Sometimes it’s hard not to. Sometimes I struggle with myself. Sometimes I fail, and then I remember that when I do, I become part of the problem too. Just like everyone else, I have things I believe in: democracy, tolerance, equality, freedom of expression, and so forth. I have a political agenda: I feel that every human being is entitled to education, housing, food, and healthcare as basic human rights; and I believe in heavy regulation of private entities. But at the same time, I see potential problems with unchecked government power. Because of this, it’s easy for me to allow for different views and to consider other alternatives. So politics are not a barrier to friendship, unless your politics are grounded in bigotry and hate.
As a lifelong agnostic/atheist, I realize that religion fulfills a basic emotional need, so I can’t hate the religious. I’m certain that almost all of us are deluded in some way and are merely unaware of our own particular delusions. Thus making fun of others for what appears to be an adaptive human characteristic isn’t something I want to do. However, I do want to eliminate the harms perpetuated by religion(s), sociopathic behavior, and any ideologies that stand as barriers to peaceful human coexistence and rational thought. But I’m imperfect. I know this and I’m fine with it.
I strongly oppose dogma and demagoguery. If you disagree with my ideas, feel free to express why. Persuade me with reasoned argument, and not with snark, abusive behavior, and hate. That’s the only way you’ll ever change my mind or earn my respect, for what little it’s worth.
Here’s John Lennon. He was imperfect too.