A spiritual happy medium

Symbols for Atheist Society, Society of Friends, and the Luther Rose.

Jennifer Schopfer

Symbols for Atheist Society, Society of Friends, and the Luther Rose.

Jonathan H. Ellyson, Assistant Web Editor

Atheists and theists can get along despite major differences 

The other day, I was perusing through some news and found coverage of another one of the Westboro Baptist Church’s many pickets promoting their extreme religious ideology. While walking around outside, I saw someone with a copy of Richard Dawkins book “The God Delusion.” Seeing these back-to-back amused me: the two most widely heard extremists of religious (or non-religious) practices exposing themselves to me so close to home.

Many Christians, including myself, feel ashamed to be part of the same religion as such hateful, intolerant, extremists such as the Westboro Baptist Church, and certain politicians. This loud minority puts the public perception of Christianity in a negative light. For the first time, I, and other Christians around me, might be tentative to start religious discussions in the increasingly secular world we find ourselves in.

The loud minority of hateful, intolerant Christians has triggered an equally loud minority of atheist extremists who have a vendetta against Christianity. I took a stroll to the atheist sub forum on one of my favorite websites, Reddit, to find that a majority of the posts on the first two pages were screen captures from Facebook or images of church signs with captions pointing out stupidity or illogical behavior among Christian people. I began to feel concerned of all the negative back-and-forth attitude between these two groups.

I flipped through my Bible and did a bit of reading and found just over two dozen passages explicitly stating the most important aspect of Christianity as a religion. Since Christianity is a religion born from the teachings of Jesus Christ, and accounts of Christ’s teachings are found in this book, including several where the students explicitly ask, “what is the most important thing for us to do?” the response reiterated throughout the scripture is “Love one another as I have loved you.” So every religion, or atheist community should be judged based on how the members of that group treat other people within their group and outside of it.

So how are they doing? Catholicism and a lot of its spinoff Protestant religions aren’t doing a very good job. A lot of atheists aren’t really setting a good example of treating other people with respect and kindness either. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how old the earth is, when and if the apocalypse will come, or how many days it took for life to spring forth on the planet. What matters is you, and looking around how you treat the people you see in the world, and, frankly, we all have room for improvement and could be doing a better job.