A recent letter to the editor in August 3, 2007 that was titled “Might be surprised at who we don’t see in heaven,” demonstrated how selective some people can be using quotes from the bible to validate their sense of superiority or “infallibility.” I was also struck by the last sentence of the letter. The author said he was one of the worst sinners to walk “this sod” but that Jesus died for him and he was “free, praise the lord, free at last.” I had an epiphany.
As an atheist I have no “Get out of Hell Free Card” in the form of Christ being crucified. I must take stock of other people’s feelings all the time. I have no comfort of Jesus Christ with which to snuggle away guilt for having mistreated other people. I have no luxury of washing my hands of my misdeeds every holy day. I must treat other people as I would want to be treated, and I expect nothing less from everyone else.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who feel they can run to their place of worship and wash away their guilt by enveloping themselves in their symbols and rituals of blissful forgiveness on a regular basis, leaving behind those they wronged who are ultimately duped into thinking the wrongdoers will be judged by God later, so they take no action.
It’s not about extreme actions or behavior; it’s about basic social attitudes in a country that is supposed to protect and nurture diversity. There’s no sense of ecumenical community, it’s all team rivalry that fomented the 9/11 attacks. It’s time to let religion to go altogether, it’s nothing but trouble.
The competition between religions is bad enough without people treating their neighbors with a sense of religious impunity.