Inside L-S: Atheist label does not reflect views of all who do not label themselves "Christian"

In a school with a large Fellowship of Christian Students club, situated in a community both of churches that date back to the 1700s and the Amish, one of the most devout conservative groups on Earth, it can sometimes be hard to imagine any significant portion of people living here taking a stance against church. But they do, and as both the enthusiasm (and candy) of Easter ebbs, it’s important to look at a viewpoint from another side of the religious coin.

The following is an interview with an L-S student. However, we will not be using her real identity, and shall henceforth refer to her as Kate.

Kate’s overall opinion of church and religion was quite common: “I don’t think you have to go to church to be considered a good person.”

Kate doesn’t actively practice because "some people in my family have made church their only priority, and nothing else matters. But other things do matter."

Many L-S students would certainly agree more than one thing matters, but what may surprise some readers is that Kate takes more of a middle ground between religion and atheism, something many people of faith do not acknowledge. When asked about a higher power, she responded “I do believe in God,” and “I pray in my room almost daily, whether it be for family or finals.” She said it helps her to “numb the pains” of life.

And although she said people have bothered her about her less than enthusiastic stance about organized religion, she has never tried to convince others of her views, and emphatically disagrees with an old saying of Karl Marx, founder of Communism: “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”

“I don’t think church is sent from the devil,” she explained, how some other avowed atheists may think. “It helps people who are open to it. For people who need the help, that’s their saving grace. I’ve gone to church for things like that too.”

Students at L-S who don’t actively practice religion, or are opposed to it, would still be a minority of students, but Kate seeks to prove that they are not all bad people just because of this choice.

Indeed, for some with the same views, they may be compelled to do more good than half-hearted people waiting for a religious holiday to express their views.

The overarching theme may be to avoid rushing to judgment when views differ as sometimes a generic label does not encompass all of one's opinions.

--Justin Burkett, Managing Editor

Edited: BP

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