I just saw that Cory Miller just posted an interesting link on his CCP blog about how atheists should deal with Christians. I have to say, it’s one of the more interesting reads I’ve come across in some time on the topic.
Here’s a sample:
6. Don’t try to change the religious views of others, because they will resent that. If you are resentful towards religion, consider that much of your resentment probably stems from religious persons attempting to force their beliefs on you. If you feel like your friends are trying to “enlighten” you, explain to them that you have made a conscious choice and are not simply ignorant of their religion. If they still attempt to convert you, perhaps you should not be friends.
I think it’s definitely worth a read any Christians out there. Take a look and see how we are perceived by those around us. Some things I recognized from the article:
- We are considered elitist. If a “dreaded atheist” is in our midst and we catch wind of it, evidently we’ve demonstrated a tendency to want to argue with them.
- We assume the word “atheist” is a pejorative. A commenter here wrote in to me and suggested I use the word “bright” as an alternative. Unfortunately, the connotation of that word indicates the opposite for a “theist” — dim. We’ll stick with atheist for now, and we won’t consider it an insult either.
- Atheists have recently found the need to pursue group support, because of the way some are treated (especially in red states, I’m sure). In reality, Christians like myself should be able to offer them the community they desire, without necessarily beating them over the head with religion. They should be able to feel welcome around us, not shunned, hated, or disrespected.
- Evidently, we don’t like it when people try to convert us, but we’re more than happy to try to convert you. I’m not saying evangelism is wrong, but don’t get mad when someone returns the favor.
- Christians, evidently, all too often see themselves as needing to “inform” the “unenlightened” as to what Christians believe. Yes, there are many misconceptions about Christianity out there (mostly self inflicted though) and we need to set the record straight, but don’t be condescending. It’s one thing to have a polite discourse without insulting one another, but it’s quite another to start acting like the other person is so colossally ignorant that they need you to speak to them like they are a 5 year old.
What do you think? Should an atheist have to follow these “rules” just to be able to be in the same room as a Christian? Are we THAT unpleasant? And if we are, don’t you think we are in desperate need of a change of attitude?