So I got home this evening and had this email on my Facebook. Recently I have become more vocal in my criticism of religion and promotion of Separation of Church and State. Apparently it didn't go over to well with my mom, which is weird because I am 31 and haven't lived at home in over 12 years.

 

Hey, bud -you might want to tone down your Atheistic and anti-religious comments. You definitely have a right to your own opinion and I'm not trying to interfere with your beliefs or to run your life. I am just concerned because of how often I have heard about employers, etc looking for social networks of tentative employees and I don't know if colleges do as well and I would not want to see your admission jeopardized -you have workedfar too hard and deserve this. I love you and hope you don't take this wrong. I'm actually looking out for you. Hope to talk to you soon.

 

Being the good son that I am I felt it was necessary to respond in a respectful, yet honest way. As I finished writing it dawned on me that this would be a great blog post-So here it is.

 

Mom: I appreciate your concern; however, I am going into the science field. I will be joining a large group of individuals that have an immense amount of respect for evidence. It is obvious that religion is based solely on faith and has no evidence to support their claims; because of this the majority of scientists are also atheists. I will have no problem securing a job because of my religious beliefs because they are shared by the majority of the scientific community. As far as William and Mary goes, I was accepted due to my scholastic aptitude and my lack of religious faith has no bearing on my academic success. Some of the most outspoken atheists in the country have earned degrees from the most reputable universities in the country. I have no need to worry about losing opportunities based on a discourse that is heavily grounded in reason and scientific inquiry. I understand that many Christians take offense to my comments, but I don't force them to listen to my posts. My criticism of religion is no different than seeing people posting their religious comments. When I make a comment I simply state my position and support it with logic reasoning. WhenI responded to your post I made valid points and waited patiently for responses that would contradict those points. Religion has been afforded unfair privileges and for some reason people feel that it lies outside the realm of critical analysis. People are allowed to hold their religious beliefs, but they should also be able to provide evidence as to why they hold those beliefs. The majority of people can't justify their position and when they see someone question their position they take offense. I feel I am more that qualified to criticize religion because of two reasons. First, I lived a committed life to Christ for four years and actually applied the principles in the bible with no verifiable results. This led me to the conclusion that perhaps the personal god that religion preaches about doesn't exist. Second, I have devoted myself to scientific inquiry over the past several years and found the explanations to be far more enlightening. These explanations can actually be tested and verified by anyone that takes the time to do this. Religion is not something that can be verified, in fact the very principles they are based on yield very inconsistent results. This leads me to two possible conclusions. First, that god is a very inconsistent being that rarely follows through with his promises. In this case he fails to be omnipotent and all powerful which makes him unworthy of adoration. Second, that god is simply a man made convention created to give people peace of mind. This conclusion seems much more rational and eliminates the need to question why god allows such horrible things to occur on this planet. I find that most people choose to believe in religion because it is the only thing they know. People have been indoctrinated to believe that faith lies outside the realm of physical proof and this is why they can look at insurmountable evidence against their beliefs and ignore them. This explains my side of the argument and thoughyou might not agree with my position you have to admit that my conclusions make much more sense than relying on a highly improbable creator. Now I will address my grievances about Christians fighting to keep religious proclamations in the public sector. The majority of Christians maintain a lifestyle in direct opposition to the lifestyle the bible commands. They fight to keep things such as: One Nation Under God, In God We Trust, and Christian prayer during publicly funded events in our government policy, but they don't live a life that is congruent with the proclamations of belief. Furthermore, they fight for THEIR freedom to have these privileges while they deny people of other belief systems their equal representation. If people want to pray they should do it privately like Jesus commanded in the book of Matthew instead of using it as an arrogant display of majority power. When I speak out against these injustices I do it because they spit in the faces of our forefathers that explicitly included Separation of Church and State into the first amendment. I provide valid arguments that can easily be supported, but Christians fail to provide me with any objective reasoning that defends their position other than wanting to maintain the status quo. Maintaining the status quo has never been a solidargument and throughout history it has been shown to stifle progress rather than to encourage it. I am not writing this with the intentions of being offensive or to argue. I am simply stating my reasoning in hopes of promoting an open dialogue. We are all free to hold our own beliefs, but it is far more important to know why we hold those beliefs. If those beliefs begin to fall apart upon critical analysis than it is necessary to reevaluate them. I am not an atheist because it is an alternative to religion; I am an atheist because I have outgrown my need for mystical explanations that don't stand up to empirical evidence. You are my mother and I will always love you. I just ask that you consider my position and think through yours logically before making a final verdict. Religious beliefs are at best highly unlikely and this is why it is important to limit their influence in our government policy. We are all Americans, but we are not all Christians and it is divisive to allow them to have special privileges that aren't allotted to everyone else.

Love always

Jeremy

Views: 55

Comment by Mallory on June 10, 2011 at 9:44am
I might borrow this the next time my mother tries to the whole "You're closing doors, and losing oppurtunities," thing. I don't understand how having a different perspective on the world somehow changes my worthiness in the eyes of others. If they are going to deny me something based on that, I don't want what they have to offer anyways. I too plan on persuing a career in science (if I can ever afford to go back to school), and it is because of this that I don't worry too much about "closing doors".
Comment by Peter on June 10, 2011 at 1:39pm
now if only we could have a president say something similar to this in a speech...
Comment by AntiChristianLeague on June 10, 2011 at 2:10pm

Very well said Jeremy. I have a similar challenge with my father, who isn't openly religious, but defends christianity nearly every chance he gets. I love him regardless, but it does make things hard at times.

 

It is beyond frustrating that religious people do not demand evidence or reasoning for their beliefs, when those beliefs have the possibility of inflicting great harm on others should they be followed through with. I recently worked as a temp at a christian charity organization. It was meant to be a four day assignment, but halfway through the first day, I was informed that it would only be a one day thing. I didn't openly declare my atheism or anti religious status, but I can't help wondering if I just wasn't "christian" enough for them. (Maybe it was the FSM on the back of my car?) In the end, it doesn't matter. Why dumb yourself down just to fit in with a group you don't care for in the first place?

 

Comment by Jeremy Wells on June 10, 2011 at 2:38pm

The fact that religious people do not demand evidence is to be expected. Their religious texts provide them with all the evidence they need to look for. The thing that really frustrates me is their inability to see a rational argument and reflect on their beliefs in light of new evidence. After this well thought out explanation on why I have chosen to follow scientific inquiry over religous dogma my mom responded with a short two sentence email. "Bud- You know I will always love you regardless of your beliefs. But we will have to agree to disagree." I don't expect to convert the world, but at least once in my life I would like to hear a Christian validate their beliefs on something other than their subjective experience with the world. I would also like to know why so many of them defend Christianity,but reject it every day through there actions. If there was a god I would assume he would be more concerned with peoples actions rather than their shallow proclamations.

The thing that fascinates me about science is the fact that it is always developing. If a better explanation comes up for something we adjust our models to reflect these new discoveries. Most scientific people and atheists that I have met are in awe of the world we live in. I see so much beauty in the way that our universe came to be. It is amazing to see how life started as a simple organism and evolved to become the complex lifeforms we see today.

Comment by AntiChristianLeague on June 10, 2011 at 3:13pm

Subjective explanations for the existence of god are maddening, and nearly exactly the same as hearing a schizophrenic tell you that they hear voices or see dead people.

I do believe that as cognizant beings, we are capable of inhabiting a rich inner world within the confines of our thoughts and individual experiences. But to imagine or hope for something within our own heads does not justify any claims towards an objective existence of those things.

If there were objectively verifiable evidence of any deities of any sort, I would be willing to re-evaluate my current position. I believe that the chair I am sitting on exists, because I can feel the lack of cushioning, hear the legs squeak if I move, see the chair when I look around, and if I felt so inclined, I could probably taste its "chairness" as well. But because I am in a public place, I will not go that far.

If there were such a thing as "god", then it must speak for it's own existence, much in the same way that every other objectively valid object or life form does in our physical world. To take subjective opinions and the words of a poorly written book as proof is nothing more than a cop out, a way of avoiding intelligent inquiry, and a complete denial of our capabilities as human beings.

Comment by Shamari on June 10, 2011 at 4:27pm
Great post :) You summed up my thoughts on the subject better than I could have. At least part of my family (the Seventh-day Adventists) believes the opposite of your mother-that the world is persecuting their sect of Christianity, and that opportunities for them will become less and less available...I can't believe I used to be so paranoid and gullible too.
Comment by Jeremy Wells on June 10, 2011 at 5:35pm
If there were a god it would also be interesting to know why he is so inconsistent. If someone were to pray 100 times they might have the probability of getting an answer one time. The funny thing is they remember that one time and use it to defend their beliefs while forgetting the rest of the failed attempts. My sister in law defended prayer by saying that she once prayed for my wife when they were little kids because she was very sick. My wife was taken to the hospital and medical science gave god the assist, but god got all the glory. Doesn't make much sense to me, but most Christian logic eludes me.
Comment by Dustin on June 11, 2011 at 1:30am

Here is proof:  An old lady prayed for her cat to come back home after it was gone for a few days.  The cat arrived back home , in perfect condition.  

 

What better proof does a person need!?  I had to listen to this lame story last week during church and just wanted to face palm myself in front of everyone there.  

 

Apparently God is allowing millions of children to die horrible deaths , but he'll send a cat home when he get's a second.  

 

If this is the 'evidence' a faith head needs to practice confirmation bias , they obviously don't know what evidence is.  

Comment by Steve on June 11, 2011 at 1:46am
Sending a cat home or letting a sports team win is FAR less work than ending hunger or creating world peace

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