As a person who does not believe in a deity, I often refuse to be called an Atheist due to the negative connotations that people attach to the term. I may be wrong but based on the conversations I have with other people, particularly those who are religious, athieists are often conceived of as people who hate religions and religious people because of their beliefs.
As someone who subscribes to the scientific methodology, I do not believe in any gods or spirits but I do not hate the people who believe in a god or are members of any religion. From my experiences of being around religious people (I was raised as a Catholic and now work with Jewish people), I have seen the benefits of having a religious belief. For instance, being a follower of any religious faith gives one a sense of belonging- they often feel that they are a part of a tight-knit community that shares the same beliefs. Religions also teach people how to be kind to one another, to forgive each other and to love one another.
Positive aspects of different religions were described in greater detail by the philosopher Alain de Botton in his book, ‘Religion for Atheists’. An atheist himself, Alain was interested in how religious beliefs and teachings can help believers and non-believers alike, to live a better life. In this book, he argued that every religion has something positive to offer and that we should not shy away from adopting these beliefs into our own lives.
Here’s Alain explaining the book in more detail:
As Alain explained, this book might offend the strictly religious since it implies that it is healthy to ‘cherry-pick’ doctrines and teachings that suit one’s own personal set of belief system. Therefore, I recommend this book to anyone with an open mind. Please read this book!!!