“This is a person. A person is the base.
“A person can choose to add religion, becoming a RELIGIOUS PERSON.
“A person can choose to add smoking, becoming a SMOKER.
“Or a person can choose to add neither. This person does not then become a non-smoker or a heathen/goyim/infidel/whatever else you call them, they just remain a plain old PERSON.
“We’re all people. Some of us people have added qualifiers, some haven’t. Cool. But if you are a person with a qualifier, don’t try to add a qualifier to those without. You’re the one that changed, not them.
Not a single one of us was born with a cigarette in our mouth or a religion in our head. Those all came at a point further along in life, some sooner than later, for those who partake. That means that those who do not partake are not the ones to be labeled as a non-this, non-that. They simply are what we refer to people. I am a person, and (you [in a general sense]) are a religious person. I am a person, and (you) are a smoker, or a person who smokes.
This post is about religion, with smoking added in to point out exactly how ridiculous it is that a religious person feels entitled to label those who are not religious, or those who do not follow their religion. Since smoking and non-smoking are also a thing commonly used (which is also just as ridiculous), I can make a third comparison for those who are confused: A pet owner and a non-pet owner. How dumb is that? Pet owners are clearly the person who added something, so why should the person who does not own pets be labeled and defined by the pet-owner’s choice?
Another point I would like to make is that religious labeling of those who do not follow their religion (or who are not religious at all) often have negative connotations associated with said label, which tend to inspire othering or dislike of those outside of the religion. And that’s not right. In fact, it is definitely a large contributing factor to discrimination.
If you other someone, especially in a negative manner, it makes it all that much easier to do awful things to them. We’ve seen this in other realms: Women being othered as less than human often translates to them being attacked, abused, killed, treated as property, treated as unintelligent, etc.. PoC are othered every day by whites, and those of us with half a brain know what that does. In the same realm, Muslims are othered by Christians, and that suddenly makes it okay to kill them, discriminate against them, harass them, and more.
Though my point has been meandering and probably not well written, in conclusion I’d just like to say: I shouldn’t have to label myself as an atheist. You shouldn’t label me as a/an infidel/heathen/goyim/etc.. You’re the one who expanded on the base; label yourself, and leave me out of it. Stop othering me (and everyone else who isn’t ‘like’ you).