In my last blog, ‘My Story’ I had mentioned the misconceptions of Atheists and said that this was a topic for another day. Well, today I will talk about this topic, and why it’s important to me to rid society of these stigmas, and why in fact(in my opinion) these misconceptions exist at all.
How do any group of people get misunderstood or labeled as ‘bad’? It can stem from a number of things and really isn’t that different from pathetic junior high rumors. I have heard a lot of different things about Atheists, considering I am one it’s kind of hard to believe, since I don’t do or believe in what most rumors spread say about us.
Most of the rumors or misconceptions come from a small group or sometimes just a single person from a group acting out in a way not accepted as ‘politically correct’. Such as Fred Phelps and his group of nut jobs, I think most of us know that not all Christians act in such a hateful and disrespectful way that the WBC does. My Mother goes to church and prays but I don’t think I would ever see her picketing a U.S. Soldiers funeral, and that goes for all the religious people I know. Things like this can have a bad effect on Atheists and theists, some people, already in the process of questioning religion may see the WBC and it’s pathetic antics and associate this with other Christians and assume they are all alike and go on to hate or even do something terrible to theists. Same thing goes for theists who claim people like Hitler and Stalin were Atheists. While it has been debated, Hitler was not an Atheist, he was Roman Catholic and referred to God many times in his speeches and writings, the Catholic Church funded the Nazis for years. Stalin may have been an atheist but the genocide and strangeness of his character were not in the name of atheism. Unlike that of mass suicides by cult leaders and mass killings of people in the past, all of which are ‘in gods favor’. Spreading blatant lies like these, are a total waste of time and energy, but there is always going to be fanatics in everything, but that doesn’t mean that we have to make them the poster child of their ’cause’.
Sometimes the misconceptions consist of just ‘passing the belief down’. You know, you ask your parents questions or you hear the preacher talk about non-believers and how vile they are. Children are very impressionable and they will remember what is said, especially when it pertains to burning in hell for eternity. Theists know children are very impressionable and that is why indoctrination occurs at such an early age, and then they sugar coat it with ‘I’m just concerned with their souls’, which translates into ‘Don’t ask any questions, or you will go to hell’. This is not a very good recipe for raising healthy and responsible children.
Last, but not least is one of the funniest misconceptions of people like myself. The belief that atheists worship the devil and/or some other evil entity. I would love to know the source of where this came from. Do people actually believe this ridiculous garbage? When they think of atheist groups do they imagine us dressed in cloaks with sacrificial daggers, with alters, and pentagrams? I hope before they believe such drivel they would use a dictionary and look up the words ‘Atheist’ and ‘Satanist’. How could I worship something who doesn’t exist? If I don’t believe in the supernatural, like god or angels than why would I believe in devils and demons? Atheists, like myself like to surround themselves with positive things in life, and devil and demons aren’t exactly positive things, this goes for the bible and god as well.
It’s very important for us as a society to get over such stigmas. To dismiss any rumors until proven otherwise. People need to learn to research and study for themselves instead of just believing because someone they look up to or is older tell them these things. Everything I hear or see, I automatically research, if it’s considerably important to me, I will read and research for hours on a particular subject, so why doesn’t the same apply for others? Atheists only have one thing in common and that is the non belief in a god or gods. There are many different types of atheism, like Richard Dawkins breaks down as ‘Weak Atheists’ and ‘Strong Atheists’ But we all use the same system to guide us through our lives. We use science instead of religion to guide us, reason and rationality instead of prayer. So, no we don’t sacrifice innocent animals, we don’t eat children or paint pentagrams on our chests in blood, if you are wondering how I would know about such actions without doing them, relax I’m a huge movie buff and read a lot, so this is where these statements are coming from.
In order for us to truly live in a free society, we have to be able to get over such childish notions. From people like Bill O’Reilly down to something as simple as a mom telling their children that atheists will go to hell. If people would only see what they are saying, they would realize the nastiness behind these messages. It’s no different than believing that women are inferior to men or the white race is the superior race. Notions like these not only make a bad image for the people that fall under these categories but it also can create a harmful environment just waiting to discriminate against them. Like in some states, an atheist is still not allowed to hold public office, even though it says in the United States Constitution that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’ So how in is this legal at all? Some groups and organizations are simply denied or shut down because they are associated with atheism, again how can people get away with such things in a country such as ours? I say all the time if our Founding Fathers could see the state that this country is in, they would be turning over in their graves, and they would especially flip when they see the Christian right, claiming this country is based on ‘Christian’ Values, but just like in my last blog, this is a topic for another day.
The facts summed up are these: We don’t believe in the supernatural including god, Satan, demons, angels, etc. We do not want world domination, we don’t eat babies, we don’t want to stop people from believing what they want to believe, we just want a fair hand at things. We want to be able to come out and say that ‘I am an Atheist’. Without the fear of persecution or social suicide. Isn’t this the very principles that this country was founded on in the first place? The only thing I would like to instill in people is to question. Not just to believe in something whole heartedly without questioning and investigating it themselves. To question something or to simply say ‘I don’t know’ is a humble approach, and is respectable. But, somehow, someway this country went down the other path. Not to question, just ‘do’. This is a much different country now than it was when Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams were alive. For good and bad reasons. But to go against something that Article VI, paragraph III of the the Constitution clearly states, is just down right, shameful.
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