Atheism? Why bother?
An article in New York Magazine, If God Is Dead, Who Gets His House?, reminds me of why I'm so much more comfortable outside the U.S., a land where non-belief is considered so odd it has to be defended. Here in Spain, non-belief isn't a movement, it's simply a very common reaction to the excesses of the Church (or of any church, mosque, synagogue, etc.). Which doesn't prevent Spanish nonbelievers from participating in Church ritual sometimes (weddings, processions), as community and folkloric events. That is, your neighbors may expect you to participate, but they don't really expect you to believe all that stuff and probably don't themselves. Maybe if I were a Spaniard I would feel more oppressed by the wild pronouncements and silly costumes of the Spanish clergy. But I'm not, and their shenanigans strike me as just strange, distant and sometimes amusing. I suppose each of us is most vulnerable to criticism from his/her own native community. It's the pervasive belief in spirits in the U.S. that gets me spooked.