by Groff Schroeder
When you do not believe in or worship supernatural beings, others sometimes jump to conclusions. If a believer finds out you do not have faith in their Abrahamic god, they often jump to the conclusion that you worship some other god. They may offer reassurance of their reserved acceptance of differing religious beliefs, at times with direct or implied reference to well known but less popular Abrahamic belief systems. If you tell them you do not believe in god(s) of any kind, some folks jump to the conclusion that you must therefore surely worship “the devil.” But why would those who don’t believe in allegedly beneficial supernatural beings believe in or worship allegedly malevolent supernatural beings?
The next jump is often that you worship yourself, because only self worship could lead to acceptance of the steep price for failure to worship their infinitely kind, loving, and forgiving deity – eternal torture by burning. When you say you do not understand why any being would harm anyone for any reason, they may state they feel sorry for you because you clearly hate religion. At this point, you might be drawn aside for a hushed but deeply serious admonition that your rejection of their god’s love condemns your children to god’s wrath, and that even newborns need prompt [insert religious ritual name(s) here] to protect them from being burned by god in hell for all eternity for dying without having learned of god's unlimited kindness, eternal love, and infinite forgiveness.
If you explain that you will take your children to any religious service they choose once they reach the age of consent, but that honesty prevents you from telling impressionable children that supernatural beings exist - you might be told that you worship truth. And you might be informed that infallible, revealed “T”ruth is only found in [insert repeatedly translated and reinterpreted, Iron Age spiritual text name here], and that all other points of view are by definition incorrect - or “evil.” If you state that you rely upon demonstrable facts derived from consistent observations, repeatable experiments, verifiable evidence, and predictive mathematics, you might be told that you worship science. If you describe how the scientific method led to the engineering triumphs of our modern technological age, you could be told that medicine, engineering, and science only work because of the will of [insert their preferred deity name here].
If you explain that you do not worship supernatural beings, yourself, truth, science, or anything else - and that it appears worship in general and religion in particular are highly contagious, extremely toxic mind viruses that destroy common sense and activate the same addiction-related neural reward circuits activated by gambling, sex, and drugs, the person may briefly stop to cogitate. Then the conversation usually ends, and often, so does that person's interest in communicating with you – about anything, ever again.
How does nonbelievers’ choosing non-religious beliefs and controlling our own bodies and sex lives as we see fit threaten or interfere with other’s religious beliefs, civil rights, or human freedoms? And why corrupt the Constitution to force nonbelievers to comply with other people’s religious beliefs, religious practices, and sexual mandates? Everyone must be free to control our religious beliefs, bodies, sex lives, and reproductive processes in privacy and without interference.
Published in the March 8, 2023 issue of Sixty35 News with the quotation below.
“If you jump to conclusions, you make terrible landings.”
— Terry McMillan