Sometimes we need to look past our religious differences in order to promote social justice

Sometimes we need to look past our religious differences in order to promote social justice September 4, 2015

Many atheists (myself included) enjoy arguing over religion. While I think civil disagreements are great, there is certainly a time and a place for them. John Beckett recently wrote a great article explaining (among other things) how “we can’t let our differences get in the way of doing what must be done.” I agree it can be silly to argue over minor religious differences when there are so many problems in our world.

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I’m an atheist, but I have no problem working with plenty of religious people in my activism work. Because I live in the the buckle of the Bible Belt, I don’t particularly have a choice either. However, our religious differences are never an issue because we understand that there are so many more pressing problems that we need to fix in our state. In fact, my first experience in politics where I testified against an anti-abortion bill was prompted by knowing some people from Catholics for Choice. I could have avoided this group because they had “Catholic” in their name, but they turned out to be super nice people that were very helpful in getting me started in politics. If I only worked with atheists, I simply wouldn’t be able to get much done.

Disagreement can be a wonderful opportunity for us to learn from each other, but it’s really important to pick our battles. Sometimes we need to take a break from arguing about religion if there are bigger fish to fry. Yes, religion can cause harm, but there are many instances that we can work with our religious allies to accomplish common goals. Why alienate potential allies with unnecessary conflict?

Finally, if those with religious differences work together for a common goal, they can help break stereotypes, which makes it easier to have discussions about religion later on. Again, sometimes religion does play a large role in social problems and we need to be able to talk to each other about it. It’s important to take the occasional break from arguing about god’s existence when we have the opportunity to work together and make this world a friendlier place.


Featured image from Flickr

 

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