17 December, 2010

An opinion on the relationships between atheists and theists from the National Post

Charlie Lewis of the Holy Post has offered another opinion piece on the relationship between atheists and believers. You can read it here. Among the numerous comments that have been generated, Charlie responds to one poster in a manner that succinctly brings a light to the reason why we believers demand that our voices be heard in the public square. I share it in the hopes that it might generate a discussion here on his assessment.


A thoughtful reader wrote that atheists would stop getting angry at religious people when we "stopping trying to cram things down his throat." I took the time to respond to him even though I'm pretty certain nothing would ever change his mind.
Here's what I wrote:

"Please take the time to read what I'm writing to you. And then tell me what you think.

Your idea is that religious people are trying to jam views down your throat. Who are these people? I know they're not most mainstream Protestants and not Catholics. We don't go door to door. As for such issues as abortion and gay marriage, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I'm a Catholic, for example, and I pay taxes, vote, volunteer in my community. I'm just as valuable a citizen as you are. So if you're saying any religious person is not entitled to an opinion then you are not a believer in democracy.

If you're saying religious people have determined the Canadian political landscape then I suggest you look around. Even with a Conservative government legalized gay marriage and abortion at any stage of pregnancy is legal. And given those were two key issues that concerned religious conservatives I can only conclude the religious lost that fight. So much for influence.

The other issue is you're assuming all religions are the same. Members of the United Church are very liberal: they support abortion rights, gay marriage, etc.

As well, the concern of many religious people is in the realm of social justices, relieving third world debt, reducing poverty. Young evangelicals today, for example, are more interested in these issues than gay marriage or other social conservative causes.

You stereotype all people under one brush called religious.

Give me one concrete example of someone trying to shove anything down your throat.

I realize this note is a waste of time because you already made up your mind. And by the way, I know a lot of Catholics and I never hear them talk about atheists.

You could try practicing that same idea of "live and let live."

4 comments:

  1. To answer some of Charlie's points: "I'm just as valuable a citizen as you are."

    Of course you are. But you're not more valuable. Not for any reason. But especially not for reasons of religious affiliation. Or lack of it.

    "The other issue is you're assuming all religions are the same."

    And it appears as though you assume all atheists are the same. It also appears that you view all non-Christians as atheists.

    "...the concern of many religious people is in the realm of social justices, relieving third world debt, reducing poverty."

    You're saying that as if you think non-religious folk do not care about social justice, poverty, and debt. When did such become strictly the purview of religion?

    "Give me one concrete example of someone trying to shove anything down your throat."

    Political activity, trying to enact laws for the entire country based on one's own religious ideals, when they are not voluntarily shared by everyone else. You, personally, may not do it, but there are your co-religionists who do, and they claim to be speaking for you, too! And they are loud and insistent about that. So if you, personally, do not like being lumped in with all those irritating buttinskies on street corners who iinsist that they do, indeed, speak for you, then hadn't you better take it up with them?

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  2. Lady Janus
    it is wonderful to live in a free country where "political activity" is open to everyone...so if a group is lobbying for something you don't agree with you are just as free to lobby against it so sharing in them is not a requirement...depending on the issue i believe it is passion and conviction and where we lobby or protest or not is always an individual decision.
    I hope u have a wonderful Christmas and that 2011 will be a year filled with many blessings and with wishes that come true:))

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  3. Mary, you are misunderstanding me. I am not against political activity for anyone. I am against someone else's religious agenda's being applied to me without my consent, courtesy of that politicial activity!

    I am having an exhausting Yule (great fun, these Yule festivals, but oh! so ennervating!), and plan on hiding from the world for a week after sundown tomorrow. Today. The twenty-first.

    You have a wonderful Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lady Janus,

    "Political activity, trying to enact laws for the entire country based on one's own religious ideals, when they are not voluntarily shared by everyone else. You, personally, may not do it, but there are your co-religionists who do, and they claim to be speaking for you, too!"

    Everyone, regardless of what religion they are, or no religion, or agnostic, or athiest, is entitled to lobby the government through legal ways to try get them enact laws which they wish to have. I suppose if you don't agree with a particular law, you could say it is being forced down your throat, but that is the essence of democracy isn't it? What was that famous saying, a government or leader can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time or something like that? Seasons greetings.

    ReplyDelete

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