Having been an atheist for the majority of my life, I just wanted to know some of your opinions on the stigma associated with atheism – and with various religions. There always seems to be a barrier built up between those who are firmly set in their religious beliefs, and those who aren’t. I know whenever I have opened up about my thoughts on the subject, I am often met with criticism. “Atheist” has such a negative connotation (I have even seen some members of HE placing it in a negative light), I almost hate to define myself as one.
In high school, I began searching for more spiritual ideas (I’m not going to use “answers” here, because that would imply that one idea is right and the others wrong), thus I became more Agnostic…although I feel many religious organizations only serve to further destruction and discord, and would rather find my own sources of spirituality as opposed to confining myself to the doctrines of any particular religion. Religious differences have long been a cause of war and misunderstanding between people and entire civilizations…but that doesn’t mean that it must continue in this way. Why can’t we take what is good about religions (because they do have their positive aspects), and discard what only serves to harm humanity?
I just finished reading “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris, which is an eye-opener and something I would recommend (especially if you think the Bible – an ancient work of literature – is an infallible source of guidance and information). Please understand that it is not my intention to “bash” or attack Christianity; I have always found religion interesting, and enjoy reading and learning about different practices and hearing about positive experiences people have had through their religion/spirituality. I feel that I have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my own spiritual learning, and want to know more. I also want to know why more people aren’t willing to have more open discussions on the subject, and consider other views rather than immediately rejecting them – one of the problems I see with confining yourself to one set of religious beliefs. The more we are able to discuss and consider ideas (this would relate to anything in life, not just religion), the more we can all learn – about humanity as a whole, and about each other as beings. I’m hoping some of you are willing to open up on the matter.
What are your religious or spiritual views (if any)? How have they changed throughout your life, and how have they affected you? How have you perceived – or been taught to perceive atheism and agnosticism? How do you view various religions, and what do you think the future of religion in society is – or is there one?