Sunday, July 21, 2013

Atheists are sincere

I really appreciate my wife’s very open-minded and tolerant views. She knows that my beliefs are important to me and sincere, and respects them as such, just as I respect her views in the same way. She’s a great example for other Mormons, especially in view of Mormon dogma that often casts doubt on the sincerity of other belief systems. When Joseph Smith asked God which Christian sect was right:

“... the Personage who addressed me said that ... those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me...’” (JS-H 1:19).

The professors were insincere: their “hearts,” or desires, weren't really for God; and corrupt, meaning that they were willing to be dishonest for personal gain.

The Book of Mormon implies that its only atheist, Korihor, is equally insincere. He eventually admits that he “always knew that there was a God” (Alma 30:53). I hope that Mormons don’t apply that to modern atheists like myself.

After years of study and serious consideration, when I tell people I’m atheist I’m occasionally told that “people usually just believe what they want to believe,” as if atheism was a conclusion I wanted to reach for some reason. It wasn’t. I can respect that religious beliefs are genuine and important to their adherents, and I just hope that they can give me that same level of respect.

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