Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dynamic Tension

There is a billboard campaign going on in Sacramento which is giving my dad fits.  He fails to see why it is necessary to announce one's atheism.  He's what I call a 'cultural christian.'  Raised Catholic, sent to a Quaker boarding school, pretty much a non-church goer his whole life.  My folks raised us without any religious instruction, but encouraged us to go to various houses of worship with our friends and let us decide for ourselves what we believed.

Now, he's having fits because he fails to see why people need to 'announce' their atheism.  He thinks it is an insult to believers.  What he fails to realize is, in this Christian nation, it's insult to all atheists to have religious beliefs put in their faces all day, every day.  It is assumed, by believers, that to be a non-believer means one is damned to hell, and that atheist cannot possibly be good, moral people.  Christian's can say that everyone in this country is free to believe or not, but do they really believe that?  Don't they really think that rest of us are going to hell because we haven't been saved by Jesus Christ?  And, on the other side of the coin, don't we atheists/agnostics/whatever believe that Christians/Muslims/Jews are just kidding themselves?  Must be nice to have a "God" to cling to, but really, 'they' have got to be just a little silly believing fervently in a fantasy.

Jesus is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the religious scene.  Christians are a teeny tiny minority in the world.  So why is there such a presumption of rightness about it all? There is a lot of tension between believers and non-believers, but in this country we are supposed to be free to worship or not.   Freethinkers, that what we are bequeathed with. We look at religious "nuts" the world over and shake our heads at their craziness.  But we cannot see our own.

Officially, we agree to disagree.  Unofficially, non-Christians are seen as 'less than.'  That's why this billboard campaign is so necessary.  Hopefully it will prompt thoughtful discussion.  When an avowed atheist is elected as President, then we will have made some progress.  Do you think a atheist could possibly be the leader of our country in this day and age?  Pray on it.

4 comments:

  1. I thought of your father when I read some of what Pope Francis has been saying. How's he doing with all of that? I don't think we'll see an atheist president any time soon. Our country is too afraid of the unknown.

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    1. He's mum on the Pope, but has been going to Quaker meetings on Sundays in the same place where I do my Buddhist practice in the afternoon. Funny thing, that.

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  2. Quaker meetings; that's interesting. So's this newfangled pope -- I even read he might be sneaking out at night to give alms to the poor, in addition to shaking it up about not condemning others and birth control maybe not being the biggest thing to sweat about.

    For a non-believer, I have a pretty good number of believing friends -- good people, who do good. They don't press me, and I don't push them. We still have plenty of beliefs in common, which is why we're friends.

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    1. I do get and agree with what you're saying about the forced march of announcing the correct religion. Separation of church and state, people! I believe in that.

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