COLUMN: Don’t misjudge free thinkers; Atheists have feelings, too

Allison Pritchard

We all sympathize with victims of Jewish persecution during the holocaust and the murdering of Christians in earlier times, but almost no one acknowledges the struggles and discrimination against those who don’t believe religious texts are valid forms of truth.

Nonreligious citizens in this “Christian” nation (which claims to be unbiased toward any religion) are often ostracized because questioning religion is unpopular these days. (Much like questioning Hitler was unpopular in holocaust Germany or questioning that the world was flat in earlier days.) Society won’t acknowledge that the freedom exists beyond living life by an ancient book.

You would think the believers would have the burden of proving that eating the “body” of their beloved savior or not eating meat on Fridays has a point – not the other way around.

Some hear the word “atheist,” and a gothic, animal-sacrificing devil-worshiper comes to mind. That is not an accurate depiction of the typical nonbeliever. Most are regular people who want the same things as everyone else in life.

Agnostic/atheist celebrities include: Lance Armstrong, Uma Thurman, Jack Nicholson, Angelina Jolie, Woody Allen, Jeneane Garofalo, Keanu Reeves, Jodie Foster, Katharine Hepburn, Dave Matthews, Sean Penn and hundreds more, according to

When someone reveals that they don’t believe the stories their parents told them, others often frown. They look down on the nonbeliever or feel sorry for him. The stigma can be similar to that of a gay person coming out.

Atheists don’t hate God. They simply think there isn’t enough evidence to prove that God exists. I don’t think Santa Claus exists, but I don’t hate him. In fact, if he were real, I would love that fat bastard.

In fact, many freethinkers strongly support many of Jesus’ main messages: Be kind to your neighbor, etc. Unlike evangelists, most nonbelievers don’t try to “convert” people. Agnostics believe it’s impossible for humans to have absolute knowledge of the unknowable. They simply need more than passed-down stories to accept everything they hear.

Many people have the misconception that people need religion to be moral. Many of the freethinkers I know participate less in “immoral” acts than the religious people I know. According to, atheists and agnostics have a lower divorce rate than almost every religion, especially lower than conservative Christians.

Freethinkers do good deeds solely to be kind, or for social reasons; they don’t act nice just so they may be rewarded with clouds and angels from a book. Some may consider freethinkers even more moral because they choose their own morals out of their compassion and understanding. They don’t consider keeping someone from marrying a moral value.

Some wrongly claim that without a higher power, freethinkers must have no hope for humanity. Freethinkers can be admirable advocates of human rights and social action. The American Humanist Association is a “religion” for atheists and agnostics who want to work together to lead ethical lives and help promote the greater good of humanity.

I simply ask you today to quit judging those around you.

Leave the judging to a higher power – if there is one.

Allison Pritchard is a junior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].