Today’s contribution comes via e-mail from Alyson Miers, who blogs at The Monster’s Ink.
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid who still prayed to Jesus, so I can’t credit atheism for my creative impulses, but it does have a lot to do with what I create. Because I know the Bible is only a story written by human beings, I am not afraid to build new worlds. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth, and in 2012, the Plague wiped out nearly all of humanity and the survivors were left with nothing but arable land. The only difference is that I do not expect anyone to view my writing as anything other than fiction.
Without the constraints of religion, I decide what is prohibited or compulsory, and what is encouraged, optional or a necessary evil based on the balance of benefit and harm to real, living creatures that think and feel in this life, and I write my stories accordingly. I do not confuse timidity with nuance. I owe none of my talent or time to the putative interests of a God who probably does not exist. All my allegiance is to the people in my life and the worlds I create.
Because I am an atheist, I do not shy away from offending the sensibilities of those who believe the Bible (or any other “sacred” text) is something other than a book written by human hands. I seek to understand the perspectives of those who disagree with me, for they are my family, friends and neighbors, and like us, they have nothing but this life, but one can understand a contrary perspective without privileging it. I do my best to create works that are enjoyable to people who may or may not be religious without doing them the disrespect of pretending to agree with their superstitions.
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Hey, arable land is all I’ve got now. It’s a damn fine thing to be left with!
Oh, definitely. If your whole world gets stripped down to brass tacks and you’re left with just one resource (and it doesn’t include Internet access), you could do a lot worse than arable land.