Rachel's Challenge and Why a Christian Martyr's Message Matters to Atheists
Today a certain movie came out in theaters that involves an certain vacuous and self-loathing young woman from a fictional novle, whom I’ve written extensively about in the past, attempting suicide because her high school boyfriend breaks up with her. The movie and the milksop shall go unnamed.
I expect most of you won’t be watching this milksop jump off a cliff, so I shall first applaud you. Next I will tell you about the exciting thing that happened at my school today.
My high school’s new principal in a daring move screwed around with our schedule so that he could fit a time for every student in our school to see a man named Craig Scott speak about his sister, Rachel Joy Scott, who was killed in the Columbine High School shootings.
Following her death her brother became devoted to spreading her life philosophy. Today he goes around to schools across the country just talking about how a little bit of kindness to other people in your life can go a long way (and although he is a devout Christian his talks are on the most part secular).
When she was alive Rachel reached out to the kids at her high school who were alone or bullied and made their lives better. She even saved the lives of those who wanted to take their lives, but didn’t because she had taken the time to defend them or just show a bit of kindness. Even though it feels cool when you’re the bully, Rachel knew who she was so she didn’t give in to their ploys.
Just a few days before she died Rachel wrote an essay where she said she believed that if one person does a small act of kindness it will start a chain reaction of kindness. Her brother and her father took up that message and Rachel’s Challenge was born to encourage people to try to use a little more compassion towards others in their lives.
Why is her message so poignant? Perhaps it’s because Columbine finally woke people up to the fact that it could happen to any one of us, even in high school. That something could happen out of the blue and cut our lives short. You can go to the website, watch the videos, but what I think it boils down to is this:
If you were to die tomorrow, would you have done more good in the world than bad? Would all your loved ones know they loved you? Would you regret the unkind words that slipped from your tongue? How would you be remembered?
The message that we should be kind and compassionate because we only have a short time to do good should just speak for itself.
And one more reason to justify tying this in with Teen Skepchick…
If you’ve read the book, Rachel’s Tears, or heard of her, you may know that they were both devout Christians but that doesn’t matter. Prior to seeing the lecture I pretty much shared her philosophy that superficial things like popularity don’t matter as much as most people think, and in the end what matters is if you know yourself and if you touched people’s lives. And, well, I’m an Atheist.
I’ve been having a bit of an argument lately with a friend at school about whether we need religion for people to feel motivated to do good. If a bunch of heathens take up Rachel’s Challenge, do some kind things and just pass on kindness to other people, wouldn’t that just make the general population accept us better?
So go learn about Rachel’s Challenge and doooo eeeettt nao plz kthnx.
Oh, and also because it would totally help to counteract the message that certain film and book series has about trying to kill yourself if your high school boyfriend breaks up with you.