It seems a common denominator for most religions to, in one breath, preach that we should love our neighbor but then in practice more often than not demonstrate intolerance, or even hatred of people who believe in anything else, prefer to live some other lifestyle.
When I was first learning to ride a first motorcycle i had a guy teaching me & giving me pointers. We had a fairly good friendship going. Then one day he sent me a preachy bit of spam email. I wrote him back and gently let him know I’m not a Christian and do not appreciate such emails. He fired back an attack against me–told me I was un-American, unpatriotic, and he had no desire whatsoever to have dealings with “people like me.”
Unpatriotic? Our country was founded by Deists who believed in freedom, the separation of church and state. Freedom to practice or not to practice, any belief or non-belief. The “In God We trust” and “Unto God” in our pledge of allegiance didn’t even exist prior to the 1950’s; they only came to be as a result of the anti-communist movement. They did not represent our country prior to the 1950’s and they do not represent the United States now.
This has always been a secular nation, not a Christian nation. It belongs and is inhabited and cherished by people of many faiths, or none at all. And we are all just as American, just as likely to be patriotic.
I know it’s hard for people to fathom this, but atheists go to other countries and help the poor too. Atheists give to charity groups and help during crisis. too. And they do it not to please a god or to gain points in heaven. They do it because it feels good to be caring and kind, and compassionate. I have friends who are Christian, Buddhist and Wiccan. I see them all as wonderful people I care for very much. I don’t see them as broken, or incomplete, or as it being my job to fix them because they don’t believe what I do. What religion they choose to believe in has nothing to do with why I like them or what makes them great to know.
I wish more people could see people for what’s in their heart, rather than what books they carry around or read from.