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Ask An Atheist: Taking belief away from others

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Ask An Atheist: Taking belief away from others


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By Jim Downard

Atheism seems to be more about taking belief away from others more than trying to understanding that belief in God comforts some people and it does not affect your life. Instead of being a belligerent and insulting voice, why can’t atheist just live their lives?

I have never claimed that religions cannot comfort people. It would be a peculiar assertion for anyone to make, atheist or otherwise. Though it would seem that as not all religions can be simultaneously true, it would appear that the faith not being true is no impediment to such comforting.

If all religions operated as purely a matter of personal conviction, that would be one thing, but many religions are very much into attempting to manage other people’s lives, from social intimidation of non-believers (not just atheists, by this I mean non-believer in a particular religion, just ask minorities like Jehovah’s Witness or Adventists) through to statutory reinforcement of its privileges and views (how many opposing marriage equality did so based on their firm religious convictions).  And abortion remains an area where some religions do specifically seek to restrict the behavior of others, believers or not.

Religions get tax exemptions in our society also, for further example, but atheists do not, and not all religions get equal privilege even then (look at Native Americans prevented from the use of peyote in their sacred ceremonies).  As for “belligerent and insulting” rhetoric, readers of my posts here may judge for themselves whether that blob of mud deservedly falls on this doorstep or not.

Jim Downard

About Jim Downard

Jim Downard is a Spokane native (with a sojourn in Southern California back in the early 1960s) who was raised in a secular family, so says had no personal faith to lose.

He's always been a history and science buff (getting a bachelor's in the former area at what was then Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s).

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