My thoughts on the book, 50 Voices of Disbelief, Why We Are Athiests, edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk. Written as I read them in no particular order. The page number of the essay is provided at the top of each entry.
p. 82 Emma Tom “Confessions of a Kindergarten Leper”
There is a short blurb about each author in the back of the book. Emma is an author and has toured with several rock bands in Australia. This essay is definitely Rock and Roll. It was a great break from the dry scientific ones. The jokes come fast and she doesn’t stop to explain them. I got the one about Big Bird from Sesame Street because I was watching Sesame Street when Big Bird met this new friend Snuffleupagus. For weeks, only Big Bird saw him and everyone treated him like his friend was imaginary.
The essay starts out rather serious with a story of a scripture teacher from Kindergarten who told her if she didn’t believe in God, she would get leprosy. She calls this teacher Mrs You Will Rot In Hell (And Also For A While Here On Earth). Emma does not pull any punches in castigating her for putting these thoughts into children’s heads. She also points out that this kind of scare tactic is exactly what led her to atheism. But then she has some fun with it, and herself when she ponders what a child would think if told that,
“after you die, you are buried in the black earth where maggots will eat out your eyes, and earthworms will burrow through your cute button nose and eventually there’ll be nothing left but a smelly old skeleton. “
She notes that this could have something to do with why it is so difficult to recruit people to atheism.
Although there is definitely some anger from the exclusiveness of religion, she tries to imagine an inclusive God;
“In my opinion, any great deity smart enough to create the eyeball, funny enough to fashion farting and wry enough to hatch homosexuality would embrace non-subscribers with open arms (or open tentacles if she, he, it, or they turned out to be of extraterrestrial origin).”
She imagines that, if there is a heaven, it will be populated by compassionate people with big-hearts regardless of affiliation or scriptural knowledge including “inner-city Wiccans who’ve been particularly nice to cats.”