Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quo Vadis?

Attribution Unknown

I have been rather astonished to have received negative emails about my blog titled "Persecution". Why, you might ask, were these correspondents critical? Was it criticism from an Islamic readership? From, in general, an Iranian readership? Oh no, my friends... I have received two negative emails from individuals who identify themselves as atheists. 

Let me clearly, and for the first time on this blog, elucidate my perspective.

You get to believe what you want. 

I get to believe what I want. 

As long as we are good and moral and do no harm and try, as we can, to do some good, we're just fine.

No right beliefs. 

No wrong beliefs. (Unless we're talking stoning or similarly heinous actions on our fellow humankind...)

You don't tell me what to believe and guess, what? I don't tell you what to believe!

This blog is totally self-centered. I'm telling you what I think or what I'm reading about or about what shocks or delights me.

I am not telling you I'm right and you're wrong.

I am not telling you what to think and I'm certainly not telling you what to believe or not believe. (Unlike a certain correspondent, I might add...)

What matters is what you DO. Are you kind? Do you try to do good?

In what way can I possibly criticize a practitioner of any faith who is a good person? Hmmm? This I would like to know.

I can criticize policies in the Catholic church that have led to decades, if not centuries, of abuse and coverup of abuse. I can criticize Sharia law that seeks to stone people, or counts a woman's worth in every way as less than a man's. I can say that any belief that judges another as making them somehow less than deserving of certain fundamental human rights is a wrong-headed one.

But I want someone to tell me how it is that any belief that helps someone get over the loss of a parent, a child or through dying of cancer or some other terminal disease is to be mocked or criticized by me? 

There is simply nothing, nothing, that gives me the right to mock another person's beliefs if it helps them get through this hard life and if they are decent and caring human beings.

Whatever gets you there, to being stable and kind and decent, it's good. It's better than good. It's FINE.

So to sum it up definitively:

You get to believe what you believe.

I get to believe what I believe.

We both act like decent and moral human beings who treat every living soul on this planet as if they deserve respect, kindness and even if we disagree with them, not derision.

Let's check out that First Amendment freedom of religion thing, shall we? Hmmmm. Maybe instead of religion, the Founding Fathers actually intended your right to freedom of belief.

I'm giving them the benefit of doubt.

But then what can I say? 

I'm just like that.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010


  1. I'm guessing they thought you were insufficiently critical of religion itself?


  2. Indeed Michael. Evidently advocating for oppressed individuals must take into account whether they should be faulted. But you know, since I think being an atheist in Iran might get you outright killed as the ultimate infidel or apostate, then I really think encouraging repressed and persecuted Baha'is to become atheists instead is kind of outside my purview. As well as outside my personal beliefs.