Stuff That An Atheist/Agnostic Would Like You To Know

This is going to be the most controversial post I’ve written so far. It’s a response to the exposure to organized religion I’ve experienced recently. It is what it is, and I own it fully.

  1. Yes, we do have morals.

I find it offensive at the mere suggestion that because I don’t read the bible (or any other religious work) or practice a form of organized religion, I must not have morals. Morals are internally derived. One does not need to consult a religious text in order to gain a sense of right versus wrong. A good upbringing is what will instill a healthy set of beliefs. Look up Secular Humanism for an example of what I’m talking about.

2. No, we’re not angry people.

But we do have an emotional reaction to what we perceive to be complete nonsense. You perceive that as anger. It’s not my problem.

3. We are not obligated to open our doors to uninvited solicitors claiming to be spreading the word of God.

Since it’s my house, I am not going to drop everything to talk to a complete stranger soliciting people door-to-door. How is this any different from an Avon rep? I think Avon salespeople are more honest and transparent; they will tell you exactly what it is they are trying to sell.

4. We live normal lives too.

No, we don’t worship “Satan,” sacrifice animals, or practice witchcraft. Atheism literally means “without theism.” Just imagine someone living a regular lifestyle, minus the practice of religion. If you can’t imagine what that looks like, then perhaps your perspective needs to grow? If you spend all or most of your time with only one type of person, then your own personal growth will be stunted.

5. Telling me that you want me “to be saved” and accepting Jesus into my heart as my one and only savior sounds like pure gibberish.

I can’t reasonably respond to such a thing. Saved from what? “Satan”? How do you accept a dead man into your heart in the first place? Doesn’t hold water. Organized religion, as I see it, is a form of mind control that is highly effective on young children, recovering drug addicts, and anyone else who doesn’t have a) the wherewithal to question the information they’re being fed, or b) externally-referenced individuals looking for someone else to “save” them from their own self-imposed circumstances.

6. If you tell me about the upcoming “Rapture” or “Armageddon,” I will assume you mean the 1981 tune by Blondie or the 1998 action flick with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. If you go into detail about the Rapture or Armageddon, I’ll start thinking about the character Louis Tully in Ghostbusters when he started going on and on about The Keymaster of Ghoser.

7. Human beings are not born inherently sinful.

This is another thing certain people are brainwashed to believe — that all humans are born sinners, and only Jesus can make you a good person. A sinful infant? How convenient. Just like when those windshield repair companies smash your windshield and then leave a flyer with their contact information. Broken winshield? We can fix that. And get you a free box of Omaha Steaks. What a lucky coincidence!

8. Saying a prayer at the beginning of a house party thanking God and Jesus for all the refreshments is a little weird.

A friend of mine invited me to a Fourth of July house party being held by friends of his from his church. I thought, okay cool, I like house parties, so I went. I was the only person who brought alcohol, which was strange. And right as the party started getting active, the owner of the house had everyone stop and do a group prayer, thanking God for all the refreshments and blessing the house and all the guests. I thought that was a little odd.

Then there were a couple women who had a puzzled facial expression when I revealed that I was agnostic. They were like, “So … if you don’t go to church, what do you do?” They were pleasantly surprised that I do volunteer work at places like animal shelters. Isn’t that something? Another red flag was when my friend told me that this party “is not a meet market.” Okay, so does this mean I should leave my masculinity at home and behave like a neutered person? Let men be men and let women be women. We’ll all be better off that way. In other words, if you put a number of single men and single women in a room together, they might actually {gasp} flirt with each other. Let’s stop suppressing our own humanity, shall we?

To recap my talking points and avoid any misunderstandings, I don’t mean that religion per se is a bad thing. Do whatever makes you happy. I’ve noticed a lot of patterns over time that suggest (to me at least) that there are a lot of people who use religion as a crutch or as a means to exclude other people. On one hand, there’s nothing wrong with having a set of beliefs, but on the other hand, your behavior is what determines your reputation among others. You could thank God for all the great things going on in your life. But … have you given yourself credit lately? It’s okay to put yourself first. You’ll survive, and G_d won’t be offended that, heaven forbid, one of his creations takes good care of him/herself, so that he/she can take care of others. Such a radical concept.