I've been thinking about something.
Before we start, I should lay my cards on the table. I'm an atheist. I was raised in a Christian household, but I became an atheist around the age of 16. Perhaps earlier. Don't remember when exactly, but that's beside the point.
The point is... sometimes, when I openly say that I'm an atheist... I get these weird looks. The atmosphere becomes cold and tense, things get awkward, and sometimes the conversation just ends altogether.
And it makes me wonder... do people think it's somehow rude to be an atheist and express it openly?
And do those people have a point?
Let's start with an experience that I had not long ago. I won't name names, because I don't want to call out anyone and I'm also currently on good terms with these people. I also want to point out that this matter has already been resolved long before I wrote this. I like these people and the intent here isn't to vaguepost about them.
The purpose of this isn't to criticise these people, but to reflect on this conversation, because I think it's a good example of what I'm talking about.
Sooo, I was talking with some people online. I think it was 3 people. I don't remember what we were talking about, other than the fact that it wasn't about religion, but one of them said something about their faith in God and the other two chimed in, sharing similar sentiments. And then the conversation became about their personal relationship with God and their religion.
And I said that I don't think God is real, and asked a question about their relationship with their deity.
And then I was asked to take the conversation somewhere else. Keep in mind, I wasn't trying to argue, or start a big debate, or attack people for their beliefs. I was just stating that I didn't think God was real and asked a question. Just stating an opinion.
And this isn't the first time I've experienced this. As I said before, it's a rather common occurrence, one that I've gotten used to.
The question is... why?
And do the people who respond to me like this have a point?
I get that some atheists can be condescending and rude to religious people. I've seen it happen, and it sucks. As much as I think it's good to criticise religious beliefs, and point out that a lot of religious scripture contains some stuff that's really beyond the pale (a lot of God's behavior in the Old Testament being an example) it's important to treat people with compassion. Not all religious people are like the Westboro Baptist Church. As long as they're kind to us and aren't using their God as a justification to treat others badly or deny them equal rights, we should be kind to them and give them the benefit of the doubt.
That said, a lot of atheists understand this and do treat religious people with compassion. I do my best to treat other people with kindness. And so do the atheists I'm friends with.
Just expressing a lack of belief in God isn't an attack, though. I would be attacking the other person if I said something along the lines of "God doesn't exist. And you're stupid for believing that he does", but I don't.
As I said before, I don't like to personally attack other people like that.
Is it rude to be openly atheist?
The short answer: No.
The long answer: No, but if it was, it's just as rude for religious people to constantly talk about their religion and expecting me to fine with it. If it's rude for me to state that I don't think God is real, it's just as rude for religious people to pray around me, talk about Jesus dying for my sins, or his blessings and all that stuff. And I don't complain about them doing it.
Respecting each other's beliefs goes both ways.
That's all I have to say.
If you're still reading, thanks, I appreciate it. And I hope you have a good day.
I am Bas de Groot, a starting indie developer. This blog consists of me rambling on about game development, stuff I like and issues that I care about, such as LBGTQ+ issues, neurodiversity and the flaws inherent in our capitalist system.