I left Christianity when I was 22 (closing on 14 years now) and have no interest, intention or inclination to “find faith”. I’m very happy with who I am and my life style, values and principles. In fact, I actually feel like I’ve become a better person since I left religion in my past. This isn’t to say that believers should abandon en masse their beliefs – I don’t spread any religious gospel, not even Atheism. What you choose to believe is entirely up to you, as long as you don’t try to force it on me.

When people (particularly Christians) hear that I am an Atheist, it often leads to an argument, not about the validity of our different beliefs, but rather what’s going to happen if I don’t “accept Jesus as my saviour”. Sometimes it’s more timid and people say, “You’ll return to God, you just don’t know it!”. Still annoying and to me… utterly disrespectful.

Just this Sunday, I helped my brother (a priest – I have such a strange existence:)) out and delivered some koeksisters (syrupy, spicy, coconut covered donuts) to their church. Being polite, I decided to greet some of the familiar people. Many mistook my presence for having attended the service, as I explained I’m just waiting for my family, some kept pushing their idea that I “should”, “must” and “will” eventually come to church. It’s this idea that I {and everyone that is, was and will ever be} must believe what “you” believe that annoys me.

Many believers want to push their own agenda, instead of simply accepting that it is possible for someone to have a different view of the world. This in many ways to me, contradicts the values and principles of Christianity. In Jesus’ “own” words : “Love thy neighbour, as you love yourself”. Love requires respect to exist before anything else can develop, without respect there cannot be trust or connection.

As a person who struggled with the internal and external conflict of moving away from the “family” beliefs, I have learnt that if my choice is going to be respected by others, I must be willing to respect their’s first. Respect is not just “for those you approve of”, it should be a fundamental in all our interactions, especially with those we may not agree with.

2 thoughts on “Respect…

  1. I respect you for been Sooo BOLD! You must do what you think and know is right for YOU!
    GANDHI SAID ” Strength of number is the delight of the timid. The Valiant in spirit glory in fighting alone”


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