I don’t know if it’s the same in other countries, but American conversations will, at some point, circle around to faith. Not all American conversations, of course, but it seems to be a recurring theme in the conversations I’ve been having lately (and I’m not always the one to bring it up).
Aamba wrote about religion and atheism a few days ago, and then an atheist friend of mine posted this link:
Personally, I’m cool with whatever you believe, as long as you’re an ethical, moral person. I need a belief system, partially because I do find myself in conversation about religion on a fairly regular basis. However, it doesn’t seem to be a necessary route to a solid set of morals and good personal ethics. How many of those responsible for the mortgage crisis attend religious services regularly?
Wherever your beliefs come from, the most important thing is to think about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and consider the moral and ethical implications to all persons involved before acting.
The article makes another comment, which I find particularly relevant:
And studies of apostates — people who were religious but later rejected their religion — report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives.
They don’t mention that apostates can also be people who’ve rejected their religion in favor of another I know this is true for me. I think that this is basically a person making their own decisions and knowing why they make those decisions, regardless of whether they choose a new religion or give up religious practice altogether. That can be the case for somebody who is devout in a faith they’ve had since birth, as long as that faith encourages questioning and intellectual thought.
And if you are religious? Chances are, your religion teaches tolerance and love, and you should probably accept folks who don’t believe in the same things you believe in (this is one of the major reasons Sanatana Dharma appeals to me – I am a firm believer in letting moral, ethical people believe or not believe in whatever works for them).