Believers, Chill, We Are Not Trying to Convert You

I think because so much of the Abrahamic tradition revolves around converting non-believers, those people who believe in God think that atheists are trying to convert them. This belief is strengthened by the propaganda of the Religious Right and fear/hate-mongers like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Fox News & Friends. These media whores stir up fear in their listeners in order to further their agenda.

The truth is Atheists don’t care if you believe in God. We don’t care if your children pray in school. We don’t care if you wear crosses, erect religious icons on your lawn or cut the stigmata into your palms on a weekly basis. We are not trying to stop you from doing these things. The only thing we ask is that you do not force us to participate or PAY for these things with our tax money.

Is that really too much to ask? If your local school or government were to hold a Satanic Celebration using your tax dollars, I’m pretty sure 98% of the citizens would be screaming bloody murder, because they are not practicing Satanists. Yet, they see nothing wrong with holding a Christian Bible reading as part of a town’s holiday celebration, even though MY tax dollars help pay for that and I am NOT Christian. In fact, 22% of Americans aren’t Christian.

This is why we have the first amendment. The purpose of the establishment clause of the first amendment is to be fair to EVERYONE. Because we don’t all believe the same thing, the government is staying out of the fray. Makes sense. So why do some Christians think that any attempts by the government to step back and stay out of religion is an attack on their beliefs? Why do some Christians think that Atheists want them to abandon their beliefs?

It all comes down to the power of fear. People like Beck and O’Reilly make a living by causing fear. Fundamental religious leaders gain power over their followers through fear. Convince your followers that Atheists are evil and attacking them and they will pull out their wallets and hand over their money for your protection. The truth, that Atheists really don’t care anything about who you pray to or how, is not all that scary and makes a boring story.

So don’t tell me you’ll pray for me, don’t patronize me by saying that God will find a way into my heart, don’t use my tax dollars to pay for your religious events or make laws based on your religious beliefs and don’t call me unpatriotic while you trample on the Constitution and we will get along just fine. Oh, and don’t worry, I have no intention of converting you to Atheism. I don’t want to share the cookies at the monthly meetings.

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4 thoughts on “Believers, Chill, We Are Not Trying to Convert You

  1. Joanaroo says:

    This year seems to be the year of Idiotic Bills and Laws since the GOPers and Tea Partiers got voted in back in November! Now the Conservative Christian RWNJs are coming out of the woodwork with restrictive laws and robbing America blind. Government subsidizing Christian schools, RWNJs changing public school textbooks and curriculum, restrictive reproduction laws, uterus police laws (is your miscarrage “murder”). America is getting downright dumber!

  2. Travis King says:

    Disclaimer: I am neither Christian nor Atheist.

    That said, I’d like to say how much I appreciate this view. Unfortunately, many Atheists just don’t come across as being this tolerant. I associate with a lot of Atheists online, and most of what they say is a direct attack on the intelligence of anybody who believes in anything “superstitious” or “supernatural.”

    While I agree that it’s asinine to insist the universe is 6,000 years old (and various other things that contradict all scientific evidence), and I agree that religion has been the conduit for many of the world’s atrocities throughout history, I believe religious beliefs and practices are a part of who we are as people, whether one believes in an Almighty God, ancestral spirits, or robot aliens from Planet X.

    As long as one person’s beliefs don’t infringe on the beliefs and rights of others (though I grant you, they often do), religion itself should be tolerated, perhaps even embraced as part of the rich variety of humanity.

    Many of the world’s great thinkers, whom we still praise, have believed in some power beyond that of humanity: Socrates, Jefferson, and Einstein to name a few. Even Hawking and Sagan have acknowledged the possibility of some higher power.

    In the interests of fostering true concord, conservative Christians must, of course, acknowledge your argument, but many Atheists would do well to realize that attacking religion in the way they do often comes across not only as an attempt to convert but also as a direct insult to anyone who is not Atheist. Perhaps this is merely a more militant or fundamentalist sect of Atheism, I don’t know. It’s possible; every group has its fringe element.

    Whatever the case may be, I thank you for your level-headed and rational words. It’s a good starting point for dialogue, and I hope it reaches a large and diverse audience.

    Pax,
    Travis

    • assassingrl says:

      I have seen quite a few strident atheists as well. In some ways I think that their position is just a reaction to years of being vilified by religious fundamentalists. And even though they “attack” Christianity as superstition or childish fantasy, I don’t think they care that much what Christians actually believe. A lot of it comes from extreme frustration at being told we can’t be good people without god, we will eventually see the “truth” or our lives are surely empty and without joy. After hearing the same propaganda repeatedly, it’s a tough balance to stand up for our right to reject religion without our arguments sounding like an attack on the intelligence of believers.

      • Travis says:

        I’m very good at getting reactionary (and always end up kicking myself for it later) so I understand—especially when it comes to conservative Christianity. Just trying to keep things in perspective. 🙂

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