Sooner or Later, You Sleep In Your Own Space

There are a few things I would blog about, but I find that I censor myself to keep the peace with certain friends and family.  It makes me question who I am sometimes.  On one hand, I want to strive for harmony in my life, cheesy as that may sound.  But on the other, I want to be able to express my opinions without worrying about who I offend.  And we’re not talking about radical opinions here, either.

I guess, in a roundabout way, what I’m trying to say is that it’s perfectly okay for people to identify as Christian, Jewish, Muslim (though, I guess that depends how many ignorant folks are around).  Yet I have to be afraid to say, “I am an atheist.”  On Facebook, I say this regularly– to other atheist friends, or to people I don’t know at all.  I said it at work one day, just in a casual conversation when someone asked me what I believed, and the room went silent.  Why?  Why is it that I’m asked to be tolerant of others’ beliefs (and I am, as long as they don’t harm others), yet I get stares for my lack thereof, or “tsk tsk” noises, or told outright that it’s only because I “have the Devil in me.”

I am an atheist.  This is my choice.  It is my life, not yours, and my afterlife or lack of one.  I am not a “wicked, sinful” person, nor am I in league with your Devil.  I am not more likely to kill someone because I’m “godless”, nor am I more likely to steal, harm, commit adultery, nor anything else on your list of commandments.  I am an ordinary, everyday person, going about my life, trying to live it as well as I can.  I give to charities, and when I have time, I volunteer to help others.  I know how to be kind, generous, loving, and I know the difference between right and wrong.  Just because I don’t get my moral code from a book doesn’t mean I don’t have one.

Do I have a problem with religion?  You bet I do.  This is it, right here.  It’s a divider, like politics.  It makes it easier to depersonalize others, to write off their opinions because, “Who cares what they think?  They’re an atheist/Muslim/Catholic.”  It makes us put people into little categories instead of the one big category of “human being.”    This is not okay

Just stop it.

Love your neighbor, regardless of whether they worship Jesus, Allah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Love them because they’re your neighbor, and recognize them as a fellow human above all else.  Judge them on their actions, not on their beliefs.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been wanting to say for awhile now.  I’m tired of censoring it, and I’m tired of not being true to myself.  Just, seriously: let people be who they are.  The world would be dull if we were all the same.

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