As an atheist many people think I am anti-religion but really it just means I do not believe in deity worship or organized religion. I can easily see other life in other planets, other universes but the idea of a singular, or even multi, "higher being" and all the rules that man makes to justify how this, or these, deities need to be worshiped that just doesn't mean anything to me. I find no comfort or need for that kind of being in my own life. The other thing people think when they hear I am atheist, is that it means I do not believe in having scruples. Actually it is my deep conviction that we should treat one another and our planet, and the other parts of space, with respect and kindness and worry about continuously improving life not only as we have it but for those long after we have been gone that was part of how I came to be an atheist. I found no doctrine that did that even though they all claim to. There are a few more clarifications that I feel as an atheist that I need to get out there as there seems to be lots of confusion.
First of all you do not have to whisper or ask me to whisper that I am an ATHEIST. It is not an admission that I have ritual slayings in my house -- the irony of having ritual anything is not lost on me. I am not a satanist either, I know but really I have gotten asked, I do believe people choose either through conscious decision or mental illness to do things we can all agree to call evil (genocide, anything to do with harming living children, serial killers, torture -- yeah we are on same page). I do not hate religions, I just cannot agree with the many ways they are used to negatively judge others for things that some man at some point in time decreed he did not agree with or worse to justify those things I deemed evil before. I understand their purpose and if you get comfort from them or find the need to connect with your heritage with them well then that is what you need - doesn't make it wrong or right it makes it your opinion.
Of the many historical religious figures, after much research, I find that Jesus is my favorite. Oddly enough not because I believe he was the son of a god but because I believe he wasn't. It is almost easier to be a better than the average person if you are a deity. It is hard to be a leader and ask that all people are treated well if you are not.
Jesus who all religions acknowledge lived was a simple man who asked of all those who followed him to be kind to others, to give to those in need if you have more than you need. He was able to treat Mary Magdalene with the same respect by all counts that he treated Judas, and we know who betrayed him. Yet he did not judge Judas either.
I find myself wondering as many around the world celebrate the holiday that really defines them as Christians, the horrific torture and death of a man who until the end chose not give up his hopes for the better in humanity even when they displayed the worst, how do so many use his name as justification to be more like those who nailed him to a cross?
Jesus - what would Jesus do when laws are made that disempower those who had very little to begin with ? what would Jesus do when women are treated as there for the taking by men or told to cover up because they inherently are too sexually powerful and men cannot "help" themselves? what would Jesus do when the planet he thought a higher being created is not treated with the care and polluted at will? what would Jesus do when people are discriminated against for just being themselves (note to all things like the fact that we look different, homosexuality all came before the whole religion thing)?
I do not know what he would do but based on all that is written about him, and there is loads, I would like to think that this atheist understands he would be more about forgiving and accepting than brandishing hate. I would like to think that as I always cry seeing him and the others carrying their crosses, being whipped, being tortured that we learned from that not that it is acceptable to have others crucified but that in what appear to be his final words the word "forgiveness" is prominent with acceptance.
For all the religions out there one person seems to be woven into all of them, some who believe will see this as divine connection, for others like me it will reaffirm my belief in people. That most of us are good and that is why the one man who spoke of this appears in all of them.
What would Jesus do ? Probably just ask us to stop and think of that in terms of doing right by others.