To take the first step in faith, you don't have to see the whole
staircase: just take the first step.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There has been a good amount of response to my previous blog about 2007 possibly being the year of the atheist that I need to address the issue again. Naturally, as a Christian, I don't want to turn my blog into an debate on atheism, but I have been enlightened by the comments, especially from Vjack at Atheist Revolution and feel it is necessary to revisit this topic.
One of the points I've learned is not every atheist is angry and hostile towards those who are religious. There may be some like that, but it is not the majority. We have made a stereotype and also some atheists make a stereotype that we Christians/religious people are all trying to force or convert atheists and others to our beliefs. It has been mentioned that Christians back in history were brutal and violent in this effort. I don't disagree with this, but would like you all to keep in mind that many Christians and other religious people were also brutalized for believing. So one of the main concepts both groups, believers and non-believers, need to keep in mind instead of passing a quick judgement is that it is not right to stereotype and that both groups have faced persecution or harrassment for their opinions.
In a recent blog post at Atheist Revolution, Vjack states,while it is not universal for all atheists, that their are two prongs to atheism: faith is irrational and religion is harmful. I would like to address the first prong about faith being irrational.
Because something can't yet be proven, or any concrete evidence found to prove it's existence, does that mean it doesn't exist? Every day scientists are learning new things, finding and inventing new means to quantify, measure, and prove the existence of different things. Right now, we are just finding many new species of animals and plants we never even knew existed. If years ago, someone found a drawing of one of these animals and stated it existed, they would be laughed at and ridiculed. Yet now it is fact. Just because there currently, today, exists no proof for the existence of God does not mean He doesn't exist. Perhaps the right tools or measuring devices just aren't around to verify His existence. Also, perhaps we aren't MEANT to find His existence through science, as this would eliminate the need for faith. Maybe we are meant to find God only through the means of faith, as many Christians do believe. And that is not irrational to us at all.
The second prong mentioned, religion being harmful, may be true in some cases. Again, we are talking about religious extremists who want to beat into submission those who don't believe. I don't subscribe to that path, nor do many other Christians and people of other faiths. Again, it is necessary to avoid stereotyping. In fact, research has been done and it has been proven that religious practice promotes the well-being of individuals, families, and the community.
Perhaps it would be better for atheists to consider themselves "apatheists": Continue not believing in God or religion, but also stop worrying if others believe. To put it simply: live and let live.