Jordan Peterson: "I Have a lot of Respect for the Atheists."

How to Respect an Atheist

Whether you're a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, or just your everyday religious Joe, religion can sometimes be a hard thing to tackle. When you encounter others with beliefs different from yours, how can you respect their beliefs and validate them as a person?


  1. Remember that everyone's a person.
  2. Don't try to convert them.Just . . . don't. Trying to convert somebody to your religion is like waving a big red flag that reads "HEY! I DON'T APPROVE OF YOUR WAY OF THINKING AND I THINK YOU SHOULD TRY MINE INSTEAD." This is almost the complete opposite of respect. It's actually quite disrespectful.
  3. Don't make it a big point of the relationship.If you had to ask a question to find out if somebody's an atheist, like "Where do you go to church" or you outright ask "Do you believe in *insert religious deity here*" then chances are they didn't want to talk about it anyway. If you know, great. But they're still the same exact person you knew them as before.
  4. Don't force an atheist to do something that makes them uncomfortable.This stands for anybody, really. If something makes you uncomfortable, don't do it. If what you're asking somebody to do makes them uncomfortable, you shouldn't be asking.
  5. Remember there's a difference between atheists and anti-theists, and there's a very thick line between them.Atheists are saying "I do not believe in the existence of a supreme being or beings." Anti-theists are saying "The very idea of religion is revolting, wrong, immoral." If someone is an anti-theist and they are targeting your religion while around you, you are under no obligations to deal with their views. Get away from them - that kind of social interaction isn't good for you anyway.
  6. Under no circumstances should you ever slander their beliefs.Let's use metaphorical cake to understand this. If you are religious, you're saying "I like cake." and the atheist is saying "I do not." Do not say "But you haven't tried it yet!" or "No, you're wrong and you like cake - you should try it." just say "Okay." and offer them doughnuts. Or ham. Or whatever metaphorical food atheists would eat.
  7. Realize that you don't know what's going to happen to you until you die.To them, you're wrong. To you, they're wrong. No one knows exactly what's going to happen until all is said and done and they're six feet under. And that's okay.

Community Q&A

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  • Don't threaten an atheist. This includes threatening atheists with hell. To an atheist, who doesn't believe in hell, it's not a valid threat anyway.
  • Saying "Why don't you go to church just in case" is just as bad, and makes no sense to the atheist as well. To stress a metaphor, it's like someone asking you "Why don't you watch My Little Pony just in case you're wrong and you go to Equestria when you die?" It just doesn't make sense, no matter what your views are.

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