Saturday, October 3, 2009

Trouble Makers

Calumniators of non-belief and secularity

Who stands against secularism and non-belief? Who derides the secular-minded and the non-religious? Who attempts to tailor the world only for themselves. The far right, the fanatic religionists and the unscrupulously power hungry. That's who.

Yet, I see only a small faction of society as the true enemies of non-religion and secularity. There truly aren't many of them out there. Most people are content to live their lives without enmity for anyone, at least, they're content to go about their lives without any desire toward leaning in a direction of willfully causing harm or trouble for their "different thinking" neighbors. Personal appreciation for the basic attitude to "Live and let live" is far more common among ordinary Americans than that of those who are actively soldiering for God and conservative country.

The trouble makers among us are the odd balls.

I'll describe the behavior and the apparent attitude of my thirty-ish neighbor as the perfect example of a "live and let live" individual. She's a single mom and a recent nursing school graduate. She occasionally wears a little golden cross on a necklace. She also occasionally delivers sweet breads and goodies to my door even though she's very aware of my atheism. We cross paths at the local library where we have brief chats; she toting a heavy looking back pack and attending to her young child in hand, and me with my lap top running and a "God is not Great" Hitchens book cracked open along side. It's always friendly, congenial and non-competitive - pleasant. We're not adversaries but allies on everything ordinary.

I know I'm not bothered by any thoughts that she might occasionally pray to her god and hope for life after death and I have few doubts that she cares what I think on matters of religion. I suspect she's as willing as I am to invite in the more secular-minded social changes for government than to see theist-leaning conservatism gain position. Its only a guess, but I suspect we'd agree on almost everything that doesn't somehow include the word "God".

So is my neighbor an accuser of non-belief? Not likely... Is she opposed to living in a secular society? It doesn't seem so...

So who are the calumniators, those who would libel the good of secularity? Can you say, "Room 219?" Are Glen Beck, Fred Phelps and Mike Huckabee like my neighbor?

It's only by allowing those who are truly the anomalies among ordinary thinking people to sway the opinions and push the buttons of our otherwise good neighbors, mostly Christians, that causes trouble for secularist non-believing Americans. And sorting the odd balls out from our ordinary neighbors is something we atheists would be wise to do carefully. Not every Christian is entirely opposed to our non-religious secular-mindedness. Its better to keep them as good neighbors, as allies, than to shun them as enemy.

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