After much of the ignorant questions have been batted away after folks find out I am atheist, I get a bunch of questions that are pretty good. Many of them deal with my opinion on certain issues. What I remind people I know is that my non belief doesn’t really drive how I feel about social issues like abortion, living wage, feminism, etc. I came to those opinions way before I became an atheist.
What atheism does for me is push the idea of religion completely out of the equation. My atheism tells me that religion should not be part of a political forum. We shouldn’t execute people for crimes because some God tells us to be peaceful, we shouldn’t do it because we should seek alternative forms of punishment that actually restores justice and makes our communities safer. That’s the moral thing to do and unfortunately the Bible or the Quran doesn’t show us how.
I think people get that part of atheism mixed up. It’s not a political system or worldview. We just don’t believe in the supernatural. That’s it. We don’t go to church or a mosque. We don’t pray. We don’t worship or recognize certain holidays as sacred. That’s it. I will say that some atheists do attend church with their families and travel to visit family on certain holidays. That happens. If I get invited to Christmas dinner, I shall go with my family.
The thing is that too many people assume atheism is this big shift in one’s ideology. For many, it means a huge lifestyle change especially if they were fundamentalists, clergy, or consistent volunteers in their religious organization. I am sure they still continue to do the things they enjoyed before like watch the same movies, attend the same ballgames, frequent some of the places they love to, read books, etc. The person themselves won’t change dramatically.
I remember my wife asking if I was going to change completely when I admitted I was an atheist. Just the other day she pointed out that I am the same guy she married over 13 years ago.