Dear Atheists, I Love You.

Dear atheists,

I love you.

I wish that could be the singular message I have for you today, but in light of this current culture of religious and political train-wreckage, I feel like there is more to be said. So, I would like to start by asking for a reprieve from judgment.

I know. You probably just spewed your coffee on a computer screen.

I’m not an idiot; I am certain that you have had the lion’s share of judgment from “the other side.” You’ve had an ear full, a belly full, and you are well-done and over people of faith. But please hear me out, because this sets the tone of my entire letter.

My request: Please do not discount my intelligence because I am a person of faith. Start by considering that there are plenty of Christians who are smarter than you, and a multitude of atheists who are smarter than me. An intellectual pissing match doesn’t do anybody much good. When has somebody become a Christian or an atheist because they were simply out-smarted in a battle of wits on the internet?


And yet, we argue. And hurt one another. And push and posture and fight for the right to be heard in this world we call home. What exactly are we trying to say in all of this fighting? What are we trying to accomplish?

I think I know.

I think everyone wants to live in peace with their ideals and beliefs. Not all people, I admit. Some people are just jerks who cannot be justified. But MOST people want to be respected as friends, peers, and colleagues regardless of their faith or non-faith. Cheesy as it may be, I believe that people want to love and be loved in return.

(Beatle’s soundtrack in 3, 2, ..)

That is going to be very difficult because according to many belief systems, sharing faith with non-believers is a charge that is taken very seriously. Unfortunately, it is also a charge that is grossly misinterpreted, abused, and often mangled in its efforts.

I am so sorry that you’ve been a victim of these exchanges.

The reason I write this letter is because yesterday, for the first time in a while,  I found myself in the proverbial hot seat. It was me who was being ridiculed and bullied for my faith.

I stupidly got involved in a debate on the basis of societal morality, and in the process was blasted and mocked for being a Christian. Did my faith falter? No. Did my belief system change as a result? Heck no.

But that didn’t change the fact that the experience left me feeling bruised. Now, it wasn’t my ego or my faith that was knocked around. It was my feelings. I was spoken to as a lesser individual. Less intelligent and unworthy of respect–all because I was different.

I think I got a taste of a medicine you experience quite regularly. And man, did it SUCK.

Have I said “sorry” already? Because I really, really am.

In this age of thumbnail profile pictures, it’s easy to view people as a floating icon. To get carried away in the flexing of our intellectual muscles and forget that there are emotions—actual people—in the wake of our comments. And I also think we have forgotten that, at the root of things, ALL people share this common belief system: Humanity is severely fallen and could use a fix.

You will not find a Muslim, Christian, or agnostic who will argue this point. If you do, refer them to Oprah because they have found something (be it an idea, philosophy or miracle drug) that could be sold.

So if humanity is broken, the real disconnect is in our belief on how to fix it.

The fix for atheists (from my perspective) is to encourage people to think logically. That through logic, we will find that preservation for society and self relies on the ability to intermingle peacefully.

The fix for Christians (SHOULD be) to learn from Christ through scripture how to better love and serve the people of this world, and in DOING so—share our faith. I can’t speak for other religions—but I have a feeling the intent similar.

Oh, how far we’ve all gotten off track.

There is not one iota of a chance that Earth will one day unite under the banner of one faith. So we are going to have to forge an alternate path. We are going to have to live in peace.

I believe this begins with small changes and ends with big results.

My words to both sides:

Christians: I wouldn’t dare tell you to stop sharing your faith. My belief in Christ has given me new life and a spiritual freedom which I would love to share with everyone around me. But let’s look at Christ. YES He shared his faith and YES He was quite clear about being the only way. But what did He do before every.single.sermon? He shared love, met a need, or simply touched a life. You have to EARN the right to be heard by those who do not believe the same as you. Posting a picture of Jesus on facebook or bashing gay people on equality message boards is NOT. THE. WAY. Politicizing religion as a vessel to impose it on others is not going to save souls. Brothers and sisters, the first taste someone gets of your faith should NEVER be the bitterness of judgement. Love first. Love always wins out.

Take a breath, look around you, and seek a need. Then choose love—and meet that need. Be a friend. Not for the sole purpose of sharing your faith, but because the love in your heart inspires friendship. Serve your community. Work hard and talk less. By walking this path, you will find that less anger will meet you when you choose to share your faith.

Then–when you DO share—realize you can’t argue your way into someone’s heart. They are either open to your thoughts or they are not. But they will always, always be open to your LOVE.

Atheists: Recognize that Christianity is not what you see on Fox News. There are many faces, many interpretations, and many theologies within the faith. Like any cross section of humanity, there will be hateful people, humble people, idiots, and kind-hearted servants. Your group is NOT immune to this fact. Treat every person as an individual and you may find that some encounters with people of faith can be very positive, enriching experiences. Seek truth. Is it possible that you don’t have it all figured out? I’d say so. Can we all learn from others and find wisdom in different teachings? Possibly?

One set of my children’s god-parents are non-believers. We all laugh at the irony, considering they are, you know,  GOD-parents. But they are are open-minded, loving friends who exemplify selflessness. If I can find and attest to those attributes in these friends, what can you see and learn from in others?

Frankly, I don’t have a clue what I’m getting at here. I often times find myself hammering away at keyboard, unsure of the resolution I am seeking. All I know is that after a terrible interaction on a facebook thread, I lost sleep last night. I know that was because of multiple failures: Failure on my part to convey a clear, loving message. Failure on my part to accept that people would react harshly to my beliefs. Failure on their part to not find the meat of what I was trying to share. Failure on their part to resort to mockery and belittlement.

It seems that the root of these failures in communication stem from a lack of understanding and respect. Understanding and respect are found only where love exists. And that’s where I guess I’m ending this rant.

Dear atheists, Muslims, agnostics, Buddhists. To my Jewish friends and everyone in this world with differing beliefs:

I love you.

Mary Katherine

About The Author


Mary Katherine is a southerner, born and raised. Growing up in Alabama, she developed an affinity for lightning bugs, sweet tea, playing guitar, and having strong opinions. She's happily married with a son (Nugget) and two fur babies. Fun facts: MK is a living kidney donor, speaks a little Thai, and has written two novels.


  1. Well said. Our labels so often hide the fact that we have so much in common. Even when we have different beliefs, we often want the same thing.

  2. I found your website after watching your video about the two young children you encountered in line at Target. Loved the way you handled it. I was impressed by the way you handled the situation at Target and inspired by the post I just read. As a believer, I couldn’t agree more. Love first, meet a need, be a friend. Your testimony will be the way you live your life. Thank you the reminder. Mark

    1. Just ordered your book, on Amazon. Can’t wait to get it!!! I started watching you on FB will never forget the video you shared, and ended up on Ellen Degeneres show. Hilarious. Love you being you. Wanda Arnold

  3. Wise words. Such a shame more people don’t think as you or take the time to ponder their own reactions and actions toward others who believe differently. We could all benefit from taking an honest look in the mirror of our lives before we make judgment of others. Thank you sharing your thoughts.

  4. I am an atheist. I have friends who are Christians, and others who are atheists. We get on fairly well, because we have common beliefs – to help people, to try and be less judgemental (because we all are to some degree). When I went overseas in my 20’s I stayed in a country where the motels had the Gideon’s bible, and the Buddhist book both supplied in the top drawer of the motels. I took great delight in reading the Buddhist writings and it was the first religion that appealed to me in any way. I didn’t follow that faith, but I really feel a closeness with what I perceive to be their outlook. I so enjoy going to a Buddhist Temple that was built just south of a capital city, which is a haven of peace and beauty. My daughter and I went in high summer once, and we had off the shoulder dresses on, the people on the door offered us their coats to go in, as they require people to have themselves more covered. They didn’t rant or rave at us, tell us we were heathens, they just offered something to make us more in line with their beliefs and it was so accepting. Sometimes it feels like people with ‘strong faith’ can never get along with others, but I realise that it is only people whose ‘strong faith’ requires them to put down other people of different or no faith in their religion that I see and feel defensive around. I am happy to hear you talk of your faith, and that you feel God is supportive to you, I don’t have a problem listening to that. It is the way it is presented, the exclusiveness that some people give their faith that annoys me.

  5. I’m an ex-evangelical and ex-theist. In an earlier eon I was in an evangelical college ministry for five years (Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship). I used to teach apologetics. I gave up all that when I realized in something of a thunderbolt that if evangelical Christianity were true one shouldn’t have to work so damn hard to defend it against the many, many obvious objections. I’ve never associated religious belief, or the lack of it, with intelligence. I’ve known many who claim completely persuasive—to them—personal experiences of what they call “god.” It’s an unarguable position. Never having had such an undeniable experience of a deity, my faith was intellectual, and when that basis went away so did the faith. It seems to me, still, that 1) if god is loving in any sense we understand, 2) having a personal relationship with it is necessary to a conscious, fulfilling eternity, and 3) having certain ideas in our minds about the deity is central to the creation and maintenance of that relationship, then that god has done an absolutely abysmal job of communicating those essentials in ways that even a majority of the human race can experience and agree upon.

    The bottom line, for me, is the story of Thomas. He demanded to put his hand in the resurrected Jesus’s side before he believed. Jesus provided the experience. If Jesus/god loves us both, why Thomas and WHY NOT ME? The coda in the story about those not needing such a demonstration for their faith being blessed does absolutely no good for those of us who NEED the evidence. Calvinists have their, horrible, answer. As you note, there are thousands of different interpretations of Christianity itself; probably a different interpretation for every believer. Combined with the fact of literally thousands of distinct religions on this planet, it just ended up making much more sense to me to see religion as a product of the human imagination.

    One “Christian” in a Fb discussion the other evening called me “spiritually disabled.” But I do not lack for awe, wonder, gratitude, love, meaning, and a profound sense of dependence upon forces larger than myself. If Jesus actually existed, what might he actually have meant if he asserted that he was the “only way?” I’ll wager it wasn’t a discrete set of ideas about him; in fact, according to the stories, he chastised, the disciples for their narrowness when they condemned others. Sorry to go on at such length… I’ll just leave you with the words of Pope Francis’s first homily as pontiff. I think he got it pretty much right: “[The Disciples] complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation” … .

    “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment. I am appalled somebody called you spiritually disabled. Your wonder and awe and curiosity show your spirit is functioning exactly as intended. ❤️

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