I’ve seen many religious people make an odd and interesting claim. One recently said:
“My self [sic] am proud to be a Christian which is much tougher than claiming to be a homosexual.” [Source, where they try to equate homosexuality and bestiality while maiming the English language.]
And it got me thinking…
No, actually it is harder to be gay than to be Christian. I haven’t been gay, but I have been Christian, and being Christian is easy. Seriously, it’s really easy. Society caters to you and your views, they don’t tell you you’re evil or wrong, no one calls you unnatural or an abomination. No one would try to keep me from marrying another Christian, and I would never lose my job if people found out I was a Christian.
And this got me thinking…
Is it harder to be a Christian or an atheist? I’m much more qualified to answer this from personal experience.
This one is much closer. Sure, it’s easy to be a Christian, but being an atheist isn’t exactly a crucible, either.
The most difficult part of each pertains to morality and ethics. Christians have a tough set of standards to live up to, especially the ridiculous, irrelevant and archaic aspects. However, it is all spelled out for them. Atheists have to make all the decisions themselves, and believe me… there is pressure to be better than religious people. The only thing keeping me from going on a murderous killing spree while eating babies is that it would give atheism a bad name.
I kid… sort of…
I think the clincher is how society treats each group. I have to give the nod to atheists. Atheists are not the most maligned (I give that one to Muslims… who are even miserable in their own countries). Atheists don’t experience that much persecution in America, but they certainly experience more of what I might call “cultural cold-shoulders.”
Christians, on the other hand, enjoy several advantages. Every President has been a Christian. Christian Holidays are national holidays. Churches are everywhere and operate tax-free. Christianity even thumbs its nose at the First Amendment by legislating based on faith.
But to some degree, who cares? Is there virtue in shouldering the greatest burden? Shouldn’t our goal be to relieve others of their load (which we often yolk them with unnecessarily) and make everyone’s lives easier?
There are also so many things that more significantly affect a person’s station in life. Age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, health… all of these play some part in determining what your life will be like.
In fact, sometimes I wonder if the only reason I became an atheist was because everything is so easy for me. I never experienced much adversity. I never feel like a victim. I’m not sure if I’m incapable of it, or if I just lead a charmed life (I’m inclined to think it’s both).
Maybe if my life had been more difficult, I would have remained a Christian, where it’s easy. I might have relied on the support of a strong and giving community of fellow believers. I might not have had time to spend forming my own views on what is right and how to act. It might have just been easier to go with the flow and remain a Christian.
So, when someone tries telling me how hard it is to be a Christian and how easy it is to be a homosexual, I can only think of one reason someone would think that…