This is just going to be a rant about something that has been on my mind for a while.
I keep hearing people, religious or atheists, say "You have to pick a side. Picking a side is important. Are you religious or atheist? Picking a middle way like agnostic is cowardly"
You want to know what side I'm on? I'm on the side of I want state and religion to be separate and for it to otherwise not matter.
It's usually people who come from countries where religion still has a big hand in law who feel strongly about this, and I can understand why. Where they come from it is important, but the entire world isn't like that. In the part of the world I come from it doesn't matter if you're religious or not.
You don't want the abortion because of your religion? Fine, no one is going to force you, but if you do, you can have it. You don't want to get married in a church or have your child baptized? Fine, we'll take care of that at the City Hall. You're gay and want to get married in a church, but the local priest doesn't want to wed you? Fine, the priest in the next town does.
It just doesn't matter.
Of course, human rights comes first and you will be judged for shitty behavior no matter if you do it for religious reasons or just because you're an asshole.
Your religion tells you to have five wives? You might not all be married in the eyes of the law, but if you have some sort of ceremony that makes it more official to you and everybody's happy, then go on your marry way. You're forcing someone to marry you and keeping them against their will? In the slammer you go.
I'm what we call a culture Christian. I'm not religious but I like Christmas and I had my confirmation because I wanted the party and presents, and the church was happy to confirm me. They got something out of it, I got something out of it. Happy times all around. An non of it meant I or the priest who confirmed me are going to go out and burn down a Muslim family's house or bash the head of a gay baby in.
Which brings me to another point. If people are assholes they will use any excuse they have.
If you hate gay people and you're religious? It's against the bible!
If you hate gay people and is atheist? It's just plain disgusting!
Religion has started wars because someone just really wanted to fight someone and used their religion as an excuse, and it has helped millions because someone just really wanted to be nice.
Parents might tell their children that a group of people are horrible because the bible says so, but the children might still grow up to think that group of people are actually pretty awesome anyway and still be religious.
Religion doesn't make someone a better or worse person. It makes them exactly who they already are. Same goes for atheists.
That is how religion is looked at in my part of the world. It doesn't matter. How you act matters. You can take part in religious acts just because they're fun and the religious people will usually welcome you knowing you won't join the religion afterwards.
So that's the side I'm on. I want it to not matter.