Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nice People

One way or another, I often have encounters of the ordinary kind with religious people. Some are the parents of my private cello students, for instance. Almost without exception, they strike me as very nice people.

My next-door neighbor is a Mormon. He sometimes mows our front lawn, unprompted, simply because it's a nice thing to do.

Maybe it's the nice people who are attracted to religion in the first place, or find it easy to stay in a religious community if they were born to one. They're not rebellious by nature; they're comfortable going along with the crowd. Or maybe it's that when you're part of a religious community, the rough edges of your personality get sanded down.

I'd love to be part of an atheist community, but I'm not sure how one could ever take root and grow. The Unitarian/Universalists are as close to an atheist church as you can get. I've tried Unitarianism a couple of times, but it didn't stick. Maybe it was just me. But in recent years, even the Unitarians seem to talk about God a lot. They're just more vague about it.

Here's the scary thing, though: The fellow down in Tennessee who shot up a Unitarian church this week was described by his neighbors as "a really nice person." That may have just been happy talk, but he may really have seemed nice to them. He reserved his hatred for the liberals.

If we did have an atheist community center here in town, who would protect us from the nice people?

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