By Shellie Adams, Staff Commentary
I don't consider myself to be a religious person. In fact, I have been the butt of jokes because I am so "non-religious." I was once asked how I had any friends if I wasn't a religious person. The person asking this ignorant question implied that those who do not openly practice religion we do not have morals or values either.
When people refer to themselves as Christians, or members of any religion, certain connotations go along with this title, having morals and deep values being only a few. When I saw a recent Oregonian article about a Portland church marquee that read "God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians," I was enlightened about how many people hide behind their religion and use it as a way to compensate for their not-so-religious behavior.
We all know that one person who claims to belong to a religion but really doesn't follow through with the expectations that go along with said religion. Belonging to a religion has so many positive connotations, which leads me to believe people say they belong to a religion just to have those positive overtones reflect on them as a person.
That's the problem.
It's a problem because belonging to a religion has been stereotyped into meaning that you are a good person and have good values, which isn't always the case.
This is why I found the statement on the marquee so intriguing. I really thought it was great that a pastor would put such a controversial statement on the reader board of his church. The quote is saying that God would love a nice atheist over a person who claims to be Christian but doesn't live their life this way. It just goes to show that with the changing views of people in today's society the idea that all people who belong to a religion may not be as "religious" as they claim.
This statement plays on the idea that God loves everyone, but prefers someone who is kind and doesn't believe in God over someone who believes in God but is hateful towards others. This is a powerful statement and I hope it reminds Christians and anyone who belongs to a religion about what it means to be religious and what it means to live by your values.
Furthermore, with the changing times, people are starting to realize that you don't have to belong to a religion to be a nice person and a beneficial member to society.
The bottom line is that while there are many religious people in the world who lead their lives based on religious beliefs and the values and morals that go along with that, there are people who use religion as a crutch to come off as a good person, when in reality their actions say otherwise. I applaud the pastor who put this quote on the reader board of his church, and I truly hope that it serves as a reminder of the true meaning of religion.