Hi, my name is Hagrid, and I deny the Holy Spirit.

I am one of the growing number of people who have participated in The Blasphemy Challenge, and I'd like to explain why.

When I recorded my video back in December, I wasn't doing it for the free DVD (though that was a nice perk). I also don't care if denying the holy spirit blasphemy or not... that isn't the point of my participation.

For me, it was an opportunity to do something that I had never had a chance to do before: Publicly announce my lack of faith.

It was, for me, a "coming out."

I suspect that a lot of people making the video, like myself, are using it as a way to publicly "come out."

I came out of the closet as a gay man 20 years ago. That was a defiant, "in your face," an I-don't-care-who-the-fuck-knows-or-what-they-think kind of moment.

This coming out feels much the same to me. For me, this is a catharsis. It's a relief. I'm not hiding anymore, no longer cowering in the shadow of Christian opression of nonbelievers. In fact, until I made that video, I always identified as a sort-of agnostic, never willing to make the leap of faith required to say that "god doesn't exist."

That's changed since The Blasphemy Challenge.

I now feel empowered as an atheist, having taken the leap, and doing it publicly. In the face of growing Christian political power in the United States, it is important that a few brave, defiant or even foolhardy souls stand up to be counted.

When I came out as a gay man, I became a better person... and I believe the world became just a little bit safer for queers, because one less of us was hiding. Others in the closet saw me, and knew they weren't alone. Straight people who saw me had to adjust their ideas about what a homosexual was to encompass me, and what they knew of me.

Because coming out matters.

It matters in both the queer world, and in the atheist world.

Yes, there will be negative repercussions from it. Yes it will piss some Christians off. Yes it will alarm some moderate atheists.

But I remember these same arguments back when I came out as queer - we shouldn't antagonize straight people, we should be constructive in our demands.

No. The world doesn't work like that.

Someone has to stand up and demand respect for our beliefs. Someone has to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!"

I believe that what we are witnessing here are the beginnings of a social movement here, a nascent backlash against growing Christian power and oppression in the United States. A social movement of nonbelievers that begins with a simple phrase:

"I deny the Holy Spirit."

My name is Kevyn "Hagrid" Jacobs, and I am proud to have participated in The Blasphemy Challenge.


kevyn: (Default)


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