Religious believers vs Atheists : why does there have to be a war?

I was forced to come back to my blog because I was angered by such a cruel comment and article that was posted by a friend on Facebook. For someone who did Philosophy, she really was a heartless person for being so judgemental herself. I am religious, I have feelings, I follow my religion and I believe in God. I am not afraid of saying this, about expressing what I believe. Yes I believe in God, deal with it. Yes I don’t tell the whole world but that’s my choice. Religion has become so controversial and such a touchy subject in our society that the mood darkens when it is mentioned. Don’t try to belittle me and my religion just because you don’t believe. Don’t you dare try to reduce it and make me feel like my religion is nothing but a comfort blanket. You haven’t got a fudging clue about my life, what people go through so how dare people just judge and condemn your religion like they know exactly what they are talking about. NO ONE knows anything about God. I freely admit it- no one in this massive world has a clue so how can you make a statement about people being crazy for believing in God or religion. Just because you don’t know anything about something does not make you irrational. There is a lot about this world that we do not know about but that doesn’t mean I walk down the road shouting “You are wrong because you know nothing!” Aliens could very well exist- how do you know? Scientists are trying to discover if  they do. Where did this idea of God come from? Its been around for thousands of years, but whatever happened to respecting one’s beliefs?

Oh it’s religion let’s skirt around the issue because it becomes an awkward topic of conversation. We are grown adults and people feel the need to hide behind the curtains and not wish to discuss what they think is close minded traditional old garbage. Well hang on a sec if you think that is so, then how is it that you still follow these old traditional teachings? You don’t realise it but religion is in everything whether you like it or not. It’s been around for thousands of years- you can’t just get rid of it. Even Nietzsche recognised this and stated that it would leave a vast void which would be difficult to fill.  How can you refute the claim that religion is useless when it still exists in everything you do- it is ingrained so deeply that you hardly recognise it. I studied philosophy too and at university I encountered not so much trouble at school but still enough that I was ridiculed for being a religious believer. I would always be told “its ok because you’re a nice religious believer but the others are nuts.” What am I to say? Oh thanks you think I am normal. Do you know the shameful part? I was happy with those statements and I agreed. Looking back I should have been angry because I was being compared and judged. Why do I get categorised as normal and others categorised as crazy. I just feel like I made the cut as if I just passed a test. That’s not how it should be. It shouldn’t matter what kind of religious person I am. It shouldn’t matter that I practice and keep religion to myself. It shouldn’t matter if that makes me normal or crazy because I am me and I am religious. I’m not ashamed of that and why should I be?

I digress, so this girl posted this cartoon on her Facebook: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/religion and emphasised how much she agreed with this. Some of it is not so bad, but it vexed me because of the assumptions that were made. It masquerades as humour and condemning those with crazy views, but whatever happened to the right to express our own opinions and views? Who says all religious people believe that stem cell research is evil and fruitless? I am Catholic and although I don’t agree with certain aspects of my religion doesn’t mean I am in the same group. I can’t win because I believe that homosexuality is fine. I understand it is tough and seriously how can you force others to hide who they are and pretend to be heterosexual? It’s just not fair asking someone to be who they are not. I believe Jesus loves everyone. I don’t recall God saying it was wrong because no one heard God say that.  In the eyes of religion I am a heretic and not a true Catholic but hey that’s what I believe. I still associate myself with being religious. It’s just a lot more complicated and all religion is complicated.

Don’t think my problem is solely with Atheists- I admit I don’t like it when some religious people parade religion in my face and try to show that they are better and far superior than me because they do more things in the Church. What is this a contest? Oh wow you’re more religious? Guess what I don’t care. Why should I? Religion is personal and for me is about God not some man made principles. I respect the Christian teachings but its about loving God for me. Helping others- supporting others going the extra mile. True you don’t need to be religious to do all those things but sometimes it helps to understand people and compassion a little more during times of struggle when you’re too stubborn to see the good and help those who’ve hurt you. It’s nice to sit with the Priest and discuss where God has gone and why you’re losing your faith. I’m lucky I have a lovely Priest to turn to who does not judge me but listens to me. He doesn’t give me easy answers and doesn’t even pander to the things he knows I would want to hear. He is honest and truthful that it is tough finding God in this world. I respect that.

Anyway this same girl said to me once when I was leaving after a climbing session when I said that I have to go home, she asked “why?” I said “oh because I need to go to Church for Ash Wednesday” and do you know what she said? She said “See how religion ruins your life?” and then she laughed and said goodbye. I stood there so shocked. I wish I said something but I was in too much of a state of shock. I could not believe what I just heard because do we not get choices anymore? Since when did religion ruin my life? because last I checked I made the choice to leave the session- not my religion. I am in control of my choices- if I want to leave and go to Church that’s my business. I am still to this day annoyed I didn’t speak up – who says you can forget so easily? No one says its easy to forget. I am so fed up with people telling me how to live my life and judging me just because I believe in God. It’s MY life, MY choices. Who says you get a say in my life choices? I will do what I want- if I want to go to Church I’ll damn well go. If I want to go out clubbing I will go, if I want to pray I’ll pray. I don’t force you so why are you forcing me to live the way you want. I get it that people get angered by some religious believers who force religion down their throats but people have to understand it is not all religious believers who do that. Why are you disrespecting and getting angry at religion as a whole? Just because you have issues with religion doesn’t mean you should have issues with everyone associated with that religion. Whenever I am in a group and the subject turns to religion, a silence and hush goes round the group when they discover I am Catholic. The sayings “Oh wow we would never have guessed.” or “Oh well you’re one of the normal ones then” get thrown around the group. Am i meant to be impressed and happy with those thoughts? Just because I don’t boast about my religion, preach about it and parade it in other people’s faces, it apparently makes me sane.  You don’t realise you’ve just judged me because I am religious but I bet you’d never have guessed that I like metal. I wear pretty dresses and like to smile and try to be optimistic but I still like metal. I have other sides to my personality, other interests so why do people feel the need to put me in a box? “Oh she looks happy so she must like happy music or pop music.” or “Oh she looks normal so she must not believe in religion because that is irrational.” I don’t get why it surprises people that I have different facets to my life. I dislike people who claim to be Atheist and argue that religion is judgemental while simultaneously managing to become a hypocrite by saying that they don’t judge people or the world. Then please explain to me how you claim not to judge others when you’ve clearly just judged religious believers. I don’t care what you hate and I don’t understand why it even matters?  Some people feel the need to attack the views of others just because they simply do not like it. “I don’t like religion so lets attack this shit”. But that’s not fair. I guess life is not fair but really next time be a little more sensitive. It doesn’t hurt. If you don’t like someone’s view explain that to them and if its not getting through move on. Why waste time trying to argue points just so you feel validated.

Well you’ll be happy to know my rant is over. I respect other people’s beliefs but there comes a point where it crosses the line and that’s where I lose respect. I am a religious believer. Deal with it.

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Indifference- Sit up and take notice of the world around you

So currently I am meant to be writing my End of Year Essay due in this Friday, but I read something that I had to comment on. I am writing my essay on the Holocaust and the theological implications and in one of my books I read this: “The world is indifferent to humans”. But this is wrong, the world is not indifferent to humans, it just exists- in fact it is the people who are indifferent to the world and to their fellow beings. This statement was made by Richard Rubenstein who rejected belief in God and his belief in Judaism because of the events of the Holocaust and the fact that he came to the conclusion that Hitler was the agent of God which he refused to believe. However, I disagree with this view completely because what about our responsibilities? Why does it have to be God who is blamed? What about the responsibility of the people who were involved? Those who committed the crimes? I am not absolving God from responsibility as it raises the long held argument of the problem of evil in which many theodicies have been created. I am not denying the question of where was God in all this? It is an important question! These aren’t simple questions and there are no real answers, but what there is out there is the knowledge that people did commit these crimes. People did stand and watch. People did do nothing.

What I want to emphasise is that we have to wake up and realise that we live in this wonderful world and although we are not always in control, we act, we make choices whether they are right or wrong I am not judging- we make them. No one is perfect but it is time to accept the truth and it is time to accept responsibility for the actions we commit.

Its very easy to say I didn’t do anything- well I have news that is still making a choice- the choice to do nothing, the choice to ignore the problem. If you see a man being beaten up by a gang, some people may walk away pretending they haven’t seen anything because they fear the gang, they fear for their lives. I completely understand this feeling- the feeling of fear, but it is at the end of the day still a choice someone makes- the choice to walk away. Some may say ‘Well what can you do?’ How can you speak like that unless you were in the situation?’ Well truth be told, I have been in that situation. Except I wasn’t the one walking away ignoring the problem- I was the victim. (Not in a gang fight let’s not be dramatic now!) But I was pestered by some youths on the train. People are too scared to shout at youths nowadays because they’re afraid of the law and they’re afraid of the consequences. On this busy train, people simply looked away uncomfortable not sure how to react, but you could tell most of them were apathetic. I looked to people for help- anyone-but no one wanted to help. I kept wondering why won’t people help? Like I said it’s very easy to look away and not take any notice. But sometimes people need help, they need someone to pull them out from a hole. It is not ok to stand around and watch others suffer. Not everyone is like this, there are few who help, but the majority stand around waiting for others. Stop waiting and start acting. Who are you waiting for? God? For the person to beg? For someone to tell you to do something?

It is also called indifference. Not many people have the strength or the courage to face up to the evils and injustice in the world. And I’ll admit it is a big thing, but it’s time for a change. Why should we live our lives in fear? Pascal said that we want to be seen as brave and courageous, we want people to think we possess these characteristics. But in reality we do not have them, we would rather people think we have them. It is very true- Pascal was a very wise man!

It is wrong to be apathetic and for people to be indifferent to the world they live in.  Stop trying to blame someone else, whether it is God or the person next to you who didn’t help the person in trouble. We are responsible for our actions.  We can intervene and help others even if other people choose not to and even if God didn’t intervene. So stop relying on others and be the change that you want to be.

Rant over for now! Back to writing my essay! Must not waste anymore time procrastinating!