In a Tolerant Society where I Live In, I Remain
A number of times did I express my intent to make this blogspot of mine active again, but I now admit that because I have so many things in my hands right now--fulltime hospital job, part-time editorial/writing job, weekly band practice and occasional gigs, community activities, family outings and household chores, and a few more--I couldn't really keep up with updating this blogspot of mine in a frequent or regular basis.
I just want to let everyone who knows this blogspot that the reason I couldn't update this as much anymore as during the years 2004 to 2006, when I was practically writing a blog entry almost every day, is because I have more outlets now for my writing passion--my three columns in 'Filipino Journal,' my books in the making, as well as regular postings of ideas and essays on my Facebook account.
In consideration of such inability to update this blogspot, I will simply post here some of the articles that I have been writing.
In a Tolerant Society where I Live In, I Remain
(On Being Unaffected by the Follies, Faults, and Accountabilities of Others)
by aLfie vera mella
I agree that there will always be hardcore or militant or fanatic in every passion, belief system, or any preoccupation or avocation for that matter--not only in religion or in atheism. And this reality is what makes my own convictions unaffected (or if ever, very rarely) by the opinions or excitement of others.
Test or Bait
Every time I encounter someone who dismisses atheism or all atheists in general, I am not offended...simply because I see this someone as an individual who is falling or succumbing to the folly of generalization. Sometimes I see this generalization as a sort of that someone's test or challenge of my own beliefs--and I don't usually fall for that bait.
I still believe that I don't have to carry on my shoulders the follies and the faults of others--even of members of my own family--I could only give them advice, but the accountability and responsibility remains their own.
For instance, I am in the cafeteria of the hospital where I work and a bunch of Filipinos are talking about how "Filipinos are like this and like that," I wouldn't approach the illogical bunch to call their attention and to point out to them that "No, not all Filipinos are like this or like that..." simply because during that moment the burden of succumbing to the folly lies on their shoulders and not mine--therefore, it is them who should learn how to correct their ways. There will always be an appropriate venue and time to correct such illogical thinkers.
Appropriate Venue and Time
The reason I wouldn't approach the bunch to correct them because, first, I don't know them personally; second, the venue is inappropriate and the amount of time available is insufficient, considering we have only about 30 minutes of break time; and lastly, I am not offended by what they are claiming, because analytically they are the ones (in case, everyone in the bunch was pitching in their illogic)--during that particular moment--who are committing a folly.
I rarely to never hold in high esteem a single icon. I am not the type who would glorify only Robert Smith or Morrissey just because I love NewWave and Postpunk music. I would have to give a long list of artists and bands. Citing only one or a few icons is for me yet another folly similar to believing in only one god because this is tantamount to disrespecting the rest or the others.
This analogy is applicable to atheists who always cite only Dawkins or Hitchens as the ultimate icons. I don't belong to this bunch of atheists. Modesty aside, I have been an atheist since 1988, and during that time I didn't even know who Dawkins and Hitchens were. Not yet commercially known, Dawkins was just on his third publication while Hitchens his second. So, while I enjoyed reading Hitchens' 'god is Not Great' and books by the likes of Ayn Rand and essays by the likes of Nietzsche and Ralph Waldo Emerson and is yet to read any Dawkins, I don't regard all of these great thinkers as my only icons in the field of atheism and free thought. There are still so many more worthy of notice and appreciation.
Pop and Alternative
For me, in every field there will always be the popular and the alternative--and I tend to delight more in the alternative.
As in music, in New Wave, many so-called New Wave fans would quickly cite as their icons Duran Duran, Culture Club, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, and The Cure. However, by just looking at these bands, it's obvious to me that the person favors more the popular or commercial side of New Wave. I am more inclined to cite as my New Wave favorites the following less popular ones, such as The Pale Fountains, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Wild Swans, Joy Division, and The Essence.
Besides, I am a completist. I don't listen only to the hit songs and the greatest-of compilations--when I listen to music--I tend to listen to a complete album or discography.
Applying that to beliefs and philosophies, I may be an atheist but I don't subscribe exclusively to Hitchens, Dawkins, Nietzsche, Jung, or Rand--I enjoy and will try to enjoy reading the works of whatever authors I may come across with--given the time and the availability of such works.
I believe that there will always be a grain of truth and a trace of good intentions--no matter how big or small--in every belief system--be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, atheism, or even Satanism. And the ability, the choice, and the right to discern this should be individual and personal.
The Last Leaf
I may find kindred connection with people who, in whatever way, share with me similar ideas, tastes, beliefs, and interests; but I always try to be conscious that there should be no or, at the very least, only little emotional bonding with any of them; because, to reiterate, I hold myself accountable to my own words and actions, the way I don't carry on my shoulders the follies, faults, and accountabilities of others.
I am not the type who will get angry or verbally assault someone who will say that Robert Smith, Morrissey, or Paul Simpson is a crap musician. I am not the type who will be discouraged to buy the latest album of Men Without Hats just because a few music reviewers gave the album 2 stars.
I am not the type who will quickly renounce my own beliefs just because atheism--because of some hardcore proponents and fanatic debunkers--is becoming too commercial or too militant to a fault.
As I always say, to believe or not to believe is a personal choice and a human right; and the ability to be and do good is possible with or without a belief in a god.
In a tolerant society where I live in,
I remain the master of my fate
and the captain of my decisions.