We’ve all had those “talks” with our parents where they tell us to have a good attitude and be kind to others even when we don’t want to. Whenever I would have that talk with my mother, she would tell me to “act Christian.” I know that a large part of her reason for saying this is because, frankly, she believes that Christians are morally superior to non-Christians, but I like to think that there is another, better meaning behind this piece of advice. If the people I interact with know (or think they know) that I’m a Christian, then the way that I act will influence their perceptions of Christians and how Christians treat others.
Of course, I don’t think you could really tell anyone to “act Christian” or “act atheist” or “act liberal” or what have you, because as long as you’re a Christian, or an atheist, or a liberal, then anything that you do will be acting like one, because you are one. That being said, it is important that whatever group you identify with, you represent it well. If you are a Christian, you need to be kind. If you’re an atheist, you need to be kind. You never know when you might be the only Christian or the only atheist that someone knows. Of course your views and beliefs are important, but what is more important is how you represent those with your set of beliefs.
It’s hard not to group all atheists together or group all Christians together. Some are better than others, from both groups. One of the reasons that people dislike Christians is because among their religious demographic are people like Matt Walsh, the blogger who never hesitates to brutally judge anyone and everyone while using scripture as his weapon. People like Becca Eller are the ones who redeem Christianity by being kind to and accepting of those who don’t share their beliefs. Of course, there is a wide range of atheists as well, some better than others. YouTuber The Amazing Atheist, while I haven’t seen much of his content, strikes me as particularly hateful towards Christians and Christianity, being a disappointing example of all atheists. CosmicSkeptic (Alex J. O’Connor) is another atheist YouTuber from the other side of the spectrum of skeptics, being extremely humble, logical, and always (as his tagline goes) questioning everything without malice towards religion.
Whether you’re a blogger, a YouTuber, a pastor, a Christian parent, or a closet atheist, it is your responsibility to show others that no specific group has a monopoly on kindness or maturity. While it is difficult not to let our beliefs get the better of us, it is necessary that we can be civil in discussions and listen to every side of every story.