Thursday, 08 December 2011
I wrote a post a while ago about my views on Christmas, and what I think about the holiday as an atheist. I talked about commercialism, secularism and other issues surrounding the celebration of Christmas these days. Apparently someone liked my writing, because it was a featured post on Revelife as well as on the Xanga front page. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have my writing honored in this way.
When I saw that my post received over 100 comments, I was even more excited. I thought that perhaps I had made a difference for some people or stimulated an actually discussion about the place of Christmas in modern society.
However, when I read the comments, I was very disappointed. A few of the comments were people sharing their views on the topics I discussed. A fair amount where Christians asserting their displeasure with my religious choices and praying for me. Most, however, were a back-and-forth discussion by Christians and atheists about who is right.
This disappointed for many reasons. First and foremost, I was embarrassed by the name calling and generally poor arguing employed by both sides. Beyond that, I simply think that the comments section of an unrelated article is not the appropriate place for that discussion. I've shared my views on religion in no unclear terms, yet that doesn't mean that I need to take every possible opportunity to tell religious people why I think they are wrong.
I thought my post touched on a lot of issues that both religious and non-religious people could relate to, but instead of talking about these issues together, we overshadowed them by focusing on our differences and making accusations. Personally, I would like to see religious people give up their beliefs and share my views, however I'm wise enough to realize that the comments section of a Xanga post probably isn't the appropriate time or place to try to convert them. I imagine that many Christians feel the same way about bringing atheists to their faith.
How are we supposed to live together in the same society if we can't discuss things without starting a fight? I completely agree that we should have discussions about the legitimacy of religion, and the arguments for and against it, and I know which side I believe has the stronger arguments. However, I also believe that there is a time and place for that discussion to occur.
We here at Revelife totally agree with the idea that we should stay on topic rather than making the conversation all about Christians vs. Atheists. What are some constructive ways we can communicate with one another and discuss subjects without making it a fight about who is right?