Atheism vs. Theism
The most wanted thing in the world is happiness. We work so hard in order to create or maintain it, so much so that it’s counterproductive. Does practicing a religion create happiness? Why is lack of religion associated with condemnation while certain attitudes believe anyone not associated with them is inferior? Religion is ultimately blinding people to their own world. By saying one knows the “ultimate” truth stops the search in the first place. People become static, people stop caring, people start turning into machines.
Meramec student Michelle Mitev has been a practicing Christian for the past four years. She was raised without a guided faith. She was drawn towards Christianity because “they were actually living out what they believe in.” It has been shown that demonstrating acts of kindness on a regular basis improve mood (Health Alert). When asked how often she expresses acts of kindness and what her motivation to do so is, Mitev responds “regularly and because its common courtesy.”
Another Meramec student, Zoe Lefebvre, classifies herself as an atheist. To her that means she “doesn’t believe that humans are on this earth to serve a higher being, nor that a higher being exists or created this world for us.” As a personal friend of Zoe, I can vouch that she is a very kind hearted person and demonstrates acts of kindness on a consistent daily basis. She feels “the need to be kind, or maybe [I don’t] feel the need to be unkind.”
Some faiths can be detrimental to relationships. Some could even go as far to say certain churches may be promoting hate groups. For example, the Westboro Baptist Church firmly believes that if you deviate from any of their “accepted” norms that “God hates you” and “you are going to hell”( WBC). The Westboro Baptist Church literally preaches hatred; Psalm 5:5 reads, "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Holy Bible). The WBC uses this sort of historical text as validation for their behavior. Nate Phelps, 51, was raised in this environment. Being taken (against his will assumingly) to hate rallies bearing signs that read “Thank God for Sept. 11” or “Repent or Parish.” When he turned 18 and had the legal right to his own free will, Phelps left his church and his family immediately. He has spoken since then, encouraging people not to hate this organization, but to feel sympathy for “at least the children stuck in that situation” (WBC). This brings forth the question, if being raised in this environment made him a compassionate, empathetic person, how can this very same group focus so strongly on hate?
Very strict practicing Hasidic Jews lead a very rigid lifestyle as far as tolerance for other faiths. They can barely associate with those not practicing their same faith. Albert Einstein was brought up in Jewish heritage, yet he has very different beliefs than those of the Jewish community. He did not directly reject his Jewish heritage, more so, the Jewish faith rejected him. When asked about his personal belief in God, Einstein responded, “I am not an atheist…I am a determinist. I do not believe in free will. Jews believe in free will. They believe that man shapes his own life. I reject that doctrine. In that respect I am not a Jew” (Issacson).
The misconception that faith creates happiness has been around for some time. The documentary, Happy, shows the contrary. Most of the happiest people find joy from within themselves. They focus on the things in their life that they have, things they are grateful for. And while they may not have the best job, or a house with a real roof, they still manage to lead a fulfilling life.
When people hear the term “atheist” the most common reaction is disapproval, but do they really know what they are disapproving of?
Atheism is, to put it in simple terms, a belief in what is real. This isn’t to say that a God does not exist, but the extent of belief...
Cited: Happy. Dir. NAME OF DIRECTOR, DISTRIBUTOR, DATE, Documentary.
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