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Friday, 11 August 2017

Should we tolerate religion?

Note: this post is aimed at atheists/agnostics, and those who identify otherwise may take offence.

As atheists, we tend to be against religion and belief in God. I view religion as negative; it divides people, causes war, uses fear and submission, and claims to be so absolutist that anyone who dares to disagree is ostracised. However, I understand that religion brings peace to many. Thankfully, most people do not take a literal view of their religious texts (unlike ISIS) and only focus on the ‘good’ bits.

There is this awful quote: ‘Islam is perfect, Muslims are not.’ Islam is disgusting and far from perfect, and Muslims are indeed ordinary, imperfect humans who are mostly good but capable of bad like everyone else on the planet. I dislike religion but not the religious. My boyfriend (who is amaaaazing) is a Christian. I don’t respect religion, but I respect him, so I’m not going to start hyping out my religious hatred in front of him. 

I do think the world would be better off without religion, but I don’t think we can force people out of it. Stalin burned churches and tried to force state atheism among people which I think is awful. I believe in freedom of choice and free speech. Forcing atheism on people makes you as bad as ISIS trying to force Islam on people. When I have children, if they ask me ‘is there a God’ I’m going to say to them ‘what do you think?’ I believe in free thinking and rationale. Part of being a secular humanist is giving people the choice to think for themselves. I’ll let my kids decide for themselves if they think there’s a God or not, or decide if they want to follow a particular religion. Just because I’m against religion, doesn’t give me the right to force people to also be against it.

I don’t believe in a God or a deity, but I believe in and have faith in love, humanity, nature and Mother Earth; music, writing, the greater energy of the universe, family, friendship, knowledge, critical thinking and oneness. I believe that we’re all connected through matter, energy and other chemicals, as well as through our genes and then on a spiritual level through love and bouncing off one another. Sometimes life feels so hard and awful and terrible things happen that make some freak out and others numb. But as long as we have faith in something (and that faith doesn’t necessarily have to involve religion) life doesn’t feel so bad. 

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