I am an Atheist but I am not intolerant. I have learned over the years that “atheism” is a term that gets much scrutiny from religious and non-religious groups alike. Sometimes we’re stereotyped as God-hating tyrants constantly trying to oppress any mention of religion. Or we are viewed as an elitist group of individuals who believe that our “insight” to religion and the world around us makes us better than everyone else. I reject both of these ideas. And I reject the idea that I am an “inane anti-God bigot.”
I strongly believe that any individual is allowed to believe in whatever they want. But I also believe we should conduct ourselves with respect and tact. Believe in whatever you want, but don’t try to force it on anyone else, especially not with insults and aggression. A debate is not an attack. It is more like an appeal. But the rest of the article is dedicated to attacking other groups of individuals and the original argument about the family in Massachusetts is barely mentioned.
The article tries to ensure us that this argument isn’t about God or the lack of God but Americans and anti-Americans. But isn’t the greatest aspect of American patriotism the fact that we are free to choose? We are free to do and believe in whatever we want. It’s the reason why I can be an Atheist, and it’s the reason why Kyle Sepe can write “One Phrase Under Attack: In Defene of the Pledge of Allegiance Clause ‘Under God’”.
Unfortunately, he makes it very clear in the beginning of the article that atheism is foolish and terrible, and therefore, should not be taken seriously. What he does not realize is that he is the one that readers cannot take seriously. He name calls and taunts in hopes of getting an emotional response. He lets his own ideas and beliefs get in the way of a perfectly good argument, while stepping on a few toes in the process.
It seems as if he attacks simply for the sake of attacking. It is more of a “reality television” approach to an argument. It has shock value. Pulling out a girl’s hair on national television will get you views, but it will not get you respect. Attacking a group, instead of actually debating an issue, cheapens it. The argument is no longer about whether or not it was logical to sue or not, but more about how atheism is ruining religion for the rest of the world. This is disappointing to me especially because I think the initial argument is good. I do not agree with the lawsuit at hand.
Just because I share a religious or non-religious belief with someone else does not mean I will immediately side with this person. If he had approached the article in a different manner, I think it could have been interesting. After all, we are all college students. Every day we read, analyze, and think about issues like this. We are trained to question and debate. Personally, I think it’s exciting when someone can debate his or her way into changing my mind. Who doesn’t love a good debate?
There was a way to go about writing this article, and this certainly was not it. This article isn’t about religion at all. But it’s not about that family in Massachusetts. He turned it into a platform to discuss his own beliefs in the most disrespectful way possible. And when it comes down to it, it proves that you can believe in anything you want, but religion alone (or lack thereof) won’t make you a good person. It’s all in our actions and words. And I hope next time, he can stop name-calling and hopefully have a potentially interesting and stimulating debate.
– Rachela Forcellese, ‘12