Atheists, I am not here to tell you you’re wrong; I’ve never been inside your head so I wouldn’t dare assume to fully understand your thoughts and experiences or your views on spirituality. I used to be one of you, and it drove me crazy when religious people would try to shove their views down my throat or assume I was an immoral jerk because I didn’t believe in a supreme deity.
I don’t know for a fact there is a god; I’ve never seen him or had incontrovertible evidence for his existence. However, I choose to believe in god for reasons I won’t get into here. (If people care, comment and I will do another post on that later.)
This post is going to consist of three parts: a question for atheists, some advice for theists and then some similar advice for atheists. I have elected to number these portions for your convenience.
1- My question for atheists:
Many atheists point to natural laws, evolution, the age of the earth, and the big bang and so forth as proof of the non-existence of god. My question is: Why do science and religion have to be mutually exclusive? I know many Christians and the like deny evolution (which in my mind is silly because natural selection waves it’s metaphorical hands in our face every time we go outside). Many insist the earth is only
4,000 years old, which goes against what science has ascertained.
Maybe they are wrong on these points, but why does that disprove god? I don’t get why many people want to throw the baby out with the bath water on this one. To me it makes sense that if there is a god then he is obviously all knowing and all-powerful. So why couldn’t such a being construct a world that uses the natural laws of the universe to do his bidding? It would make more sense to me that god’s power stems from his perfect understanding of science and how to manipulate things than to believe he just wiggles his magic fingers and a world pops out.
It makes sense on one level because a god would have to know the truth and act on the truth in order to make sense, and natural laws are truths themselves. To me the whole idea meshes quite nicely. Secondly, if, as many religions speculate, this earth is some kind of test, or in my opinion a chance to learn and grow outside the rather large shadow of our heavenly father, wouldn’t it make sense for god to hide himself? How would it be for him to say you must have faith, but then put proof of him in nature? I feel like this would be a move on a level of stupid no god could stoop to.
I don’t care if you choose not to believe in god or how you live your life, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, I just want to know why you think science disproves the existence of god.
2- My advice to theists:
Stop being jerks about the whole religion thing. I know you believe in god, and I know you think it will benefit everyone else to believe in the same god as you. But lashing out against atheists, gays, and anyone else you think has gone astray doesn’t do anyone any good. They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. (If someone can direct me to scientific confirmation of this I will award him or her Internet props and an IRL knuckle bump should we ever meet.) If you want to convince people your religion is right, then you should show them by example how happy it makes you and more importantly how your belief fills you with love for your fellow man.
Most religions have the same basic precepts, and the biggest one is to love other human beings. So if god wants you to love people, and you want people to accept that message, why do you use hate as your weapon of choice? Instead kill them with kindness and preach by example.
For the Christians involved in politics I have some other advice. Stop using politics to try and force your morality on everyone else in the country. I agree with most of your morals, but I would like to remind you that Satan’s plan was to force everyone to be righteous and Christ’s plan was to allow everyone to have the agency to choose good or evil. Do you serve god or Satan when you try to take away someone’s agency? In the Bible Christ didn’t ever try to use the government to compel people to righteousness. He didn’t force or threaten people. He simply said, this is my message; it will make you happy, you should come follow me.
Even when a sinner/law-breaker was brought before Christ he protected her agency and illustrated the importance of not using the law to enforce morality. The crowd wanted to stone the adulteress, but Christ said let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone. And when the only sinless person in the world and the adulteress where the only two remaining he simply said “go thy way and sin no more.” Not a command or a law or a punishment, just his advice on how she could find happiness in life.
My advice for atheists:
This is basically the same thing as for the theists. Have your beliefs, defend your beliefs but don’t be a jerk to those who don’t share them. I think y’all are less guilty for lashing out with anger and sometimes being condescending toward religious people because frankly they started it. Religious people come at you with fire and brimstone, and it’s natural to want to respond in kind.
But you have the opportunity to be the better person here. You have the chance to prove that despite not having a god to set out a moral code for you, you can still be a better, kinder human being than some of the theists out there. Take the high ground and fight anger with peace and insults with level-headedness.
The wrap up:
To both groups: your anger and condescension and spite and contention are getting us nowhere. Neither of you are going to convince anyone to change their mind with these tactics. Theists, these actions are contrary to what god teaches us about love. Atheists, I know you feel oppressed and attacked sometimes, but prove your virtue by being kind and understanding. I recognize that not all theists and not all atheists do the things I speak of above, and I publicly confess I have been this kind of person before. I was a fiercely argumentative atheist who was always ready to do verbal battle with theists, but now I regret my immaturity from those days, and I hope the people who read this won’t make the same mistakes I did. (hint: being angry and argumentative can destroy friendships)