It’s Easter, and my thoughts turn to faith. My faith is humanism. We humans have had one great idea, a universal one that both pre-dates religion and is common to all faiths: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s my religion, and it’s a fine one.
Surprisingly, to me at least, this Passover and Easter season there’s been a deluge of cut & paste atheist posts on Facebook, the mean kind that gratuitously insult the intelligence of believers. I don’t get it. I don’t like it, either.
I don’t believe in the supernatural. I don’t believe there’s a god who intervenes in earthly affairs. I don’t believe there’s an afterlife. That makes me an atheist, but I’m uncomfortable with the word. Why? Because I associate it with those who go out of their way to insult people of faith.
Which may sound hypocritical, because I frequently insult people of faith. But let’s be clear: the people I insult are those who claim to be faithful but who scorn the Golden Rule. You don’t have to be an Afghani to be a member of the Taliban: they’re everywhere, and what ties them together is their hatred of humanity: human goodness, human achievement, human understanding, humans who aren’t exactly like them. The racists. The birthers. People who want to round up Mexican and Central American immigrants and load them onto cattle cars. People who want to ban the teaching of science and literature. I will insult their intelligence any time, at the drop of a hat.
If some Mau-Mau Mike Huckabee type asks me why we don’t have a White History Month, I’ll insult him as a disgusting bigot, not as a representative of Christianity … because he absolutely isn’t one. Tribalists aside, I know plenty of fellow humanists who embrace religion. You probably do too. Apart from those we know in our own lives, there are well-known people like Stephen Colbert, Ana Marie Cox, Fred Rogers, Ed Asner, Dave Chapelle. None of these people see any conflict between faith and humanism, faith and education, faith and science. The central tenet of their beliefs … Christian, Jewish, Muslim … is the Golden Rule, and they strive to practice it in their daily lives. I respect and honor that. So no atheist tracts from me, not now, not ever.
Meanwhile, in defiance of available evidence, my faith in humanity remains strong. Happy Easter!
© 2017, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.