We need respect from religion

Illustration by Jaida Noble | Religion is seen here as a set of ads constantly being flashed to you.

As an atheist among the religious, I’m tired of the lack of respect.

“I still hold you up to God every day.” This is a quote from a birthday card that my sister received. I’ve received similar quotes from family members as well. 

Though the words in the cards are meant to be kind, I’m really tired of hearing things similar to the message in my sister’s card. I’ve been told that I have no morals or that I’m a bad person because I don’t believe in a god or a higher being. 

I do my best to not offend people who are religious, but that respect isn’t given to me. When people find out I’m not spiritual, they immediately think less of me. People have tried to tell me that I’ll change my mind and that I’ll grow into religion.

I don’t rub my lack of religion in anyone’s face. Why is it so hard for people to do the same? I don’t want to be told that Jesus loves me. I don’t want to hear that I’m going to hell. Quite honestly, it offends me that even my own family, some of whom are religious, can’t respect the fact that I am not. 

Sometimes I feel as if I am at a breaking point because I keep being pressured to become religious without a thought as to how I might feel about this pressure.

It is everywhere. Every single day I am inundated with messages about God and how I should believe in something. 

It’s like seeing an advertisement for a product, every day. There’s nothing you can do about seeing it; it just continues to be shown to you and people talk and gush about it. The ad is for a product you don’t need or even want to buy. When you try to communicate this with those around you who like the ad, you are made to be the one offending them and you become ostracized.

This is incredibly similar to how it feels to be nonreligious in a society fueled by piety and run by devout people. 

It’s not even a choice; not a conscious one at least. I’ve just never felt like there was a god of any type. None of it has ever really made sense to me and that’s okay. 

I was raised around religion. Though my parents aren’t religious, I am Jewish and we went to synagogue for a few years. I’ve read the Bible and the Torah and was in Sunday school during the time I went to synagogue. 

But, I’ve just never felt like I could believe in any religion so I classify myself as an atheist. 

Religion is okay. I don’t hold it against anyone who believes in any religion. But it isn’t for everyone and we should respect that.

Our First Amendment protects our freedom of religion. Some may not like it but this includes freedom from religion.

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