Atheists: The Fourth Estate of Religion

I’d never want to live in a world without Atheists.

It’s a thankless job, but they do it with passion.

Because of my newspaper background, I recently made the connection. And if you re-frame it that way, Atheists are doing us all a free public service.

Thank them!

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Fourth Estate,” it’s a nickname given to the press. The idea is to be a watchdog, holding elected officials and The Powers that Be accountable. To defend.

Why are so many believers threatened by them? If you’re strong in your faith, a few questions shouldn’t harm you.

Either state why you believe, or agree to disagree.

Since they don’t believe in God, they make things happen. They don’t take anything for granted.

Their minds are always working. They invent things. They ask questions no one else dares.

They’re aggressive, yes. But they’re just doing their job– don’t take it personally.

Everyone needs to be held accountable, even God.

Not everything about religion is good.

And you can be a believer and still think for yourself.

A faith journey isn’t static– it’s dynamic. It’s constantly evolving.

I’m glad Atheists exist, and I welcome them in my life.

They teach me to be open-minded. They are kind. They are fierce.

They get things done.

They do have faith, in their own way. They are self-reliant. They have faith in logic and science.

That’s something I admire.

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After Mass: On Religion, Love, and the Gift of Faith

During Mass today, I realized what it’s about. Why I go.

Why we put up with all the idiosyncrasies of religion– the demands, the divisiveness.

We do it to be part of something bigger than ourselves. To share our lives in the midst of chaos and find a still point.

We do it to admit, “I need help. I can’t do do this alone.”

Admitting we need help is the hardest thing for most humans to do. We want to be self-reliant, we want to be okay, no matter what.

I love my church, because during peace, people walk around with open arms. They shake your hand, look you in the eye, smile.

My parents are local, and I enjoy seeing them. However, I don’t have siblings, and my family lives out of state. So I do feel lonely at times.

But in this church, I get hugs, just like I do with my family. And although there are still a lot of things I’m figuring out about my life, this church makes me feel anchored. Singing songs of praise makes me feel anchored. We spend the week busy, scrambling to get things done– we deserve to rest and just be thankful for what God has given us! To stand with others and testify that yes, we’re glad to be standing here, together. The services in my church usually run two hours– and I love that! At other churches, they are usually only 45 minutes to an hour, and everyone usually rushes right out after Holy Communion, and barely talks at all if they do stay. People in this church linger. A few times a month, they head into the parish hall for coffee. There’s no rush, they want to meet you, get to know you.

That makes me feel so happy. It’s just a simple church– and that’s why I like it. It’s not high-falutin’, it’s not about artifice.

It’s just about love, service, and appreciation.

Knowing that a family is depending on me to bring them Holy Communion anchors me.

I know that I can’t live my life alone, and that I’m never alone.

I’m learning that God is more than Bible verses and dogma. It’s more than prayer and Confession.

God is truly very basic.

God is a secure feeling of love.

God is a warmth in your heart that says, “Go ahead, you don’t have to be scared. I’m with you.”

God is the absolute confirmation that all you are, and all you haven’t been– is enough, because you’re doing the best you can.

And mostly, God is feeling so overwhelmed with that truth that all you want to do is share it with others.

And not by conversion– but by acceptance. By example. By trusting.

Be kind. Forgive. Help, with no expectations or conditions.

I feel God with me today. It’s an incredible lightness, to help us float through the storm.

We don’t need to know where we’re going or why– only that we’re on the right path.