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help raise awareness of how many people are ‘Good without God’ and don’t need religion to influence their lives.
as it says on Facebook.
Maybe they should have worded that to say “and would prefer it if religions didn’t influence their lives.” It’s impossible to eliminate the influence.
A lot of us began in a religion we realized didn’t fit us. A lot of us were friends with devout believers growing up even if we never did attend their churches. A lot of us had relatives heavily into it. A lot of us grew up with the secularized celebrating of Christian traditions yet sung carols in school pageants, learned the stations of the Cross and fought to stay awake during midnight Mass.
There are churches on nearly every street corner. Bibles are in hotel rooms. There are prayers in government meetings, prayers at fall suppers, and prayers at family gatherings. The movies we watch are influenced by religious themes just as much as other archetypes. Our language is rife with phrases that come from a time when quoting the bible was not just expected, but probably the only book people did have around to read and quote anyway. Other books we read resort to the same kind of quoting and reference, safe in the knowledge that most readers will recognize their origins.
There’s no way to avoid being influenced. Too many natural, ordinary, appropriate human behaviours have been misappropriated by church leaders over the years and been taught to be the property of only True Believers(tm) or what have you. That attitude is what needs changing. That belief is the one that’s getting in the way. Believers need to realize that most of what makes them good and kind and moral and ethical is a part of humanity that everyone (who isn’t a psychopath) can access.
People can make choices that will help, not hinder. We can all be supportive and caring if we want to be, and it could be argued that we’re a long way from doing enough of that. I don’t think we could ever do too much of that.
Belief in a god is not the way that’s achieved. Joining communities that make it part of their mission and raisin d’etre is how that’s achieved. Making a conscious decision to be a part of that mission is how that’s achieved.
Hell, you can’t even use the word “mission” without thinking of “missionary” can you? See what I mean about religion and language and influence? So many words have religious connotations. That’s something people should be more aware of, I think. I don’t think we should stop at the word “Good” either. We ought to work toward freeing the rest of them, releasing them all from their hundreds of years of religious servitude. Peace, love.. all of them. They never should have been thought of as the property of one specific group.
I think I’m rambling. I’ll finish up.
Obviously this isn’t a huge issue compared to human rights at large but I don’t think you can deny that this abuse of language ties into it. If people are going around thinking only Christians can be good (and many do), how will they choose to treat those who aren’t Christian? How do they relate to people who say otherwise? Are they making good choices when they decide to try saving them or praying for them? Do they threaten them with hell when other methods fail to produce more Christians? How can it be considered good to encourage people to fear something like that?
I think I’m rambling again. Finishing now, for real.
We can all choose to be good. Belief in a deity is an unnecessary detour on the road to achieving that.