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Christian Pastor: Rape Is Your Fault

Posted on 24 May 2014 (0)

So I am a 24 year-old Filipina female who spent her college years being active in Christian ministry. The kind of church I was in was focused on the supernatural stuff going on, like angels and speaking weird out-of-this-world tongues. We also liked praying over the sick and there were, admittedly, countless times I’ve been laid hands on and fell backwards straight to the floor.

That was 2 years ago. On November 2012, I decided to join the student organization branch of The Filipino Freethinkers in our campus. This decision radically changed my belief and my life, but it was not abrupt. Let me tell you my story.

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Vices and Cheating Not as Bad as Atheism?

Posted on 22 May 2014 (0)

A study on political leanings conducted by Pew Research offers some curious findings. Released in the 19th of May 2014, the study was aimed at gauging the public pulse on the possible characteristics or “character defects” of candidates in the 2016 Elections. Interestingly, based on the response of those surveyed, being an atheist is a top negative while military service is regarded as the top positive. Also, the respondents, apparently, would prefer someone who smokes pot or someone who has cheated on a spouse instead of voting for someone who is an atheist.

As the Pew Research numbers indicate, around 60% say that it would not matter to them if a candidate was involved in an extramarital affair. Approximately 70%, on the other hand, believe that a history of marijuana use does not matter when choosing a candidate. However, when it comes to faith or religion, the responses are somewhat unexpected. More than half of the respondents or 53% said that the would less likely vote for someone who is an atheist. Only 5% said that they would more likely vote for someone who espouses atheism and 41% said that being an atheist does not matter. Moreover, around 21% said that they will more likely vote for someone who is an Evangelical Christian while 58% said that being an Evangelical Christian does not matter.

For those who might be interested to know if political leaning has any influence on this preference, it would be worth noting that 70% of the Republicans surveyed said that they would less likely support an atheist candidate while only 42% of the Democrat respondents expressed less likelihood in electing an atheist into office. This is rather expected although it does not necessarily mean that Republicans will certainly not field someone who does not totally repudiate atheism.

It is also interesting to find out that atheism, based on the research findings, is being treated as something comparable than the lack of experience in holding public office. Around 52% (against 53% on atheism) of the respondents said that they will less likely vote for someone who does not have public office experience.

Nevertheless, atheists and atheism supporters should not consider these findings despairing. While it is true that many people are still strongly against atheism, the numbers have greatly improved over the years. As pointed out by Cathy Lynn Grossman in her article on Religious News Service, the number of Americans who are against atheism has decreased. Of note, the 52% now used to be 63% in 2007. An 11% decrease is not big but is already a considerable development, especially considering the fact there are more Republican leaders in the United States compared to Democrats.

Still, this does not take away the disappointing number of people who consider someone who had cheated on a spouse or used marijuana as options not as less likely to have compared to an atheist. It’s even more befuddling that 6% of the respondents in the survey would more likely vote for someone who had used marijuana in the past. That’s 1% higher than those who would more likely vote for an atheist.

It certainly is about time for “closeted atheists” to come out in the open to address misinformed or stigma-filled public opinions about atheists and atheism. It would have been understandable if people showed greater tendency to vote based on their religion. What’s very difficult to acknowledge is the apparent preference for vices or extramarital affair to show the rejection of atheism.

How I Live a Peaceful Life as an Atheist

Posted on 24 May 2014 (0)

With the majority of the world’s population being affiliated to a certain type of religion, being an atheist is still a taboo until now. Therefore, converting to atheism is something many people are afraid of doing. However, despite such a negative perception about atheism, it did not stop me from coming out and profess my belief (or lack of it). Before I have arrived with this decision, I first ensured that this is something that will make me happy at the end of the day.

I started out by consulting my friends about their personal beliefs in regards to religion. I felt that for many of them, religion is a mere affiliation. Others became followers since their parents told them to do so. It made me become even more certain of my decision to be an atheist. Though it may not be viewed positively by the people around me, at least it is something that I am doing out of my strong belief. I would rather stay this way than be affiliated with a religion out of coercion.

Now that I have finally made up my mind, I see to it that my values are intact. Just because I have converted to atheism does not mean all the positive values I have learned before have all gone to waste. The disbelief in the existence of a god does not necessarily mean belief in the value of evil. I still believe in the value of love and care for mankind and other creatures in general. I learned to continue loving and appreciating the world as it is without necessarily believing that everything was created by a superior being.

There is also a common notion that atheists have to go out and debate with people about religion. However, this is not something that I believe in. Being an atheist is something that I have decided to do out of my personal realizations and learning. Therefore, I don’t believe in the idea of forcing others to change their beliefs if it is something that they have not yet decided upon.

The most difficult part in being an atheist is the social stigma that comes with it. From my family to my friends (who all grew up in a religious environment), came to hate me and my decision. However, I constantly prove to them that just because I have decided not to believe in a god does not mean all my morals are gone. I want to prove to them that we are not what they think we are.

Standing by this decision has always been a constant battle. At some point, I wanted to give in. However, I just hold on to the idea that with this belief, I hurt no one. Compared with those who have strong religious beliefs, but have committed crimes, I believe I am a better person. Hopefully, people will realize that atheists are not here to make war. Instead, atheism is simply a way of life and a choice of people who think in a different way.