My Religious Views

I do not believe there is a God or other omnipotent being. This makes me, by most definitions, an atheist.

I have many friends, family members, colleagues, and students who believe in a supreme being. Some practice that faith by attending church (including synagogue) or following rules they believe are dictated by God.

To say that I tolerate these beliefs is, in my opinion, condescending and even insulting. I do not tolerate it; I embrace it. I am interested in it. What they believe is part of who they are. So is the manner in which they examine their beliefs, adjust, reconcile, and accommodate those beliefs.

I try to avoid talking about religion with students and acquaintances because the stereotype of an atheist is not pleasant; I do not want to offend or give the wrong impression. When someone I do not know well personally initiates a discussion, my first instinct is to keep it short and step lightly. Occasionally, however, I meet a believer with whom I can discuss religion, especially in the contexts of politics, science, and philosophy, rationally. These are some of my favorite conversations and some of my favorite people.

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