Essay donated by Nathan Parker
Improving the relationships
between Theists and Atheists
Let me start out with this, I consider myself Jewish, but Conservative, or
perhaps even Reform. I believe in Hashem, 1
though possibly in a different way that most Jews do, or how the
cliché/stereotype says we do. As I Jew, I do follow Jewish law, or rather, the
Jewish laws I know of as well as basic ideals I have come up with through my
observation of life. I eat Kosher, not because a book or a rabbi tells me to,
but because I have for most of my upbringing and wish to continue this practice
because of the specifications on the processing/etc.
I tell you a few basics about myself as to tell you who I am, while I
consider myself a Jew, I also consider myself an optimist and an equalist, a
term I possibly may have made myself. People are inherently good, do not make
decisions for bad (read: stupid, uninformed) reasons and in fact can change
unless it's proven that they couldn't/can't or were not/aren't (past and
present). I tell you these things in full security of who I am and what I say,
and tell you that I do not consider myself in expert in any field nor the end
all be all informer.
Now, why have I told you about myself in an article of religion versus
atheism? So that you know who it is coming from, I wish to present the
observations I have seen to this community and will likely present them before
religious and atheist communities alike and cannot present them without the
presented to know who I am.
Moving on to what I have seen in news, forums, arguments, etc. What I have
seen is nothing short of a very fiery debate, where neither side seems to
respect the other.
Atheists do not respect theists because most theists are apt to wonder why and
put forth arguments about how the religion they hold is the correct one and that
religion is necessary.
(I in fact have been through this a few times myself from some Christians, as
most believe that Jewish people are just misinformed and haven't seen their
savior yet. However, I also know Christians that don't try and preach to me
simply because they know I am who I am and will not change because of what they
Theists do not respect Atheists for obvious reasons, because they don't
believe in a deity, or more accurately the deity they worship. Theists do
sometimes assume that Atheists are immoral but also do not like being questioned
or told things such as questions or statements about a deity in general, as some
atheists are prone to doing
While I think that believing is important for myself, I also think that as
long as you live your life as best as you can without thinking of rewards or
punishment will result in a life well lived either way.
Think about this, what if you, whoever you may be, instead of arguing towards
an opposing side said simply, 'I respect/acknowledge your opinion, but I am well
enough off in my thinking/belief/non-belief/what have you' And move on to a
Truly as we should not see different races in equality issues, we should not
see religion or the lack thereof. So, do not define yourself by what you are,
but rather who you are.
I would like to say that I say I am a Jew in this article so that you know
where this opinion comes from, and because it is some part of my identity, and
that though I am different, as you are as well due to whatever you think or
believe, due to this. However, I also am a human, and wish to see more respect
to all due to our fellow human status.
Honestly, if both sides agreed to respect the other side and not argue,
but decided in fact not to push their beliefs, but believe them and respect
those who do not (and not tell them what they think awaits them and etc) then
hopefully the world could be better off.
Of course, this humble author can not expect this article to change the
world, but, if it at least gets someone thinking, then it will be well worth any
and all arguments against myself. Thank you for reading.
Hashem is Hebrew for "the name." It is used to refer to G-d.
This avoids a biblical injunction against the unnecessary use of any of God's
Originally posted: 2007-NOV-14
Latest update: 2007-NOV-14
Author: Nathan Parker