The Pacific North West, or Cascadia, is said to have the largest percentages of Nones in the US. Nones are those individuals who, when asked to state a religious preference on a form, enter None.
Nones are often atheists, sometimes agnostics of one kind or another, frequently people who were brought up in a Christian denomination and have left it, and very often people who say they aren’t religious but are spiritual. Some are very clear about what they mean by spiritual, others less so. But in any case, pretty much all of them, at one time or another have questions about morality, mortality, society, inter-personal relationships and lots of questions that start with ‘Why?’
As a minister, these are the people I seek to serve. I really don’t care if you believe in God, or the Goddess, or a Supreme Being, or Higher Power, or Odin, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Nothing at All. To me it doesn’t matter what you believe in, but how your belief effects your daily life. Does it give you strength? Does it guide your actions? Does it give you inner peace? Does it make you a better person? Does it allow you to get away with being a self-satisfied, egotistical, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, judgmental dick? Does it provide you with justification for doing exactly what you want and ignoring the wellbeing of others?
If it’s one of the last two, then we need to talk.
But you can be an atheist and be a dick as well. In fact, anyone can be a dick at times.
And that is what this blog is about. Not being a dick. How to avoid being a dick by accident, and even more so, how to stop being a dick on purpose
I don’t intend to talk about what I believe, because, for a start, I’m not going to try and sell you anything. And furthermore, what I believe in has nothing to do with whether or not you chose to act like a dick.
Today I was driving along a typical Seattle street; one lane east, one lane west and one turning lane in the middle. Up ahead was a traffic light, red. There were ten or twelve cars waiting for the light; a good number even for five o’clock. The car in front of me moved over into the turning lane, which changed into a left turn lane just before the traffic light, with a dedicated arrow signal. He did not signal, he just crossed the yellow line into the turning lane, and drove alongside the cars in front. Now he was the first car in the left turn lane.
When the left turn arrow turned green, he crept forward and started nosing in front of the first car in the right lane. As soon as the light turned green, he shot off down the street.
Leaving aside that driving in the middle lane for more than a car length or two is illegal, what a dick! I wondered, as I pulled forward and got to be the first car in line as the light turned red, how many of the drivers in front of me felt like chasing him down and ramming him, before beating him to death with a tire iron. (This is not a recommended response, by the way.)
However, the question that came to me was what led that driver to think he was entitled to do that? To randomly break the law and ignore the desire of the other drivers to get on with their lives without some idiot cutting them off?
Now this is a small, thing, perhaps. But put yourself in the place of the driver in the right lane, patiently waiting for the light to change, and suddenly, from your left, here comes another car just…taking over. I would not be surprised it this kind of thing annoyed you. And how many irritations does it take to ruin your day? To make you bad tempered and just a little bit more likely to do something dickish yourself?
In short, why did the driver do that, and what was the result?
Exploring what constitutes being a dick and what to do about it is what I will be considering in the weeks ahead. Until next time, be on the lookout for dickish behavior and ask yourself, “Do I do that kind of shit?”