THE BLOG

Even Atheists Should Have Their Beliefs Respected at Work - Declares Daily Mail

08/04/2013 15:07 BST | Updated 08/06/2013 10:12 BST

Atheists should be celebrating today - the Daily Mail has acknowledged that people with a variety of different beliefs have a right to express those beliefs in the work place - even atheists no less! This is after the Equality and Human Rights Commission released some new guidelines for employers. I should add the EHRC guidelines look pretty decent and sensible to me.

To be honest I am not sure the Mail is happy about the atheist thing - but we should take what we can from it.

They seem to think that lots of people having rights is an attack on Christians which defies logic - but anyway

We could also ignore the logic that atheism is an absence of a belief in something - namely a god - and so it seems we are being given a right not to believe - but that still sounds like good thing.

Anyway - to celebrate the Daily Mails grudging acknowledgment of my rights I want to let loose a rant about what I do believe in.

So in no particular order - I believe that whilst some humans - both religious and non-religious - sometimes do very bad things that most of us have a desire to do good things and to be nice to other people and animals and the planet. I believe that are a number of humans who excel in bravery and goodness and determination such that we can all remain optimistic about the future of our species.

Look at the inspirational courage and single-mindedness of Malala Yousafzia - the school girl who continues to campaign for women's right to be educated despite being shot in the face at point blank range with an assault rifle by someone from the Taliban. I believe that she is braver than me and most other people and is an inspiration.

Nelson Mandela and Gandhi and many others deserve our respect and can inspire us - not to mention all the non-famous people who just get on and do good work and stand up for people's rights and never get thanked for it.

I believe that the universe is already awe inspiring and very big and beautiful enough and I don't need to believe in a magical god figure to make life seem amazing. We are all made of star dust apparently - Professor Brian Cox told us this (well I believe he did anyway) and that's good enough for me.

I believe that Christians and others should be allowed to wear a cross or whatever pleases them provided it does not cause some sort of health or safety risk. I believe people should be free from bullying at work and should be actually allowed to enjoy work as long as they get the job done - whatever they believe.

I believe that we can all do good things without the idea of all powerful supervising super being looking over our shoulders waiting for us to sin.

I believe that people should be able to believe different things from me and I will try not to be offended or feel they are oppressing me just because they believe in something else - unless they are actually oppressing me - which will rarely be the case.

I believe we should try not be mean or angry towards various minority groups just because times are hard - it's not really the fault of foreign people or people on benefits that our economy is in a bad way. We can't even blame all of the bankers and that's frustrating.

I also believe that democracy - despite all its faults - is much better than what they have in North Korea.

Don't get me wrong - I am not trying to claim the moral high ground with all these beliefs - there are many people - both religious and non-religious who achieve more than I do because of their beliefs - I am merely celebrating my freedom to express my belief in things as declared by the Mail.

One problem though - when do we atheists get a day off work? Can you have a day off to celebrate a non-belief? It would of course be like herding cats to try and get a consensus from atheists about this or anything else so I suppose the answer is no.