I wrote this a little while ago on MySpace in response to one of those "Proclaim Yer Luv Fer JAYSUS!!!" bulletins, and since I just joined RRS (and I'm Lazy), I thought reposting it might make a decent intro to me and how I think on the topic of religion.

I should be ashamed?

So, I'm sure everyone has seen 'em by now: bulletins posted proclaiming someone-or-other's love fer God or Jesus or what have you. Now, I have absolutely no problem with 'em. If you're a religious type and Jesus is yer man, cool, shout it from the rooftops if'n ya want. It's yer right. However, I couldn't help but notice, on the latest one that I saw, how many people put their names on the list and added that anyone who doesn't put their name on "the Jesus list" should be ashamed. Ashamed? Really? I should be ashamed because I don't hold the same personal beliefs as you? Huh. So, does that include me if I'm Jewish? Or Hindu? Or Muslim? Or (Gasp!) atheist?
Let me say right off that I have no problem with personal faith whatsoever. If you honestly believe you owe everything to a higher power, that's your riff and who am I to tread on it? I honestly don't care if you worship tadpoles, as long as you let me continue to wallow in my lack of amphibious faith unaccosted.
But telling me I should be ashamed? Come on, now.
I'm sure the folks that said this meant no harm or insult. And if they'd said something like, "If you're a Christian and you don't put your name on this list, you should be ashamed," no insult would have been taken (except by those Christians whose faith is private and strong enough not to need boasting on a MySpace post, who live by the scripture that says something about worshipping in private and not trusting those who scream about their faith, but those folks can fight their own fights). But simply saying that anyone who excludes his/her name from this list "should be ashamed" is, even if unintentionally, pretty insulting to those of us who are not Christians.
I know that a lot of Christians feel like they're persecuted in the press and the media these days (although, how a group that consists of the majority of the people in this country can feel persecuted, I'm not too clear on), but if fewer Christians acted like they automatically assume that everyone else is Christian, that might ease up a bit.
I'm an atheist. I'm not the tiniest bit ashamed of it. In fact, I'm proud that my will, my morals, my analytical thinking are all strong enough not to need guidance from what I perceive to be myths, fairy-tales even. However, I'm also confident enough in what I believe to be able to say that I may be wrong. I know, that sounds oxymoronic, but really, no one knows for sure. The majority of people of religion think theirs is the one true faith, but they can't all be right, can they? Somebody's gotta be at least a little wrong somewhere. And, I may be wrong. There may be an invisible man up in the clouds who knows everything I do and who gives a damn who I sleep with and what days I eat fish and what have you. However, I've seen no proof. There may well be vampires, too. I can't say, with one hundred percent certainty, that there aren't. But I've seen no real proof that they exist, so I don't buy it.
Now, I'm sure some would find it sad that I can't see "God" in a sunset or a baby's smile. Whatever. I know the scientific explanations behind these things, and I still see the beauty in them. In fact, I find the wonders of science beautiful in their own right.
And I'm also sure that some would balk at my claim of morals, since I'm an atheist and morals come from God. Horseshit. I don't need God or Vishnu or Buddha or any other icon to tell me that raping children is wrong, or that murder is wrong, or that stealing is wrong, or what have you. I would imagine that people got pissed if ya stole their food or skins way before anyone even knew the word "god."
But, hey, that's the great thing about this incredible country of ours. You can say whatever the hell you want, as long as it causes no physical harm (inciting a riot, even with words, is still illegal). And I can do the same. So, to those who say I should "be ashamed" for not proclaiming my faith in Jesus, I'll leave ya with this quote from another "Christian":

"Go fuck yourself." -Dick Cheney

-Big John Hamhock
Seattle, WA