Tuesday 31 January 2017


I am an atheist. I’ve never said that into the blogosphere before. To me, one’s religion or lack thereof has always been a personal and private thing (until now apparently). Of course if asked, I’m happy to share my feelings on the subject, but I often find that atheism is greatly unsettling for some people (most want to save or convert me, many have tried, to no avail). And that is fine. I’m very confident in my beliefs and I am not one to inflict them upon another (so don’t mistake this blog as me wanting you to be atheist, please). Moreover, I would like to think that I am accepting of those that believe in something - an organized religion if you will. In my life, I am surrounded by a plethora of people who have all different faiths, ranging from Gaia, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, and Christianity, in all its forms…(come to think of it, I don’t know many Mormons, may have to work on that).

But for me, religion has always been a complicated thing. I grew up Catholic, or shall we say, I was informed that I was, but realised after so many years that it was not for me. And to my parent’s credit, they seemed okay with me figuring out what I believed. For me, religion – and I am talking about ALL religion, not just yours - brought up more questions than answers. I didn’t understand why there were so many (and each that claimed they were ‘the right one’), I also didn’t understand something that, in my opinion, had so many contradictory rules: “You ARE allowed in our group because you behave/think/look a certain way, but you over there, are NOT allowed for various reasons.” Then there were the things that simply didn't make sense to my brain: “I’m pro life, pro capital punishment,  anti-homosexual, but pro gun,” (and instrument of death as far as I’m concerned)… Huh?! See the contradictions there? Again, no judgement, but you may want to take a very close look at the inconsistencies.

I also didn’t understand and much care for the divisiveness and aggression that organized religion has possessed within our history. If one thumbs through an actual history book, one can see the atrocities, wars, and crimes, that were done in the name of religion, and well, continue to this day. Again, this falls on the shoulders of all religions, so if you think yours is exempt, from where I sit, it’s not. 

What I do understand is the need for community, the importance of faith, and the cohesion and support it brings into many people’s lives. And for that, I say, great. If it brings something to your life and gets you from a to b, then I will never be the one to stop you. On the contrary, I am so happy that you have found something that brings you peace and happiness. This life is too short and too tough, not to find moments of refuge.  But - and this is a big but -  if within this refuge it means you’re ostracizing, judging or discriminating against others, well, then I’m going to raise my hand in the proverbial classroom and call you out on it.

Additionally, a curious thing happened along the way, in my country anyway, in that being Christian became an adjective. I’m not sure when it happened, but one day, it just crept into the vernacular and you started to hear it all the time. “Well that was such a nice christian thing to do!” Christianity became inextricably linked with generosity and magnanimous, selfless behavior. But here is what I found interesting. I never once heard people saying, “what a wonderful Jewish/Islamic/Mormon thing to do.” It was as if Christianity had the moratorium on kindness. In fact, and I’ll take it one step further, other religions began to get pushed to the back seat (and from where I sit as an atheist it all looks the same, sorry, but us it just does) for whatever reason. Certain religions became good, and others became well, bad. Some were even told they were too nutty to even be a religion (sorry, Scientology, but you got the brunt of this one) or too ripe with suppression (AGAIN, show me a religion and I will show you suppression or a history that advocates suppression). In many religions, women or homosexuals, for example, are not always walking out of it with the best deal. Love those Mormons, but bigamy just sounds like something cooked up by a man (if you’re judging a Mormon right now, trust me, there are aspects of your religion they are equally in judgement of… see what a convoluted web this all is?!)

I’m thinking the problem may lie in the fact that if you take a country like the United States that is founded by immigrants, call it a ‘Christian country’ (not sure how we got away with that considering how many natives we killed, or well, that slavery thing (!!) but again.. religion for some can be based on convenience) but pride yourself on welcoming all (Back then of course. My have times changed), well, you see the eventual problem that comes to pass. Hence, why a separation of church and state is a very necessary but heartbreakingly rare thing these days. If you govern in the name of God (your god), then you are pretty much telling your citizens who don’t subscribe to that god (or a god at all) that they can sit down and shut up.

Now, please don’t mistake my point, I am not out to bash religion, I am just pointing out another perspective that is not often spoken and I am asking you to examine your part in things and well, your faith and what that entails (if it's faith, it can take it). Because there are many things in today’s times we are simply choosing NOT to see. If you subscribe to a religion and it calls upon you to love your neighbor as yourself, then DO SO in totality (not by convenience).  From where I sit, if you’re pro life, you better be pro human, and that means humans in all their forms, colors and creeds. Be it a refugee, an illegal alien, or the guy at the office you find very challenging. If you’re pissed off your Starbucks cup doesn’t have CHRISTmas written on the cup, but you are hating on your neighbor cause he prays to a different god, trust me, you’re not Christian. In short, if you’re talking the talk as a person who has a god in their life (whatever god that may be), then you better walk that path. 

Moreover, if you want your religion respected, then please respect others – otherwise you’re just a hypocrite who thinks their religion is right. And you can’t all be right, you just can’t. There is hatred and extremism out there in all forms, in all religions, even amongst us atheists (hmmm, what is an extreme atheist?? An anarchist?), but these days, it is getting far too easy to persecute an entire religion because the big mighty fear machine has fed us to do so. 

I think we have also greatly lost sight of what it means to be human. To have humanity. It’s something most people truly don’t understand anymore. In short, to have humanity means you’re not a racist, myopic, bigoted, ignorant fear mongerer. It means that caring, listening, compassion and empathy - as scary as that is sometimes - is what we should all be focusing on. 

So please, I beg of you, let’s all strive to be humans first. And whatever you are after that, that’s up to you.

Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed