March 24, 2015

How Will Atheists Treat Christians in the Future?

the-future-next-exitDear Christians,

If Christianity and other religions continue to decline in the U.S., as some are predicting and as has already happened in many Western nations, we could eventually reach the point where there are more atheists than Christians. Gasp! This will not happen in our lifetimes, so there is no need for you to worry about that. But it could be a reality for your descendants at some point. And if it is, I sincerely hope that the atheists of the future treat Christians far better than many of your contemporary Christians treat atheists today.

I hope that future atheists will not raise their children to hate Christians. I hope that they will not demonize future Christians merely for holding different beliefs, characterizing them as immoral. I hope that they will not kick their own children out of their homes for daring to have Christian beliefs. I hope that they will not consistently elect representatives who restrict the rights of future Christians on the basis of any sort of secular dogma. In short, I hope they will treat these future Christians far better than today's Christians have been treating us.

In your own lifetimes, you have witnessed a tremendous shift in attitudes toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. While equality under the law remains elusive, few doubt that it is coming. You have seen some of your fellow Christians change their minds on same-sex marriage and at least begin the process of abandoning bigotry against LGBT persons. If you are old enough, you may have even witnessed something similar happen with regard to African Americans in general and interracial marriage in particular.

This sort of shift may take longer when it comes to atheists, in part because we have been so much less effective in advocating for ourselves than most other groups. But it will come.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could honestly say that you were on the right side of history? By starting the process of setting aside bigoted attitudes toward atheists, you can contribute to a better future. If doing the right thing is not sufficiently compelling for you, consider doing so for the sake of your descendants.

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