There is little more in my life that incenses me more than having some nitwit believer telling me that my disability is a punishment from god. Sometimes it is only my desire not to be incarcerated that stops me from resorting to my more base instincts. If you don’t think this happens often, then you need to spend some time in my world. The people who have known me for a while know that I used to not only be a Christian, but I was a Preacher, to boot. Many of these people remain convinced that god is punishing me or has allowed the symptoms of my disability to continue to ravage my body for a variety of reasons. None of them, however, are even remotely near sensible.
The most common one is that their imaginary god is trying to “get my attention” so that I may once again place my faith in him and allow him to “heal me”. There are many variations to this theme, but they all amount to the same huge, hot and steaming pile of bullshit that make up much of what these people believe in. Several people have told me that the severity of my illness is due to my outspokenness on religion, and that god would allow me a little more comfort if I’d just be quiet and keep my disbelief to myself. Then they mumble something about millstones and stumbling children… One rather illustrious person even went so far as to tell me that god has prepared for me a special place in hell for de-converting his believers, adding to that the guarantee of an even higher level of torturous suffering if one of my own children should happen to abandon god. If you ask me, their god seems awful insecure…
Speaking of my family, the associated difficulties that inevitably come with being disabled invariably affect my wife and children. It is unavoidable. We do not have the income for an expensive home, new cars, vacations, fancy toys and designer clothes, and there is also a certain amount of stress that goes with the territory. Of course, the willfully ignorant are always ready to point out that these circumstances are punishments that my wife and children are suffering at my hand, due to my unbelief. They tell me that if I won’t come back to god for my own health and well-being, at least do it for my family. What nerve…
To them, this is all avoidable and, of course, “everything happens for a reason”. The insinuation that I bear some sinful responsibility for the constant, unrelenting and extreme level of pain that I endure every waking moment of every single day as a result of this degenerative and incurable disease that is slowly eating away at my peripheral nervous system does not engender good, happy and fuzzy thoughts toward these denizens of douchebaggery.
To top it off, these individuals are none-to-glad to tell me that I am not really an Atheist, but mad at god for my disability. Facepalms galore… They insist that I actually do believe he exists and have turned my back on him because I blame him for my deteriorating condition. They tell me that this is the reason why I don’t have anything nice to say about god or religion. Well, excuse me for having to don my waders and shove in my nose plug, but this is some of the deepest and most repugnant pile of bullshit to ever cross the pike.
Well, for all of this, I would like to offer these people a hale and hearty “Fuck You”… The utter gaul that it takes to tell a person who is handicapped that their suffering and the suffering of their family is at the hand of their god as a punishment for not believing in him is not only unconscionable, but the height of ignorance. These people need to be ashamed of themselves, but they so blinded by their religious arrogance that the only hope I have for them to successfully remove their heads from their asses is that I was once like them and have since been enlightened. It’s bad enough that most disabilities are misunderstood by secular society, but to compound it with the delusional mental illness of religious belief is nothing short of a travesty.
But they will pray for me… How nice… Well, I don’t want their prayers. I do not covet nor appreciate their supernatural attempts to turn me back into a misogynist, ignorant, intolerant, history-denying, science-denying, homophobic bigot. If they really wanted to help people with auto-immune diseases they’d quit trying to block embryonic stem cell research and maybe pick up a book about these types of illnesses to perhaps garner a better understand from a scientific point of view.
Am I angry? Bet your ass, I am! Am I angry at god? Impossible, since I do not hold the belief that god even exists. What I am angry at is the insolence that these people possess. I am angry at the perpetuation of ignorance that religious belief has toward the disabled. I am angry at the pious attitudes that are part and parcel of believing that one is “chosen” and somehow commissioned by their deity to “save the world” when they are the ones who are lost. I am angry that their beliefs still influence medical research. I am angry that they spend billions every year trying to protect a blastocyst but don’t seem to give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut about the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from diseases that can be cured by harvesting these cells. I am angry that they just refuse to understand that someone cannot be angry at something they don’t believe exists, no matter how many times they say that their god “believes in me“.
You know, it is hard enough dealing with the general supposition that many people have that if you are not missing a limb, have a horrific physical disfigurement or otherwise “look abnormal” that you are somehow “faking it” and trying to get a free ride from the government. Many people believe that just because your brain works you should be able to hold down a job because only those who are mentally disabled, extremely elderly or are so horrifically deformed are unable to work. Anyone who lives on a fixed income such as social security, disability or unemployment insurance can tell you that they’d rather be younger, healthier or employed.
Educating the general public about the nature of what a disability is and how it effects a person’s ability to integrate into the world we live in is hard enough. When these imbeciles come along preaching their magical solutions and spewing forth their condemnations and judgments, it only makes a bad situation worse.