Criticism of organized religion does not equate disdain for individuals who are highly religious

Bryan Eberly and Bryan Eberly

I’ve received many emails in response to my latest column about religion.

Some were full of blessings and care, some were philosophical counterarguments and some were just plain rude and somewhat eerie. Remind me not to walk alone in the dark near Rudolph any time soon.

I appreciated them. I appreciate it anytime there is a dialogue going.

Dialogue is what the world needs. Communication and exchange. So I encourage all readers of my column to feel free to email me anytime. Or even stop me on campus.

Unless I’m running late for a class, I have no problem chatting for a few minutes.

Getting back to the emails, however, there was one that struck me particularly. The writer of the email told me I will be prayed for and he hoped that I will have the same experiences of Saul in Acts 9.

If you haven’t read the New Testament, Acts 9 tells of Saul, a persecutor of the Jews during the early age of the church and how he was stopped in the middle of the road one day by the image of Jesus.

Jesus told him to stop killing the Jews and convert. Saul, who became Paul, did, of course. Who wouldn’t do something a sudden celestial being advises you do?

It’s an interesting myth. I recommend that everyone gives it a read.

Really, I recommend everyone actually give the entire Bible a read through. It’s a great piece

of literature.

But while the story of Paul is an interesting myth, it’s a false comparison to me. Especially the part about persecuting Jews.

Does the gentleman who sent me that email really think I’m out to hunt down the religious? This brings me to the point of this week’s column.

If you are religious, know that I have no problem with you. I have no care for the religious per se.

What you worship or believe has very little direct influence on me and therefore I have no reason to do anything against you. It is religion I loathe, not the religious.

To me, a Christian is no different than any other person I see on the street. Nor is any particular Jew or Muslim or Hindi, etc.

As a libertarian, I live by the non-aggression principle. That means I strive to follow the ideal that I should never initiate violence or harm upon anyone. I should never aggress against anyone. I should never attack anyone.

So, I don’t. Never intentionally, anyway.

When I attack religion as an institution, it is not an attack on the followers of that religion. Individuals are allowed to do whatever they like, so long as it doesn’t inflict harm or violence upon me.

Any given Christian is hardly going to attack me on the street [I don’t believe so anyway], so I have no reason to strike out against them. Christianity, however, is a system which does directly harm me just by being in existence. According to the doctrines of the religion, my being a gay anarchistic individualistic atheist is a sin. It’s a threat against many beliefs within the Church and vice versa.

But until a Christian puts his or her hands on me, I have no reason to ever harm them.

I am not Saul. I do not wish to persecute anyone. I just wish to shed light on the foulness of religion.

I’m glad to get the opportunity to clarify.

Keep emailing me and let’s keep the dialogue going.

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