Hey everybody, how you doing? Clark here, today we continue with part 14 of the “Understanding Religions” series on my website. We take a look at Atheist religion beliefs, or rather, Atheist beliefs regarding religions. I will also devote a section below to my thoughts on Atheism.
Anyway, here’s part 13 of the series if you missed it. Without further ado, let’s go on to
Atheism and Prominent Atheists
The term Atheist has quite a broad meaning. It could refer to people with an absence of belief in the existence of gods/goddesses or deities. And it could also mean people who reject the belief that some deity exists. So the two definitions are different, aren’t they?
Since most religions believe in the existence of at least one deity, you could think of Atheists as people who do not have a religion. For the rest of this article, we shall make this assumption.
Some prominent Atheists today and throughout history, whose names you may recognize, include Stephen Hawking, Sam Harris, Woody Allen, Sigmund Freud, Ricky Gervais and Katherine Hepburn. This is based on my research and I really am apologetic if any one of them is actually not an Atheist. Also some people can be an Atheist now but later believe in God, or it could be the other way around. Some change religions.
The first Atheist is said to be a man named Diagoras of Melos. However, he may not have been an Atheist like how you and I understand it now. In past times, any belief or even speculation that is different from the accepted religious beliefs of a particular place or country can be punishable by death.
Atheists Deserve Respect
It has always been my believe that as long as we do not hurt someone with our actions (or words), we deserve some basic measure of respect from other people. Just because others have different beliefs from us doesn’t mean that they are in any way inferior. People have thought the world to be flat for a long time before that was proven to be so wrong. And, that might well be the case with religions too.
Religions teach us to have faith, to believe that a certain deity exists, or to believe that a certain historical figure did something miraculous. And all that may well have happened. But I’ve always thought that the best thing we can do is think and find out for ourselves whether the beliefs and practices suggested by our religion moves us forward in life.
Therefore I’ve always have a lot of respect for any religion that practices tolerance towards other faiths, as well as any religion that demands you find out for yourself whether its methods work or not. Less so for people who kill due to differences of opinions about whose God is true, how the Universe began, what will happen to us when we die, etc. I can’t understand it.
There are people who misuse religion for their own gain. Like saying that the ongoing (at the time of writing) Covid-19 situation is caused by certain religious practices not performed in the ‘correct’ manner, or that God is ‘angry with non-believers’. In much the same vein, there is still prejudice towards lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT), and on many occasions the reason cited was that such relationships are not allowed by their God or religion.
Although admittedly there have been a spreading of messages to accept diversity in recent times. To be fair, compared to eras past there are a lot more acceptance for the variety of beliefs and religions in the world today. In olden days, Atheists might even be shunned by their own family.
Of course, the opposite also applies and very much so. Atheists should respect the fact that everyone has the right to believe whatever they want.
This Series Will Return!
And that’s it for part 14. I’ll be taking a break on this series but for sure it will return! There are many more aspects of religion that we have not explored, and you may of course let me know in the comment box below if you would like to read about a certain subject next. I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. Please share if you do, and feel free to subscribe to my emails! Please be invited to come back often to my website. And last but not least, leave any questions or comments that you have below and I will get back to you ASAP. Thanks a lot!
Updated: Part 15: What is Theosophy?