8 Things I’ve learned while talking about art and religion.
By Alan Winner (Performer, Writer, Director)
1. I’m okay with grey area.
Original creation requires a deviation from the norm. The fundamentalist beliefs of my childhood were unsustainable when my prayers found no solutions. There was no grey area for my sexuality in my Southern Baptist church, so I went in search of my grey area. A place where I could re-learn right and wrong in a context that was on my own terms, relieving myself of the notion that self-expression is somehow sinful.
2. Mythology is mythology.
If a story cannot be backed by science, it is a myth. Myths come in many shapes and forms, and are relevant to the study of the human condition. We used to spread our myths around a fire. Before we could write, we would tell the stories our elders told us to keep our brains entertained and satisfied, so that we could continue to be productive in whatever back-breaking role we were born into. From these myths came paintings and music that can evoke our most primal feelings. Myths give common references where the populous can find catharsis. When a person believes in the literal interpretation of any myth, however, reason goes out the window.
3. Atheists aren’t scary, and most of them are really smart.
They don’t rely on the myths to explain anything. When atheists gather, there tends to be insightful discussion around factual, historical events. Other than that, I don’t really think you can categorize atheists. Atheists are as diverse as anyone else, just with wittier dinner conversation.