COLUMN: Quit using Notre Dame to question other people’s beliefs


Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15 in Paris. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. Tribune News Service

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been partially burned due to an accident believed to be caused by renovations. Being one of the most recognizable symbols of Catholicism worldwide, it has dominated world media since the holy building went ablaze.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been donated to restore the over-800-year-old monument, and visuals of damage have made their way to social media.

The mourning around the world is completely founded. I’m not religious myself, but I understand the heartache of the people who held this building so dear.

However, what I will never understand is the constant need for people to use tragedy to ostracize people who think differently from them.

I find it incredibly frustrating that people will find one way or another to further their message that people who do not believe in their god are wrong because of certain happenings.

The events of Notre Dame are a perfect example.

I stumbled across a tweet that showed the cross within the chapel of the Notre Dame Cathedral, completely unscathed. Rather than rejoicing in the fact that not all is lost, the tweet’s author decided to send a message to people who don’t believe in her religion.  

The tweet read: “After all the aftermath and destruction of the Notre Dame fire, the altar and cross remained untouched. Please explain to me how you don’t believe in God after seeing this.”

Well for starters, there is a clear explanation for how the altar and cross survived the blaze. They are surrounded by stone and the wood fire was not hot enough to melt the gold cross. God had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Why people feel the need to come for people who do not believe what they do, I will never know. But what I do know is asking atheist or agnostic people why they do not believe is doing much more harm than good.

Being agnostic myself, I can say without any doubt that this message has never changed my mind on religion. The only thing that comes out of this interaction is a further divide between the two groups.

Something that religious people need to understand is that every non-believer has their reason, myself included. Your disrespectful attempts at discrediting the beliefs of people like me do nothing. It is a joke.

Maybe your god was there at Notre Dame to save that cross. My question is where was God when a white supremacist was burning down historically black churches in Louisiana? Where was God when the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was burning at the same time as the Notre Dame?

I couldn't care less what you believe. All I ask is that you do so while not disrespecting the beliefs of others. Whether you are Catholic, Muslim, Jewish or agnostic like me, you will accomplish nothing bashing the beliefs of others.

Maybe I am just a god-hating agnostic who is angry that I can’t get on social media without being bombarded by content that tells me I am wrong for what I believe. It would not be the first time I have heard it.

But if you see it like me, I just want to see a little more compassion and acceptance out of people and for them to see how destructive their comments are. Or is that asking too much?

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