Writings

It’s time to stand against religion before it’s too late

About three months ago, I had a conversation with someone about religion. I told this person about another conversation I had with a friend about the dark and dangerous turn America has taken. My friend remarked they were ready to leave the country permanently if the loud minority of conservative evangelical Christians get to have everything they want.

My friend worried these Christian Nationalists would come for people like me and him. I, too, have had these worries for quite some time. We’ve seen it time and again with authoritarian regimes. The intellectuals, the educated, the atheists, anyone who stands counter to what they demand are rounded up and executed.

I told the person I was having a conversation with there was still hope in the back of my mind that Americans would rise up against Christian Nationalism, but I’m not entirely sure this will happen. I also mentioned I do not like Christianity nor many of its adherents. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I wish I didn’t, but I do.

I have been struggling for some time with how to overcome this dislike of loud-mouthed fools and whether I should even try. I’ve avoided writing about it because Scottsbluff, Nebraska is a small town. People talk. I talk to few people to begin with and have even fewer true friends.

My struggle has been a near-constant inner turmoil over what to say and how to say it. Since that conversation in November 2021, I have continued to wrestle with my conscience. I want to be true to myself without lashing out against Christianity, but it is the very faith which is dominant in America and is trying to control all aspects of life, public and private. The intent is to force everyone to their way of thinking. No one, not Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or any other beliefs not specifically attuned to their narrow-minded morality is safe.

Over the past few weeks, there have been other atheists who have been questioning the same issues and conflicts I’ve been dealing with internally. It has caused my anxiety over the issue to be alleviated enough to try and make my views clear.

My life in evangelical Christianity was one built on fear and shame. It’s what held me in religion for a long time. The shame induced on me when I was a christian still lingers decades after I left religion behind.

Not only did I identify with a post on Reddit about this exact topic, it made me feel less alone. The name of the post was “I am genuinely terrified about the future of the US as an Atheist, especially with an understanding of human history and the role of religion in tragedies.” Before I could read the post or the comments, I sat back in my computer chair and took a deep breath. There mere asking of this question hit me hard. It was validation I was not the only person who had these fears and I might not be irrational as the person I had been conversing with made me feel.


Throughout the comments on the post, everyone is struggling with what to do from a red state to a blue state simply enough? Should we leave the country? How exactly can we fight back? Is donating to the Freedom from Religion Foundation and The Satanic Temple enough?

Another thread discussed the worries atheists have about a possible christian theocracy in America, while trying to counterbalance it with statistics which show fewer people identify as religious each year. While the statistics are true, our entire political system has been gerrymandered for several decades to the point that the minority are ruling this country and that minority is increasingly filled with people who believe in Christian Nationalism.

While the statistics are encouraging, the truth is, Christian Nationalists, who are predominantly republican, won’t stop with just winning at the federal, state, and local level. They will use their leverage to push their agenda for as long as they can.

Will it be enough to sit and wait for the numbers of people who don’t believe in a god to continue to grow more than they are now? In the meantime, what does that mean?

It means political candidates can say rape victims shouldn’t have abortions. It means Roe v. Wade will continue to be chipped away and overturned. It means banning contraception, revoking same-sex marriage and the continual erosion of voting rights.

With the current political and cultural climate, there are many atheists who are not comfortable telling others about their lack of belief in fairytales. A friend of mine told me last year she thought it was brave of me to admit I was an atheist as well as be as outspoken as I am because she knows several atheists in the Scottsbluff area who cannot speak up. Maybe it’s because I’m not originally from here, but I don’t think what you believe should matter over what kind of person you are.

This all brings me back to my utter disdain toward people who identify as christian. There is zero evidence a god exists. If a Jesus even existed, he certainly was no god and performed no miracles. Yet people continue to believe lies because they won’t even read or study their own religious texts.

Isaac Asimov was quoted in Newsweek in 1980 saying, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” He was right then. He’s right now.

We have to constantly fight against this ignorance even as it seemingly grows in America. I don’t want to leave this country, but we can’t allow things to continue as they are. These people have been working for decades to put themselves in positions of power in order to control their version of belief.

Once they finish, they will control the school boards to the Supreme Court and who’s to say your brand of Christianity is the brand that will prevail? Who’s to say your voice will be heard once the Christian Nationalists obtain the power they are seeking?

Religion is a tool of control. It always has been. The sooner we all admit it’s made up bullshit, the sooner we can begin to work together to make the world a better place. I’ve only got about 50 years left on this rock and I’d rather spend it making things better than looking over my shoulder wondering when a “friend” will betray me and I’ll disappear.

I will respect your right to believe whatever you want, just don’t expect me to respect that belief or adhere to that beliefs set of made up rules.

I will continue to struggle not to be an ass. I can do apologetics with the best of them, but I don’t really want to. My goal in life is not to make another person feel like they are garbage, but it’s getting more difficult to be polite.

Take off the blinders and see how Christianity does more harm than good. The current form of Christian Nationalism has put that harm on full display. It’s time to stop talking like a child, stop thinking like a child, stop reasoning like a child and put the ways of childhood fairytales behind. Everything else puts on the path we’re headed toward right now and I have little faith many of you would stand up for me or defend me when the Christian Nationalists are in power.

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2 Comments

  1. I too have struggled with this. I was raised Catholic by my mother, but my dad was agnostic, so I grew up with both in my head, although my dad didn’t talk about his position at all that I can remember. I’m atheist now, and I too worry about where the USA is headed, and whether those of us who do not subscribe to Christian Nationalism will survive, and how. Thank you for writing this so I know I’m not the only one (I know I’m not but it often feels like it!).

    • Irene

      It’s really hard to not feel like you are the only one, especially when so many disregard the danger and think it can’t happen here. Now that I’ve taken this first step, I’m probably going to write more, especially since I think we need to talk more about the issue.

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