, “Atheists like you are really setting yourselves up as small Gods in your own right aren’t you?”

I had to think twice before answering as I value my interactions with her. I finally said, “If you mean by that, that I have to take complete responsibility for all of my actions and decisions then you are probably right.” But it is a shame that I had to grudgingly assume the persona of a “god” to make my own decisions.

And spell correct just gave me a capital letter for “god”. That really shows what people like me are up against!


About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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