Is it okay to say that there’s nothing wrong with being an atheist? I know that may sound silly to my readers but I’m exhausted reading stories, and even on social media that there must be something wrong with us that we “deny God”. I’m not an atheist that condemns religious belief; In fact, I support religious freedom 100%, but that also includes those of us that are non-believers.
I think that one reason we atheists are so disrespected, and devalued in society is that, although we respect others right to believe in what they want, we don’t respect the belief. I think that’s okay because it’s a stand I’ve taken for decades. Why should I be required to respect a belief that I think is false?
Over the decades, I’ve known plenty of believers that I considered good people. Just because they happen to ascribe to a religious belief I don’t find valid does not make them less a caring, loving person. When we all look around, who are most of those that you interact with one a daily basis? Believers. Of course we’ve all found some that are intolerant of our non-belief, but, at least in my experience , most are not.
I can criticize their belief. no matter the religion, as much as they do the same to my atheism. What I don’t think we’ve done as atheists is explain who we are. We’re seen more as attack dogs against religion than anything else. I’m not suggesting we become accommodationist, just that we accept is here, has been here from the birth of humankind, and that long after any of the current religions, die off, there will most likely be something to take their place.
So what is it I’m saying here? Maybe we need to ratchet down the rhetoric and focus more on what we can do to, legislatively to lessen the influence of religion in our lives. Insulting people because we happen to disregard their belief isn’t helpful.
3 thoughts on “Less Rhetoric, More Action”
If I were to speculate, its not so much that atheists are devalued in society, actually the contrary. In public: TV, Movies, for example, its the atheist who is portrayed as brilliant, rational, tolerant, empathetic, et al. and the believer (usually Christian) as an idiot, hateful, backwoods, repressive…
Is it that you mean in personal circles? If so, I’d say my experience is a good number of professing atheists are condescending, acerbic, present caricatures, and the like.. Obviously not all, but many.
John, in famous words from a muppet movie, “Peoples is peoples.”
I know asshole atheists and I know asshole Christians. I know compassionate and honorable atheists and Christians. Not many of my local associates know my kids and I are diehard atheists, but I know that some of these people would immediately look down upon us, just as we never-smokers look down upon a person who suddenly lights up a cigarette. It’s like…ugh, and our entire opinion of that person shifts to a notion of his or her stupidity and weakness of character.
Not fair at all, yet there it is.
Jim, you suggest:
“Maybe we need to ratchet down the rhetoric and focus more on what we can do to, legislatively to lessen the influence of religion in our lives. ”
How much influence does religion have in your life? Not the very personal problems with old friends and family, but in the rest of your life does religion actually influence it such that your life is altered or disturbed?
Yes, when our kids were in an overtly religious public school..overtly Christian in our case. Even then, we just rolled with the punches, maintained our intellectual superiority (LOL) and continued as the compassionate human beings we have always been.
Public hearings, government meetings yielding secular prayer or moment of silence…no big deal. Leaving out “under God” in the pledge…no big deal. Singing “God Bless America”…well, it is a song, a poem set to music. I love music and singing. Churches are often magnificent architecture. I collect angels…and dragons, neither of which exist, except I am not so sure about the dragons. Christmas shows, etc. and all that goes along with the holiday…go with the fun.
In the federal government and state government, it is the Leftists who devalue life, so I agree with the Christians in many instances and since homosexuality has been on the fast track to becoming very normal, only the extreme religious leaders of sects that are dying out slowly still get their knickers in a twist over those folks. Well, except for the growing Muslim population adhering to Shariah Law.
Anyway, my life is not that impacted by religion, at least not so that I feel I must become an activist to address legislation to lessen its influence. But that is my life.