My daughter Brittany wrote this on one of her friends’ Facebook status this evening after he announced that he had decided that he is an atheist. This is what religion looks like when it is non-toxic, and I could not have said this better myself:
Everyone that knows me at all knows I am a devout Christ-follower, but here is my opinion in this matter. I believe that my God is a God of love, compassion, and mercy. I believe that the word “religion” can put a bad reputation on those seeking a true relationship with God and that “religious” people should simply just be let to believe. I believe that He loves everyone, including people of other religions and those of no religion, no matter what and I find immense peace in that. All that being said, I love [person’s name] with all of my heart. [Person’s name], you are one of my truest and most dearly loved friends and I support you in whatever you decide is right for you. Yes, it does sadden me that you have chosen this path, but I have neither lost respect for you nor am I going to try to change your mind. Nobody really should. Like I said earlier, believers should be free to believe without the stereotype that all of us are in-your-face, trying to change your life, Bible-thumpers. On the other side, Atheists should be allowed to not believe without the stereotype of being immoral and ignorant. Both sides can be immoral and ignorant and frankly both sides have done their fair share of being arrogant. People have free will to do, think, and believe what they will. This should be allowed to go on without all of the arguing and bickering between “religions.” Because in the end, we are all just people.