Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why I don't keep my atheism to myself

Religious/spiritual folks often opine on the frequency of which atheists comment on religious beliefs. Outspoken atheists are branded(in a derogatory way) "militants", "angry", "malcontents", "not having anything better to do with their time", etc. I think of such descriptions as "shut up" tactics deployed by members of religious/spiritual sects who would rather not hear any criticisms of their beliefs. I also think they are ill prepared to account for the reasons why they believe what they believe if they are questioned and commentary, even when the words are not directed at them breeds a response of resentment, contempt, and anger. Notions such as "live and let live" and "let people believe what they want to believe" are often tossed out as effective quips when one is annoyed or a criticism has hit very close to home. I submit to you that those two statements are thrown in the wrong direction. I cannot keep my atheism to myself precisely because of those statements and many many more. The religious/spiritual folks do not "live and let live". Their theocratic nonsense is pushed into every corner of society. History, the sciences, morality, philosophy, law, medicine, critical thinking, reproduction, parenting, education etc. If you can name it, they intend to be a part of the conversation and they offer their musings with some of the most tasteless and callous remarks you can think.

I could keep my atheism to myself if religious/spiritual people would keep their beliefs out of public policy. If they were not interested in advancing theocratic ideas into public school science classrooms, I'd shut up. Since they cannot provide sufficient evidence for their hypotheses, creationism/intelligent design, they opt for litigation. They distribute pamphlets full of misinformation with the hopes of preying on scientifically illiterate people. Some even want to invade the classroom as teachers which would create a robust response from science advocates to eliminate scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers. If they(professional religious/spiritual folks) were not in the business of advocating for false hope and gleefully taking money from credulous people, I'd mind my own damn business. If religious/spiritual people were not trying to govern over a woman's body and her medical choices/decisions, I'd "live and let live". If they were not out terrorizing women at abortion clinics or creating burdensome hurdles(often with legislation) when she takes responsibility for her actions and decides to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, I'd hush up (there are some atheists who engage in that behavior too). Some think their god belief is the justification for dictating to women what they should wear and even if they can operate a motor vehicle. If she does not obey, she can receive lashes. There are people that willfully strap bombs to themselves, women, and children and march them or themselves into a crowded area, detonate the bomb and kill as many as they can within the blast radius. I have seen pastors advise their members to engage in business deals due to "divine inspiration". The business fails, the owner becomes insolvent, and they go back to the pastor and he says "my son, this was not your time, but God will make another way for you". The reply misses the reality of the situation but keeps the believer coming back to the same poisonous well from which he received the poor advice. There are many religious/spiritual folks who believe their belief in a god, however they semantically encode it, is a social license to demand their direct approval of how two consenting adults fuck each other. They believe their arbitrary rules supersede everything. There are atheists in countries who cannot be outspoken because of retaliation by ignorant fools. 

My outspokenness is partly due because these folks do not mind their own fucking business. I also speak out because I care about other people and I want to see a reduction in harmful ideas which I think affects the actions of those individuals who hold the beliefs. If you keep it to yourself, off my lawn, off my car and out of public policy, we may have no issue. I do think theists are wrong and I do not hold back on that point. Not every believer, whether spiritual or religious in nature behaves as I have described in the above comments but far too many are silent about those that do behave in such horrible ways. I will not keep quiet and I urge you, if you can to speak out as well.

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