I will refer to the claim made by the title, that negativity attracts more negativity, in two separate contexts today.
The claim was stated to me by a family member a few months ago… In context, he was dismissing my views and writing on atheism, as negative. Let’s define atheism yet again: It is the lack of belief in any deities. Contrast that with the belief in a particular deity, such as the Christian god, in which the person has been indoctrinated to believe despite no evidence supporting the existence of such deity.
Is that negative? No, it isn’t. What’s negative is when a belief is imposed on others. You are entitled to believe whatever you want, but when it affects me, it is negative. When you tell others what they can wear, or eat, or how to behave, that is very negative indeed. Last year, about 11 months before my son was reunified with me, a last ditch effort was carried out by his foster parents… He went to a forensic psychologist, and the intent (that they will deny) was to fabricate reasons for him not to be reunified with me.
The report backfired because I had done nothing wrong. Not me, anyway, but Megan had said some harsh words to him, and while he spent a week with us, while I was at work, may have given him a hiding, after he kicked and scratched her. So it was not very positive towards her. She didn’t get to defend her case because she went to Cape Town on holiday when the psychologist wanted to interview us. (Now she is staying there permanently.) Ultimately the court placed our son with me anyway. But in the months since Josh has been with me, he has told me that he was spanked by both foster parents, and that his “grandpa” (I refer to his foster mother’s father) hit him with a belt when he’d received demerits at school. (A demerit is received every time a child misbehaves.) Double-standards much? But that’s not why I’m writing about it… The only negative thing (towards me) in the psychologists’ report was the conclusion, which concluded that “it is important for him to have something to believe in”. Did I mention that the psychologist’s office was in Catholic school? Biased much?
(Of course I take Josh’s statements about spankings with a grain of salt. I have caught him lying about something unrelated… although due to the level of detail – demerits – regarding “grandpa” hitting him with a belt, I tend to believe that one. But similar statements he made to that psychologist about his mother were taken seriously. It seems too much of a coincidence that a psychologist, who was arranged by his foster parents, somehow reached conclusions about Joshua’s mother that so closely aligned with the pre-existing narrative of beliefs that his foster parents had of her. It’s almost like they could influence the outcome of the report somehow… a report that also contained loads of references to us using drugs in the past, with exaggerated claims of neglect. While I understand that the child’s history is relevant, something about the whole process seemed off to me, as it was not impartial. Much of those allegations were based on a previous report, drawn up by child welfare when Josh was taken away, while we were both clean. Yet that and other issues, which could be deemed negative to the foster parents, were nowhere to be found… Issues such as their refusal to let us visit our son in hospital when he had an eye operation.)
Oh dear… I intended to write about the psychologist report only because it was relevant to the conclusion of the report, which mentioned the opinion that religious belief is important. Excuse me for going off on a tangent.
The point is, imposing religious beliefs on others is wrong. Implying that I should continue his indoctrination was absurd. In reality, one of my highest priorities was my son’s deconversion, which is going very well. He recently stopped believing in Santa Claus, he hates church and is naturally sceptical. He tells me that he has never seen or heard god so he isn’t sure if god is real. Thus all I need to do is encourage him to think critically… encourage him to think through his doubt rather than stifling it as religious people do, when they teach children not to think but to accept dogma uncritically until they reach the point where they are brainwashed and unable to think for themselves. It turns out that he is exactly the right age to be deconverted and I am so glad that it isn’t too late. Another few years of indoctrination may well have been too many.
There are other examples where religious beliefs are imposed on others who do not share those beliefs… One that I have heard of often lately is public swimming pools, where the beliefs of Muslims, that women must be covered, are imposed on others. Then there’s the issue of victim blaming when women are raped… The idea that they were “asking for it” because they did not cover themselves up. Then there are less serious examples… such as, if I buy pizza at a local Debonairs, it won’t have bacon because their menu is Halaal. Why should their absurd belief that pigs are unclean be imposed on me? And what of their cruel and barbaric methods of animal slaughter?
In short, writing about atheism is not negative. It’s often about exposing religion, which is negative. That doesn’t “attract” negativity. How could it? The negativity exists, and should be exposed. When I’m told that my views are negative, what it really means is that the person making the statements disagrees with them, and does not want to consider views that he disagrees with. He probably believes his own nonsense… The statement is a way of dismissing the view and justifying not thinking about it.
Onto my other topic of the day… negativity in the sense of my own history.
I fully intend to write a more positive post, to publish at the start of next month when I am three years clean. It is something to celebrate. I am happy. I have much to be happy about, and will write not only about being clean for three years, but also about how this year in particular has been an especially good year. I have my son back, my work is going well, and I finally joined a gym and am making excellent progress…
But before I do that, I have at least one more negative post to write. I don’t believe that negativity “attracts” more negativity. That’s bullshit. I am the sum of all my experiences, good and bad. The bad ones need to be written about too, especially when there are issues that are unresolved. Writing some of the worst of them isn’t about an online pity party… It’s about showing some real world consequences of addiction. It’s about inspiring others who have had equally horrific experiences by showing them that they are not alone. It’s about attempting to deter others from making the same mistakes.
My next post, if I can figure out how the fuck to express it in less than 10 000 words (and without overusing parenthesis as I constantly switch to related asides everywhere), will be about the death of our beloved pets, that I tried and failed to prevent, which acted as an omen and a metaphor for the death of our relationship, which I also tried and failed to prevent.