Category Archives: Interfaith

Atheist Ally for Interfaith Relationships

Tonight I’m over at Secular Progressive with a post on atheists needing to support interfaith progress.

You’ll have to read me over there, but while writing the entry, I realized I’ve yet to say anything about interfaith dialogue on this blog, although I’ve had quite a few posts on atheism and religion. So I’d like to add a personal side-note to what’s up at Secular Progressive.

When I admitted my atheism to myself as a first-year at Dartmouth, this acceptance was spurred by some negative experiences regarding religion during my orientation, regarding a poorly timed prayer and an appeal to Christ by our student body president (which caused a few Jewish students to walk out of the welcoming). So it’s perhaps not surprising that my hostility toward religion was then at an all-time high.

For me today, the jury is out as to whether religion has the potential to be a primarily positive force, and whether we’d be better off with a world of atheism or one that included liberal, tolerant religions. Regardless, religion probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so interfaith work can at least impact how it impacts society. As an activist coming from an atheist/secular humanist viewpoint, I believe in the importance of explaining and defending those beliefs to people who have misconceptions about what it means to not believe in God. But I also believe that interfaith dialogue is suited to my goals of improving tolerance and countering conservative, fundamentalist religious elements.

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