Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why I Accept your Beliefs as Valid For You


I know the people out there who are the "Angry Atheists".  I do not count myself among them and, further, I resent their verbosity in many forums.  Their fury and  antagonism, while I see their angle, and do not disagree, I find it objectionable that many messages from these fuming folks have no way to discuss their points of view without disparaging and disdaining that which rings true for others.
I'm not talking about the confident and vociferous atheist; these I admire!

I sometimes wish I had that fervor.  Especially when I witness ludicrous and insistent statements, pronouncements, or events that are so blatantly of malicious intent.

I am a very proud atheist.

I would describe myself as very loving, open, intelligent, and kind.  I have absolutely no desire to debate you.
If your beliefs are dearly-held, fine for you.  Mine are clearly- and dearly-held as well.  There is no part in me that wishes to kill  your value system simply because it is different from mine.

I DO believe that religion, the power and control thereof, is uniquely poised to create many schisms between groups and I can see that history has proven this divisiveness to be lethal in the extreme.
In most people's heart, however, it is well-meaning.
Saying this is very difficult.  I am weighing each word I use because my family and I have also experienced many instances of hatred, judging, and painful negativity from the very realm that I am sitting here defending.
In my deepest heart, I wish religion truly would do that which it claims to do.  Create peace and kindness and loving people.
In the meantime, I appreciate that there are people who truly believe that it does and who embrace their faith with good hearts.

"The chief deficiency I see in the skeptical movement is its polarization: 
Us vs. Them — the sense that we have a monopoly on the truth; 
that those other people who believe in all these stupid doctrines are morons; that if you're sensible, you'll listen to us; 
and if not, to hell with you. 
This is nonconstructive. It does not get our message across. 
It condemns us to permanent minority status."

- Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World:  Science as a Candle in the Dark"

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