If I’ve sent you a link to this, it’s out of respect. It’s because unlike most people, you didn’t become combative, disrespectful, or dismissive. I think writing them out will stop either one of us from becoming too invested in what’s said. It’s also private, as in no one has to see or hear you if you read my thoughts and see the merit in them. To be clear, seeing merit in my thoughts does not mean you agree, only that my position is well thought out, valid, and makes sense.
Odds are, you read something I wrote, or listened to something that made you go back and make an inference regarding my lack of faith. For quite a few of my friends, it was This Podcast. Then you asked me one of, or most of the questions I’m going to deal with below.
- But you seem so nice!
This one always strikes me as…odd. If I am, and have been “nice”, something that’s debatable at best, then does my not believing in your God make the good that I have done for/with you somehow invalid? I stand by all my actions. My only motivation was my wanting to do something nice for you. I have no fear of divine retribution, or rather; I have no fear of punishment for not “being nice”.
- But your parents believed in God and taught you to when you were a kid!
My parents did their best to surround me with the best influences they could. For my dad it was his belief in a singular Higher Power as he called it, and for my mom, it was her it was her Christian church and faith. From them, I took the value in creating community and helping the people around us. My life experience has taught me that those values are in no way connected to a deity, the belief that those virtues can only be extolled through belief in a force outside of our own compassion and sense of humanity does mankind a disservice.
- You didn’t tell me!?
1) You didn’t ask. 2) I’m secure enough in my belief to not throw it around where it’s not asked for.
- You didn’t say anything when the group had its Religious Moment!
I completely respect your beliefs. I will never, ever try to detract from your faith. If it’s what gets you where you need to be in life then its correct for you.
- You believe in the Devil don’t you?
I don’t believe in any supernatural entity. Be they Gods, Devils, Angels, or Demons. I do however believe in evil. I believe that every man is responsible for his actions and should be held accountable.
- But what if you’re wrong?
I just might be. One of the benefits of Atheism is that I can entertain the possibility that everything I believe is incorrect. That makes it my responsibility to only commit myself to the things that have been demonstrated as true and verifiable. Even if that truth conflicts with my earlier beliefs.
- Then how do you explain the (Sun, Stars, Beauty of flowers, intricacies of the human eye, air, the Mind, or something as wonderfully complex)?!
I can’t explain those things; I’m not that educated. Some of the references you cite simply haven’t been explainable yet. I use the word yet quite specifically; to the best of my research religion has claimed the God was located inside all the things we couldn’t understand.
The heavy burden Atheists bear is that I understand that anything can be understood and demystified if enough men over enough lifetimes devote themselves to unlocking it. There was a time when people with epilepsy were called “possessed”, women were possessions with no rights, and that slavery was completely justifiable. It was all God’s Will, and that it had been ratified by religious texts written by men. That is Circular Reasoning, if I’m identifying the wrong logical fallacy please correct me. Over time, education, and enlightenment we found the root causes of these medical and societal ills. We’ve even made steps towards addressing and eliminating some of these problems. Let’s not forget that every single medical advancement we enjoy has been, and in many instances still to be won by completely defying religion(s). Religion(s) that understand an educated populace that knows that there is nothing that can’t be understood is far more difficult to control.
- But I know you are a good person inside!
(Throws hands up with no idea how to reply.)
- What I ask of you.
Please be polite because Atheists are people too. The first example that comes to mind is that you should never say “I FOUND OUT YOU ARE AN ATHEIST!”, try saying “Discovered” or “Realised”. Remember, we FIND OUT that someone is a SERIAL KILLER(!) or AN UNDERCOVER COP(!)
Now I will Play The Black Card!
As a Black American; the main belief I have been exposed to and that I can speak knowledgeably on is Christianity. I cannot recognize, or reconcile Black America’s unyielding allegiance to a religion that is the central article of faith in justifying the enslavement of Africans and the wholesale slaughter of Native American Indians and First People(s).
There was a time when we as Black Americans had no choice but to adopt the names, religions, and behaviors of the oppressors. Today we have a choice. I cannot understand why so many of us still choose to comply.
That was not sarcasm.
None of what I just put forth is meant to change anyone’s mind or influence them. What I hope it does is give you a better idea of where I stand and give you a few tips on how to explain to people if you feel the same way I do.
If you need someone to talk to because no one around you “gets it”, let me know. Just remember that I won’t have many answers, and you will probably leave with more questions. That’s a good thing.
YusefWateef (AT) Gmail.com