I love news articles where reporters write about how atheists exist in their region!. They’re always so surprised…
In Modesto, California, reporter Sue Nowicki spoke to a number of atheists about their beliefs.
Whether stable or shrinking, it’s clear that atheists are an overwhelming minority, and area atheists say there are several misconceptions about their beliefs. Several strongly make the point that they are not satanists, immoral or dumb. Those who spoke with The Bee range in age from 20s to 60s and from business owners to blue-collar workers. They’d like faith groups, especially Christians, to be more tolerant of their views.
At least the stories are interesting.
Mary Brush, a Modesto resident and teacher, 53, traces her atheist roots to her childhood in a Catholic home. “I went to catechism classes, but I gave my mother so much grief, I didn’t take confirmation in eighth grade. The nuns frightened me. They really made me afraid of dying. I thought I’d go to hell.”
Biblical accounts added to her doubts. “The stories sounded a little too fantastical to me,” she said. “It didn’t seem to go with reality. Over the many years, I’ve had (religious) friends and have gone to church and tried to pray. It just didn’t work for me. I’m more of a scientist at heart; science works for me.”
She said, though, that she’s “mellowed over the years. I used to be more militant. I believe if (religion) helps people get by in life, that’s OK. I can see how prayer can be important in other people’s lives. I think it’s helped a lot of alcoholics and people on drugs, people in hard circumstances.”
Brush wants people of faith to know: “I’m a good person. Just because you don’t have a belief in God doesn’t mean you’re not a good person. I’d like a little more tolerance.”
Of course, the picture accompanying the article shows the one person interviewed who doesn’t believe in god, but “has an altar where she occasionally practices pagan rituals”…
That said, good for those atheists interviewed for coming out and allowing their names to be used.
The more atheists who follow their example, the easier it becomes for everybody else.