In the Company of “Nones”
What do I have in common with Richard Branson, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Edison, and possibly Ernest Hemingway?
I kid myself that the first word that sprung in your mind was “genius”, but if you look at my grades at school, clearly you’d be mistaken.
What we do share is a lack of belief in the existence of deities.
“All thinking men are atheists”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Whilst I cannot speak for any of them, do understand that it is an uncomfortable position to take.
Fortunately I live in a country where atheists are tolerated, but throughout history, people have been persecuted just as much for their lack of belief as their beliefs. Atheists are the heathens, the immorals, the sinners, the blasphemers, the unbelievers. Even in the 21st Century, there are some countries that inflict severe punishment on non-believers including lashings, life imprisonment and even death. In the “Land of the Free”, seven “Bible Belt” US states ban atheists from holding public office. Few politicians will ever proclaim their atheism, since in many countries, this is political suicide. Discrimination against atheism exists, but is often ignored.
On a more personal level, I have never felt comfortable telling people my beliefs. To be honest, I have struggled with my beliefs my entire life. I was brought up in a household where religion played no part. My boarding school was historically a place for sons of the clergy. I was forced to attend church every morning. I actually liked it. I embraced the good messages I read, and at 18, I even decided to get baptized, not because I believed, but because I wanted to believe. I had classmates that spoke in tongues. We’d argue constantly about the existence of God. I wanted them to convince me.
And then I enter my professional life. For years it was a constant battle. It was not that I needed proof of the existence of an Almighty. It was more that there appeared to be more evidence of the lack of existence of an Almighty.
I turn you over to the English comedian, actor, author, Stephen Fry in this short and controversial interview. It is worth seeing just to see the priceless reaction of the host.
I am perhaps a “None”. “Nones” consist of atheists, agnostics, and the unaffiliated.
Do not be condescending. Do not be patronizing. Do not condemn us.
Just because we do not believe in a God, does not mean we don’t believe in Good.
We respect your beliefs, each and every one of you.
Please respect ours.
Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment
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