I believe some clarifications are in order regarding my most recent letter to the editor published in the Brandon Sun on May 14. When writing in regards to civil society that religion should be accepted and tolerated I should have elaborated. Acceptance being that members of civil society that congregate and associate in their respective theological groups do exist.
Religion has a rather malicious and capricious side to it but its existence is not solely for those means. As a former Christian I too once entertained more radical notions but as an atheist, an apostate if you will, I recognize that religion is a powerful force in society just simply one I know longer believe in. Religion’s existence is determined by its followers continuity of belief, that is what is to be accepted, not the faith itself. I would never endorse any faith only that its existence be accepted.
The diversity of our civil society is something to have pride in. Difference and divergence allow us to construct new world views, ideas and understandings. Many times in the classroom I find myself at odds with fellow students in debate but I cordially thank them for giving myself the chance to critically analyze my own positions and theirs, to grow intellectually and to be pragmatic.
I will never be an apologist for religion but I will not take up the stance of anti-theism. Theism is a choice just like atheism and to support liberty and freedom as I displayed in the previous letter, I must secure not only the positions I hold but those held by my fellow citizens within the bounds of our nation’s constitution. The crucible of upholding liberty and freedom is not only defending your values but the rights of others to hold theirs too with respect and dignity.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” — Nelson Mandela.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 28, 2014