I used to be very non-religious. I thought that to believe or not, just didn’t matter. I would not have called me an atheist though. To me atheism is a form of religion: The religion of no God.

Most atheists are in fact merely dividing belief systems: Their own, which often are held for impartial, and others, which are called religion. Here in Sweden, movements like “Humanisterna” (The humanists) try to change the society and our culture solely according to their beliefs. They work against people expressing their religiosity if those expressions do not conform to their own – religious – beliefs.

I think that people are free to believe in the nearest lamppost, if that will help them. I would (and still do) consider it wrong to tell them not to. I do not approve when people impose their belief system on others. This is precisely what many atheists is trying to do: Only secular ethics and morality matters; No religion in politics; No homeschooling, no religious “free schools” or even religious education in schools, etcetera. They seem to say that religion shouldn’t have impact on anybodies life.

Well, for billions of people, letting God matter is exactly what it’s all about. I – both earlier as a non believer and now as a Christian – believe we do have a free will. No matter what the actual truth about God is, we have a right to choose and I think that this choice has an impact on our souls and therefore must impact the way we will live our lives. To be religious is a way of living. It’s not only theories about an afterlife.

Don’t get me wrong: To me religious freedom doesn’t mean that all religions are right: – Only that everybody is free to choose wrongly.

A short time ago I listened to a discussion where a person felt bad because he had to listen to religious songs during Christmas. For me this is almost a fanatic point of view. As a Catholic I do not get offended by listening to people expressing their beliefs. I like stories about Viking mythology and I enjoy hearing the Islamic muezzins calling out for prayer. Why, then, anybody should be offended by similar Christian expressions, I do not understand.

When I was young and the school visited a Jewish mass, I was not offended; as a non-Christian visiting church as the end of the semester, it was not offending; when I visited churches on different family occasions, I did not partake in the Eucharist. I did not worship God: – I was merely participating in traditions. Being offended by the Christian impact on Scandinavian culture is like being offended by the fact that the world didn’t start the day I was born. It’s plain stupid. Eliminating Christianity out of our culture is using the same logic as the ones who blew up the giant Buddha statues. Religious symbols and traditions are part of our heritage and culture. If you don’t believe in them, don’t worship them, it’s as easy as that.

That some people don’t like Christianity is one thing, but to be offended by it is strange to me. Sometimes I hear people blame Christianity for the wrongdoings of different individuals, but that’s like blaming money if someone got killed in a robbery. Even the popes are only human. We all commit sins. God’s kingdom is not yet here on earth. Deal with it.

So, when people are talking about religion and politics, the distinction that atheism is a religion is interesting. Both religion and politics handle the ethics of our lives and if you rule out everything that isn’t from a secular point of view – What are you left with? Impartial truths? Probably not. Saying that only secular ideas should be allowed in politics is like saying that only Islam or Christianity should have an impact. It’s impossible to divide religion and politics; it’s something every society will have to live with. Instead we should prepare room for each another.

So you probably, just as me, believe in some form of lamppost, most people do. It’s either that or nihilism. Well, I too believe in a lamppost, I chose the biggest and brightest I could find.

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