Atheists Are Part of Our Society, Accept Them As They Are

Atheists Are Part of Our Society, Accept Them As They Are

Freedom of religion also means freedom to be without it, but this country has had many issues with atheism over the years.

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First things first; I am a Catholic. I retain that belief regardless, and I love that the constitution has protected the ability to practice my religion. However, I am an ardent secularist as well; the freedom to practice and adhere to (or not adhere to) a religion or religious ideology extends to everyone, and this is without exception. This, obviously, must extend to atheists or other irreligious and non-believing individuals. However, in this country, we have not afforded them the same protection that we afford to other religious groups. What gives? Why exactly is this the case?

Let's discuss one way that atheists have been discriminated against; politically. SEVEN (as in, not the zero we should expect) states have laws that stipulate that one must profess belief in God in order to hold office. Even if this is unenforceable (thanks Supreme Court), the fact these are still on the books despite this is... horrifying. Why must an individual profess belief in God, especially in a country that has founding figures that rejected established dogmas? Furthermore, running as an atheist is nearly taboo; there have been so many political adverts that emphasize a person's religion and the ideology, as well as demeaning people who are considered as having beliefs in "atheistic ideals" like, GASP, belief in evolution. Or the Big Bang Theory (, many southern candidates where religiosity is just that important). It is a pathetic tale where atheists are unable to represent people as a result of their atheism, which many people say is DISQUALIFYING for a candidate. We have had ONE atheist in the United States Congress ever. Shocking.

Let's talk U.S. culture and society, as well. Atheism has not been accepted well across the board in this country. Atheists have been seen as behind various atrocities in this country, and have had certain events attributed to their lack of belief (aka, school shootings, 9/11, and just about any other major terrorist attack/shooting). Atheists have varying degrees of acceptance from religious groups, with only 29% of evangelical Christians having a favorable view of atheists (and 45% for Catholics as well). There's also the Boy Scouts of America, which asserted that belief in God was necessary to be a member, as well as to be a good citizen.

Fox News even ran an abhorrent opinion piece which decried atheism as responsible for ALL deaths under communist regimes, as well as promoting an inane ideology where belief in the theory of evolution makes someone a more evil person. Preachers, like John Hagee, believe atheists should leave the country. People on the AFA Radio station, like Bryan Fischer, believe atheists to be incapable of serving the country faithfully. Plus, atheists are seen as inherently immoral by just about every major religious group.

Look, here's my thing. I am Catholic. I practice my faith. I can reiterate that as I please. However, as I said, I believe in freedom of religion. People should be free to believe as they believe. We may disagree with people, but referring to them as EVIL? People like Isaac Asimov were evil? People like Tesla? Some of the greatest scientists of our time and beyond were atheists (Hello, Stephen Hawking). Some of the world's greatest contributors to the arts, philosophy, and literature, such as Picasso, Kurt Vonnegut, and so on. All of these people.. are evil? What about George Orwell? Are they worthy of discrimination? Persecution? To be called evil? No. They are not evil just because of this, and their lack of belief in a deity should not be grounds for discrimination.

In short, atheists have been screwed time and time again in this country. Politically and culturally, atheism is seen as a belief (or ideology, almost) filled with rot, not worthy of trust. When just 57% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans have favorable views of atheists, and about less than half of Americans are willing to vote for an atheist candidate, that is a problem. Hell, we still have issues with families allowing one to DATE or be FRIENDS an atheist. It is reprehensible. We MUST do better as a society. If we are to disagree, we can at least be tolerant.

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I'm Tired Of Trendy Christianity

Life with Jesus is so much more than one big coffee break.
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Okay, you're a Christian. After all, you have all of the tools you need.

You have your densely highlighted and underlined Bible, your Eno, your Chacos, your Patagonia backpack and of course, your beloved Camelbak or Nalgene water bottle that is covered in name-brand stickers.

Your days consist of going outside, chilling in your Eno and blasting "Oceans" by Hillsong and "Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. Your room is decorated with lots of inspirational quotes, maps with variations of "send me" close by and probably some pictures of your last mission trip. Your Instagram page is full of pictures of your friends that are "gems," captions of how thankful you are for certain things and pictures of the last country you visited that say "take me back."

Oh, and you might have a tattoo in Greek.

Okay, if you know me, you know that I literally just described myself. So, when I say what I'm about to, I'm not bashing anyone at all. I am guilty of all of these things and God has really laid these things on my heart that I've found myself doing time after time.

It seems that in the time we live in, if you're going to be a Christian, you have to have all of the right things, and I'm tired of it. Christianity is not about having a certain look or personality, but about having a deep, meaningful relationship with Christ. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what being in a relationship with Christ actually looks like. I'm here to tell you that it's not anything like what I described.

Being in a relationship with Christ is not easy, and it's certainly not the most trendy thing out there (maybe on your college campus, but not in the real world.) It's about surrendering everything you have to a God who sent his son to be crucified for things you've done wrong.

It's more than just drinking designer coffee and Bible journaling and "being intentional."

It's about finding peace and joy in spending time with our creator. I know a lot of people just like me who fit the stereotype perfectly who have some of the deepest, most meaningful relationships with Christ, but I also know a lot of people who fit the stereotype who are just faking it.

I'm so tired of people who do not know Christ thinking that they have to have a certain look or personality about them and it hinders them from running into the loving arms of Jesus. We've made Christianity a club, and that's not okay. We have taken God's beauty and grace and made a fad out of it.

So, friends, I'm not saying that we can't have these things and still be Christians (because honestly, I like the way I live life with these things I've been given, and this is just who I am,) but I am saying that having these things are not what makes us Christians. So, be careful how you live out your walk.

Are you just doing it to be trendy, or do you have a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ?

Walking with Jesus is more than just a big coffee break.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr/Psalm Thirty Seven Four

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I'm An Atheist, But I Wear A Cross Every Day

I don’t celebrate Jesus the prophet or Jesus the Son of God. I celebrate Jesus the man.
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I was born into a Roman Catholic family. As is the norm, I was baptized as an infant and, as he did for all of my siblings and cousins, I was given the gift of a golden cross necklace from my grandfather in celebration of it. Fast forward twenty years and I proudly wear that cross around my neck today. Only thing is, I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in Catholicism at all, actually.

See, I went through baptism, communion and, with a good bit of coaxing from my mother, even confirmation. Hallelujah. From the time I first started thinking for myself though, I never really believed in any of it. I mean, the morals obviously are still something I agree with. I still think “thou shalt not kill” regardless of if it's written on one of the stone tablets Moses didn’t smash or not. The idea that these commandments were given by God, and all the other spiritual teachings were, are where my beliefs part with widely held Christian teachings.

My beliefs only got stronger as I grew up, getting to see and experience more of the world. I’m not going to get into my reasons behind why I believe what I do or even my qualms with Catholicism in particular as a whole, but I am going to answer one question that I’ve gotten a lot. If I’m an Atheist, then why do I still wear a cross?

The reasoning lies in the story of Jesus Christ. Now, nobody disputes that Jesus Christ did at one point live. We have proof of as much. Whether or not he was a prophet, or a demigod, or anything with divine powers is debatable, but we know that he was, in fact, a human being that existed at one point. Most know the story of Christ and why the cross is a powerful image in the Christian religion.

To very very briefly summarize a long story, Christ was condemned by the Romans, tortured, humiliated, and ultimately crucified, which is where the cross comes in. Now, I don’t wear the cross in gratitude for Jesus dying for the sins of all mankind, or in respect for the religious beliefs that he both shared with and inspired in others.

I wear the cross as a symbol of the unwavering conviction of Jesus Christ in the face of death.

I wear the cross as a testament to the strength of the human condition.

Divine or not, Jesus was a great man. He was horribly tortured, being whipped and forced to carry the tremendous weight of the very object he was to be executed on to his place of death. He was mocked and humiliated, made to wear a crown of thorns and purple robes to make fun of his reputation as “King of the Jews.”

He ultimately was crucified, which was a common practice of the Roman’s and a brutal one at that. Christ’s own crucifixion was even more severe than most, as some were tied to the cross, and others had only their hands nailed to the wood. Christ had each hand nailed to the cross as well as a single nail that went through each of his feet. He did all that in defense of his own beliefs as well as the beliefs of others.

I don’t celebrate Jesus the prophet or Jesus the son of God.

I celebrate Jesus the man. I keep the cross around my neck as a constant reminder to never compromise what I believe in when facing adversity, and as a symbol attesting to the overall strength of mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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