Walks slowly across the empty stage to the microphone.
Ahem. (Taps microphone a few times)
Is this thing on?
I know I’m probably talking to an empty room. It’s been a while, you know, since I’ve last said anything here, and many may have given up. That’s OK, I don’t blame you. It’s like checking out a book and seeing a bunch of blank pages. Who wants to do that?
But I’m here, today, with my Christmas list. Well, more like my Christmas wish. It’s just one thing, really, but it’a a pretty big one.
My wish this year is that we all stop caring. Not about our neighbors, not about our families, not about causes that seem dear to us and make a difference. No, we should continue to care about those things with all that we have.
My wish is that we all stop caring about our differences.
I am a Christian, and a fairly intelligent person. There. I said it. I have a strong faith in God, but I haven’t been to church in several years because I have a real problem with the hypocrisy of religion. That whole, “Love thy neighbor, except not that one, or that one, or that one, and only that one if he changes his ways” thing really turns me off.
I have friends – very good friends – all along the religious spectrum: Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindu, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, and some I know I haven’t listed here. Each of them has a belief system that is just as meaningful to them as mine is to me. That, to me, is a wonderful thing. I don’t judge them, or point fingers and tell them they’re wrong because, well, I don’t know who is wrong, or if any of us are. They’re called “belief systems” for a reason: We believe. In something. Or in nothing. And that’s our choice.
I don’t normally use this space – when I do use this space – to preach or try to change people’s minds about anything. And, really, I don’t want to change anyone’s mind today, either. Just their behavior.
As a former religion reporter, I met people from all kinds of backgrounds. I remember doing one story on an atheist event, and then going to church the day after the story appeared in the paper. One of my friends – a good friend – mentioned the photo that went with the story, and told me he could tell that person was an atheist because “there’s such a vacancy in their eyes, there’s nothing there.”
I was taken aback. This source – a woman – was one of the most vibrant, alive people I know. She’s full of life and charm and concern for her fellow man. But because she was labeled “atheist,” my other friend saw something different. Something that just wasn’t true.
I’ve seen atheist friends question the intelligence of Christians on social media, comparing the belief in God to a belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, or indicating that anyone with a brain wouldn’t believe in “the fairy tale” of Christianity.
It’s insulting. It’s divisive. And it’s not what we need.
So here’s my wish: Stop caring about what someone else’s belief system is. Stop condemning entire groups of people based on the actions of a few. Stop saying atheists are “soulless,” or that Christians and Jews who believe in God are “idiots.” Stop believing all Muslims are “terrorists.”
Just … stop.
(Exits stage left)