We are all biased. I, myself, am apt to generalize and apply negative attributes to certain groups which cause me to denigrate people’s character before I even meet them. Our experiences, the media we consume, and rhetoric we’re exposed to help mold our perspectives, lumping general characteristics together to create stereotypes. Each group or tribe, if you will, automatically gets assigned generalities making it up to the individual to look beyond distinctions depicted by others.
Doing so can be a daunting task for many. And if you ask someone if they have biases, they’d likely deny it because admitting so would mean acknowledging a character flaw.
It’s likely we’ve all experienced bias in some form or another. When I reveal my agnostic affiliation, it is usually met with confusion or a divulging of misconceptions about the ideology. Typically, these misgivings come from those in religious backgrounds, so I thought I’d clear some things up.
We Do Not Worship the Devil!
I thought I’d address this one first!
I’m not sure exactly why people assume this to be true, but you’d be surprised how many have asked me about it. None of the other atheist/agnostic people I know worship the devil and the reason why is: we don’t believe he/she/it exists!
However, the ‘Church of Satan‘ is a group of atheists who use the devil as a symbol of freedom (and rock n’ roll) but they don’t worship a demonic spirit. I understand how this can be confusing, but don’t get me wrong, most non-believers don’t subscribe to their line of thought. To me, this group created another religion, and I’ve found many skeptics who merely wish to shed the shackles of group-thought or indoctrination.
Lastly, some of us still do carry the fear of the devil/hell due to indoctrination. But as adults capable of reprogramming our brainwashed minds, the terror dissipates with time. Eventually, we start to see the devil as nothing more than a metaphor like Hades, Ifrit, or Rumpelstiltskin.
You Can Trust Us!
Well, you can trust us about as much as you can trust any other human.
I’ve had people take a step back or glance at me as if I’m up to something after telling them I don’t believe in god. We’re not trying to trick you! I know it’s hard to trust something you don’t understand or assign stereotypes to because you’re afraid. But I promise, in spite of what they say about us being ‘immoral‘ or ‘godless heathens,’ we’re generally not out to hurt anyone.
We may not abide by the same rules (sex before marriage, working on Sundays, eating seafood) but our principles are generally the same; don’t murder, do unto others, help the poor and sick, try to be a good person, etc.
Unfortunately, there are exceptions to every group, but we just want to live a full, happy life and help those we care about do the same.
Life is Not Meaningless
It may seem that way to a religious observer because purpose has been defined for them, but life takes on new meaning without god/religion. We get to make our own purpose!
I’ll concede there are existential challenges that come with being a skeptic, but a little patience and willingness to accept your truth does ease some of the soul-crushing questions in time. Eventually, we learn life’s purpose is to live with urgency because there is no afterlife. Each moment is a chance for us to define our meaning and take pleasure knowing we did the best we could with a finite chunk of time.
There’s hope in every single day, the good and the bad ones, despite the atrocities occurring each and every second. They don’t need explanation, simply understanding and a desire to help improve the situation for others. Meaning, or purpose, is in our ability to appreciate every tiny good thing this existence has to offer—sunsets, family, pets, etc.
It’s about condensing the cosmic and spiritual perspectives into something smaller. Focusing our affection, love, and attention to our immediate surroundings and taking nothing for granted. For us, there is no heaven but life takes on new meaning because of it.
Before You Go!
What do you think? Was I able to clarify or change your perspective about non-believers? Please be sure to voice your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section or contact me directly!
My Book, Through the Devil’s Eyes, is Now Available at Barnes & Noble!
Synopsis: God vs. Devil, Good vs. Evil—Who Will Win the Battle for the Souls of Mankind?
Through the Devil’s Eyes is Also Available on Amazon!
You’ve Heard God’s Side of the Story. Time to Hear Mine!