I want to begin this post by stating clearly and unequivocally …
I AM NOT AN ATHEIST.
I most definitely do not believe in the Christian god — and I highly doubt the existence of any other type of god. However, to my thinking, this, in itself, does not give an individual (who has never met me) the right to label me an atheist based entirely on comments or thoughts I’ve expressed in public.
Yet people do … simply because I disagree with their perspectives on the god represented in the bible.
Further … while many of my blogger friends have openly stated they are atheists, many others have never made this claim. They are simply deconverts from the Christian religion. They may describe themselves as deists, anti-theists, gnostics, agnostics — or any other word they feel best fits their theological position. ( NOTE: None of these identifying titles hold the same meaning as atheist. Suggest you look them up if you disagree.)
Yet they too are branded as “atheist” simply because they disagree with a person who claims the title of Christian.
The incentive that finally moved me to write this post was the following comment recorded on a blog owned by a Christian:
Aetheism (sic) is the highest level of ignorance. Full of arguments. Carnal. Judgemental (sic) and believe that all and sundry should be dragged into mundane ways of thinking by philosophy, science, myths or ancient facts. It’s a pity.
IMO, the “pity” is the individual who wrote this.
Comments like this are (unfortunately) extremely common among believers. Any and all individuals who do not “profess Jesus” and/or who happen to see life from a non-religious perspective are “ATHEISTS!”
From a personal standpoint, I’ve found it difficult to understand why such anger exists within the hearts of those who claim to believe in a man who (is said to have) made the following comment in Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV):
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Even in the Hebrew Bible, there are similar words found in Leviticus 19:17-18 (ESV):
You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall … love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Yet behind the cloak of anonymity — or simply because it’s not face-to-face conversation — believers apparently seem to feel they possess divine impunity and can strike out at any and all who disagree with their faith perspective. Even those who serve as their god’s ambassadors are guilty.
I’m well aware of the “Great Commission” given to Christians to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 16:15, KJV). But there is also another scripture they seem to often overlook which states: And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet (Matthew 10:14, ESV). It doesn’t say call them “atheists” or other derogatory names as you leave.
The diversity of human beliefs about life is immeasurable — primarily because we are each individuals with our own backgrounds and experiences. As has been repeated innumerable times … No Two People Are Alike. Thus, when it comes to religious matters, it would far better serve all of us to keep this in mind and cease and desist placing (often incorrect) labels on other people.