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Religious Tolerance logo

Essay donated by Nathan Parker

Improving the relationships
between Theists and Atheists

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Sponsored link.

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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 clich/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 say.)

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 different topic.

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.

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  1. 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 names.

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Originally posted: 2007-NOV-14
Latest update: 2007-NOV-14
Author: Nathan Parker

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