An Atheist Parent’s Thoughts on Tragedy

Well I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve seen enough anti-atheist status updates on Facebook to last a lifetime. It’s so bad, in fact, that I’ve decided to clean up my friends list a bit and weed out the bigoted, offensive people who are claiming that godlessness is the reason for the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary.

What we really should be discussing is the early detection of mental illness and access to health care, not gun control or religious affiliation. While I do think gun control does need to be discussed, that is not the issue here. The issue here is that a deranged person committed a horrendous act, and no one knew he was that mentally ill. Or if they did, they did not help him get help. But the religious folk I’ve known for years and have tried to stay friends with via social networking have decided to make ill-informed and ignorant remarks about how they think not allowing prayer and religious worship in schools is the cause of school shootings. I’ve had enough, and I publicly and politely asked my friends to refrain from insulting me. Basically they’re saying that because I don’t believe in their god (or any god), I am capable of murder. They are saying that I’m evil…yes, one “friend” actually said I’m evil.

And Christians wonder why we get so angry! They wonder why we see religion as harmful. It’s harmful because it excludes. I’ve never told my Christian friends that they’re stupid or ignorant for believing what they do. I’ve never tried to convert them to my way of thinking. I’ve never told them they don’t matter to me because they believe differently from me. Christians, this is why we’re angry. You are so blinded in your faith that you fail to see that other people do not, and will not ever, believe they way you do. You fail to understand that we are still people, and good ones. We love, we give, and we help. But because we don’t believe mythology is reality, you call us evil sinners and say we are going to burn in hell.

These tragedies are only going to drive the two sides farther apart. I didn’t even have time to grieve for the loss of lives because I was too consumed by the hatred and ignorance being spouted by Christians online, but I felt morally obligated to try to combat it. I’m just shocked that people don’t understand the real issue and are so quick to place the blame on something completely unrelated.

Atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers, we have to stand together. We need to do good things as a unit. We must fight for freedom of religion, and the lack of it. We must speak out for reason and logic. I am tired of being quiet. The world needs good examples of freethinkers doing good things and making a difference in the world, and I will no longer stay silent, even if it means losing friends.

2 Thoughts on “An Atheist Parent’s Thoughts on Tragedy

  1. It’s horrible that you have friends that treat you in such a way. It sounds like a violent/unproductive tennis match. How frustrating!

    These “friends” that you have give Christians a bad name. I think a lot of Christians feel EXACTLY the way that you do! The world needs GOOD and KIND examples! A true Christian believes (but, may also question and not completely understand) in what you consider “mythology”.

    Most people package Christians as religious nuts. However, many Christians believe that religion IS the problem! Many ARE freethinkers. They realize that all people are not perfect (themselves included) and that in order to better themselves, they need to believe in something bigger than themselves. Their guiding principle is love.

    Regardless, the universe does not revolve around the individual. We ALL have to commit to not combatting one another and to learn to listen respectfully to the thoughts and feelings of others that share the universe with us.

  2. Hi there. I came across your blog entry when I was doing some Google searching on Newtown one month later (I don’t keep up with the news very well). I read your entry with great interest because so many of your sentiments I completely agree with. I’m a seminary student, studying to be a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and consider myself to be a sort of freethinking (read that, not fundamentalist) Christian. And OH MY LANTA, I got so sick and fed up with some of those SAME Facebook memes going around saying “this never would have happened if the US didn’t kick God/prayer out of the schools” and on and on. I just wanted to let you know that it isn’t just you agnostics and atheists that are insulted by some of that blither. Who has two thumbs and is insulted by it, too? This guy. (Not to mention, the whole notion that God could be “removed” from somewhere is just ridiculous theology.) I agree, we need to be talking about an improved mental health system and gun control and firearm safety education among other things. Keep on keeping on making the world a better place! And thanks for your thoughtful posting. :-)

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