I am deeply disappointed in humanity these days. Many of us are, from both sides of the political divide, from many different religions and denominations, from those who claim non-religious spirituality, all the way to those who claim to be non religious. People of a wide variety of colors are all disappointed in humanity.
We have daily violence against minorities, LGBTQi, police. This is sickening.
One thing that disappoints me just as much as that, is the attitude that some have that their solution is the only answer. The one that bothers me the most is the attitude that we need Jesus.
I don’t need Jesus. I don’t need god. What I need is the ability to self reflect, admit to areas where I struggle, learn from my mistakes, and learn to accept differences in others WITHOUT trying to change them. This is called Self Awareness and would go a LONG way towards creating peace in the world.
Good without god. BUT – if you need god or Jesus to be good – I’m OK with that. I will protect your religious rights so long as it does not infringe on my rights to be non-religious.
Atheists tend to be highly educated1. 27% of the general population have college degrees, while 43% of atheists claim the same. The more educated a person is, the more capable he or she is at critical thinking2. This of course does not guarantee that education will turn a person into an atheist, possibly due to the fact that many people find comfort in their religiosity. And then there is the factor of some religious individuals adhering to the beliefs that still make sense in the modern world, but forgoing those that no longer make sense2.
Gallup found in 2010 that the lower a country’s per capita income, the higher their population rates the importance of religion3.
Is religion an important part of your daily life? (Median responses among countries at each per-capita income level.)
Note that the US breaks the statistics with a higher than average percentage of religiosity (65%) compared to wealth (about $49,000).
I am genuinely confused as to why stating an opposing opinion is seen as a negative thing. Sure, in some cases the parties in an argument are trying to sway each other to their own point of view. And in other cases the argument may be combative or angry in nature.
But why is simply disagreeing seen as a negative thing, especially when regarding religion? And why does it cause people get defensive or want to go silent or stop sharing their opinion?
How can we, as the human race, ever see peace if we don’t talk about our differences in a manner that lets us learn from each other and generate tolerance and acceptance?
That’s all I want, really. I want theists to be open to discussion without feeling like they need to convince anyone to switch to their beliefs. I want atheists to stop attacking the intelligence of theists, which tends to make them angry and more close minded – because they are HUMAN and that is what humans do when they’re angry.
But alas, I’m probably dreaming of utopia and that ain’t gonna happen!
Some messages are put into the public space seemingly only to divide people. I came across this one today on Facebook and it caused me quite a bit of grief, along with the comments supporting the message. To me, this message is the epitome of passive aggressiveness. There is nothing in this message to unite us as humans. It has subtle undertones of “Hey, we’re Christians and you have to do it our way. Like it or not!”
The majority of the people responding to that message are close family members. I love them dearly and always will. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I just “came out” as a non believer. Just because I love my family, it doesn’t mean that I agree with them. I also decided to speak up so that more people are exposed to critical thinking and more friends and family may be encouraged to speak out against messages that seem to only divide us. Too many of us take things like this at face value, or simply believe it because it matches what they feel and/or believe.
To those family members, I am truly sorry if you are offended by this blog post. I will not be silent and I hope that you understand that I am not “attacking” anyone. I’m only attempting to be more open and honest about my views.
It saddened me to read one of the first replies: “Only idiots want you to say happy holiday anyhow, since holiday mean ‘holy day’.” Because to me, saying Merry Christmas is great when you are confident that your audience is Christian and celebrates like you do. Saying Happy Holidays is much less likely to exclude people who are not Christian AND is a positive message. I cannot think of anything unkind (or idiotic) about saying Happy Holidays.
I spoke up to explain with: “Ummm, there’s more than one holiday during that period. There’s more than one religion. And there’s non believers celebrating in a variety of ways. So why not be more inclusive instead of assuming everyone is just like you and celebrates your holiday and believes what you believe?”
And I get responses like this (My thoughts follow each in red text):
- Do you just want to do away with Christmas, Easter and any acknowledgement of anything Christian, or God? Christmas is the main holiday at that time of year and no one can take our right away to say Merry Christmas. If you don’t like it, just excuse us for believing differently than you do.
When you tell someone merry Christmas and they don’t believe, it can be a bit disconcerting. They feel isolated. Saying happy holidays is more inclusive, but if you know that the person you are speaking to celebrates the way you do – then say merry Christmas.
- I also received a chat that I was attacking Christianity and it’s followers.
No, but I certainly felt belittled by the comment that only idiots want people to say Happy Holidays. That is a mild form of attack, regardless of my beliefs or non-beliefs.
- …do not try to make those of us who choose to say Merry Christmas feel guilty. You just make our belief’s stronger, and we pray harder for those of you who want to crush our faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that you are searching for God, and rebelling against what you believe to be true. My prayers will continue to help you find Him.
I never said anything about guilt. I don’t want people to feel guilty for saying Merry Christmas, but to understand why Happy Holidays is appropriate in many circumstances. I’m also not into crushing people’s faith. But on the other hand, I’m NOT searching for God.
- If you truly do not believe in God, why do you care about a bunch of empty words on your behalf? Why do you continue to post your non beliefs? We don’t want to be inclusive. We who truly believe, want to be positive about our wishes.
This one was the kicker for me. I was speechless for a moment. Number one, words are not empty. The entire message in the image was “Hey, do it my way – not this new way that is more inclusive.” And the part about me continuing to post my non belief, well – because I want the people of the world to know that non believers are regular people who have values, beliefs, compassion, and everything that believers have. “We don’t want to be inclusive.” That REALLY goes against my core belief of valuing diversity. We have so many kinds of people. Short, tall, skinny, fat, pale white to dark dark brown, olive toned, red toned, too many denominations of Christians to even think about, various other religions (estimates of 4,200), and such a huge diversity of thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. If we were open to sharing beliefs WITHOUT the intent of CONVERTING someone to the way we feel, we would learn so much.
My family is praying for me – and I appreciate the fact that they are thinking about me and care for me. I’m not praying for them though. Instead, I’m thinking about them and hoping that they will learn to be more accepting of the diversity in our world.
Food for thought. From “Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans” by David Niose
“But more significantly, when we actually compare the values and beliefs of atheists and secular people to those of religious people, the former are markedly less nationalistic, less prejudiced, less anti-Semitic, less racist, less dogmatic, less ethnocentric, less close-minded, and less authoritarian.””
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A coworker who knows some of my personal background and how much stress I’ve dealt with over the years asked me if I am a church goer. I simply said “no” to begin with, hoping he’d just drop it. Well, he didn’t. He suggested that I might find a lot of support from church. I’m sure that is true, but it is not for me. I said I’m totally NOT a church person.
He actually said “oh, shame on you.”
R E A L L Y!
I feel no shame in the fact that I don’t go to church. I would feel shame – on the other hand – if I were to go and fake it the whole time. I would feel shame that I let other people’s beliefs direct my behavior.
If it works for you, great. I support you and will not try to change your mind.
It doesn’t work for me, so don’t try to change my mind, in the guise of saving me. And especially don’t try to assign shame to me because I don’t believe like you do.