Monday, November 19, 2012

Why I Hide In The Atheism Closet






For many years my favorite song has been 'Imagine'  by John Lennon.  I seem to find that it is on many people's list of favorites.  It was brought back (as if it ever left) by A Perfect Circle, which is one of my favorite bands.  I can listen to it for hours, back to back.

I like the song for all of it's lyrics. I am an atheist. I don't believe there is a God. I don't think there is an afterlife.  I think today, right here, right now is all we have. I tried to be a Christian.  I tried Wicca. I tried several differently philosophies and have come to atheism, with a hint of Buddhism (which no deity is involved with) to be where I have comfortably settled. After researching, living and trying out different ideas I am pretty happy with being where I am. So, you may wonder, why is it you never talk about it?  Are you ashamed of your stance?


I am not ashamed of my stance. I am confident with what I have chosen to be a good path for myself.  I am however ashamed of how others who adopt the same stance behave.  I can log onto Facebook and see many of the pages that discuss atheism speak about and to others that do not hold the same belief with contempt anytime, any day.  I can look up blogs that hold up extreme examples up to discredit religion.  Pages and blogs that use Westboro Baptist Church as ammo, is one good example.  As if most Christians align themselves with that extreme group, anyway.  Atheists that do not hesitate to let others know there is no God. They intrude on religious blogs spreading negativity.  They really set a bad example for the rest of us.  I do believe that it is important that religion be removed from our government. I believe that, because I believe that we should have the ability to choose and if religious beliefs are being written into laws, then we are not free to choose as citizens.  This means that I have to respect others in their choices.  Even if I think their choices don't make sense. I will continue to rail against any harmful actions religious beliefs can to manifest, yes. There are some religions that view women's rights in ways is harmful.  I will stand up to that action, but I will not attack that person's whole religion. I never see the value of attacking their intelligence level based on their beliefs. I can't go a day without seeing something on an atheist blog, page ect... claim that religion is for the simpleminded, feeble minded, or whatever other synonym you would like to insert there to mean stupid.  This is a common saying in the atheist community and I find it offensive. I think it is an awful way to view others that see the world differently than you.  Insulting the intelligence of others is not going to get them to hear what you have to say. It's going to make them feel attacked, and defensive, which in turn will make them discount your words completely.

I read somewhere the other day (I wish I had saved it so that I could cite it, but I didn't) that our beliefs aren't what makes us who we are, it's our actions that do.  Our actions make our character. You can't sit and think your way to being a kind person.  You have to do something that is kind to manifest that quality.  Sitting on the internet and at little meetings with other atheists discussing how simple, and wrong religious people are does not make you a positive person. It does not make you better than them. It manifests more negativity in the world, which is the last thing we need.  You can't change the world by bashing what is wrong with it in your eyes.  You change the world by sharing with others what is right with it.

Promote what you love, instead of bashing what you hate.

23 comments:

  1. I could've written this and it would have been almost exactly the same except instead of being an athiest I am a Catholic, a lot of Catholics give us a bad name... and sometimes I keep my religion to myself.. not because I am ashamed of it but because I am shamed by many members of my faith.

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    1. It never occurred to me that this could apply to other religions/organizations, too. You make a good point.

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  2. I too could have written this only in regard to my Non-Denominational Christian circles. I saw so much hatred and judgment with people that it caused be emotional trauma and extreme inner conflict. I currently do not have any desires to go back to church, but I do go off and on for my kids because they like it - when we are not too overloaded. I have started to come to terms with my journey as being my own. It is not wrong it is mine.

    I have witnessed the same actions toward Atheists in the churches I attended and ministries I served in, as well with family members. I have never felt comfortable with that way of thinking. I am one who has always felt a strong desire to respect and appreciate the path that others choose.

    Although, I do draw a line with extremism. I have a hard time accepting that, but I still try to understand their point of view. I have noticed that people tend to become that way out of hurts and fears. (Usually fabricated and fed by manipulating leaders.)

    Your last paragraphs says it all. Excellent!






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    1. There are some people that regard atheists as horrible people that worship satan and whatever else they tack onto us, but most I am finding are pretty tolerant. Maybe, not so much in my tiny town where it's not acceptable to be anything but Christian, but overall I think people are more tolerant that not.

      I belong to a local Skeptics groups and one of the meetings I attended they spoke about how important it is to speak up about our atheism, because there are more of us than most know about. I know it's important to stand up for our right to have a non-denominational government, separation of church and state and all that, but when so many atheists are embarrassingly rude, nasty and hateful I am not keen on being identified as one of them.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

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  3. I AGREE. Beautiful. I am not an athiest but have many beautiful friends that are...in a way I am...I can't explain it really but I believe in love and promote it at every turn. LOve and boundaries. great post!

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  4. Well said.

    I am "agnostic," but my beliefs are equivalent to atheism. I am actually too skeptical to be 100% atheist! :)

    I support other's and their paths, I consider it none of my business and keep quiet, unless harm is being done.

    I enjoyed your article. I avoid other atheists because many are polarized. Your moderation cheers me.

    Lori

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  5. I think you did a beautiful job writing this post because you are right-the issue is not whether there is a God or not, it is how we treat others who have differnet beliefs then ourselves! Nicely written. :)

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    1. Thank you for your comment and thanks for reading.

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  6. Love this. Like Lori I am "agnostic" and loved what she said, "I am too skeptical to be 100% atheist!" Yes. Me too.
    In the end regardless of what label we identify with, it is how we behave, our actions that will either do harm or help. I prefer to do all I can to help rather than harm, though I don't always get that right! Funnily enough I just wrote about making mistakes and random acts of kindness. "Right" actions and behavior are my "religion" I don't always do it well, but as long as I keep on that path, I'll be better off than if I stray from it.

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    1. Being kind and compassionate with others is the most important things, even with our own selves. Thanks for your comment!

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  7. This is an area where you certainly can't and should not "force" things. If there was a proof for the existence of G_d it would sort of spoil the fun. The proof, if there's one, is an internal and personal one.

    Good job coming up with a positive approach to how you exercise your belief.

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  8. Lately, I have come to the conclusion that, for me personally, it doesn't really matter if God exists or not. I want to do the right thing, be the best I can and help as many others as I can, just because it makes me and others feel good. That's just how I want my life to be for myself.

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  9. Beautiful piece. I'm like Heather, and you, but I couldn't keep being Catholic in front of Catholics once I had kids, because I didn't want the Pope's hate spewed on in front of the kids (who have two mothers). So now I'm, yeah, I mean I think every sensitive, feeling, thinking person on the planet, including Atheists, has to have a similar reaction about their belief systems being run over by a bunch of mean-people, except for Tibetan Buddhists, because the Dalai Lama is just, pure Awesome, as far as I can see.

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    1. I agree that the Dalai Lama is pretty awesome!

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  10. Spectacular post my friend!! ((Hugs))

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  11. This reminds me a lot of a post I wrote recently about how I care about how people live, not what they believe.

    http://davidmusick.blogspot.com/2012/09/i-care-how-people-live-not-what-they.html

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    1. Very good post. I have added your blog to my blogroll. :)

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    2. My Aspie son also says he's an athiest. But I don't think you can really know at 12 yo. I think it is because Stephen Hawking is an athiest. I let him be whatever he wants to be.

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