Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Helpful, Happy Atheist
Many times when one loses his/her religion the first course of action is to mock, disrespect, and even hate the religion and its members from which one escaped. I too had my time when I despised all things religious but recent events have caused me to see things and the religious with a different perspective.
People, I believe, are inherently good and try to, for the most part, help each other out. There may be a few rotten apples that may seem to ruin the bunch but such is generally not the case. Within my own family there are a few who take a hard stand against who I am and what I disbelieve. They are always quick to both ask and omit my opinion in an attempt to garner others in my opposition and/or sway me from my stance. These, however, represent the minority. Most of my family and friends are quietly supportive, neutral, or are respectful in their opposing opinions.
In comparing my situation to that of others as well as what we see on a national scale I found that the majority of people are the quiet, respectful opposers instead of the often seen and televised, sign waving, hardliners. Generally they carry a Christ-like compassion and concern for those around them and truly only wish for others to be happy.
Wherein then can I fault them; for we both search for the same thing, happiness.
What does this means to the non-religious? The religious have given us great examples of both the bad and good side of themselves. We as non-believers have our poles as well. I for one do not want to be the type that continually battles religion, debating, denouncing, and deconverting. Where is the happiness in that? I'd much rather follow what my LDS mother has always taught me and "be an example." If people see the non-religious trying to help build unity and collective progress within society instead of attempting to demonstrate their own supposed superiority, we as a whole will be benefited and the non-religious will gain a positive public perception. Let us utilize constructive means of criticism, help where we can, and make the world as a whole a better place for both the believer and atheist.
So, as a portion of the Mormon missionary in me has never died, I would like to extend an invitation to all those who might read this. Please do something kind for someone who you might not agree with and post a comment below.
Note-I understand that not every atheist purports themselves as such but I fear that there are far too many who do not get over their anti-religious disdain.