I’ve heard this so many times. We need to “respect their beliefs” and not “hurt religious feelings.” If we act like dicks, we’re “no better than them.”
If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan, and I’m a White Sox fan, these ideas might work. We’d be basically on equal ground, just fans of a different team. But it’s not like that. We’re not on equal ground. Religious people trample human rights by passing legislation based on their religion. Religious people believe in miracles and talking snakes.
If they want their beliefs to be respected, I’d suggest they get some respectable beliefs.
This sort of PC bullshit is not new. “Just leave them alone, respect their beliefs, they’re not harming anyone….” The above quote is in no way unique, it’s just one I saw today on Facebook, so that’s why I’m responding to it specifically.
Atheists are characterized as rude not because they all are (some are, sure), but because people tend to take it personally when you tell them you don’t believe in their imaginary friends. It’s true that some atheists make fun of religion. However, people get butthurt about that in ways they do not if you make fun of their favorite band or a politician they like. People often do not have a sense of humor about religion if they follow one, it seems.
Regarding the above comment: “…no one should have what they believe forced upon them.” “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
Who in the hell is forcing atheism upon anyone? It’s religious people who do that, usually by indoctrinating their own children, at least. Stating that you have a difference of opinion does not mean you’re forcing atheism on people. If it’s ok for Christians (etc.) to speak freely about being a Christian, why is it oppressive if atheists mention their lack of belief?
“We are no better than those we have escapes if we turn around and commit the same crimes as they did.”
What? The Inquisition? The Salem Witch Trials? Sending gays to camps to get “cured?” Keeping children from learning science? I don’t think there is much danger of atheists committing those same crimes…. Oh wait, he was talking about the crime of assholism. Well, some beliefs are so irrational that they deserve to be mocked. Especially if they start using them to take away human rights.
As for “catching more flies,” we are not talking about baseball here, folks. We are talking about believing in talking snakes, the holy spirit, the afterlife, heaven: which is apparently a great big playground on a cloud where you get to hang with all your friends and Jesus after you’re dead. That’s the Christian point of view. The atheist point of view is simply withholding belief in unproven nonsense until/unless sufficient evidence is provided. Again, we are not the ones making outrageous claims full of magic and woo. I don’t give a good goddamn if I ever “convert” anyone, but I won’t just keep my mouth shut if I see corruption and hate being carried on in the name of religion. Atheists, so far as I know, do not proselytize. They may debate, but I have yet to see any going door to door to un-convert people. I think most atheists know that most religious folk are so indoctrinated that it’s unlikely they would be willing to consider a viewpoint other than their own. I, for one, have never bothered trying to convert people. I have debated with people and I have explained my position on things. That’s not the same thing as trying to win converts.
Also, people who “feel they need religion.” Keyword is “feel.” I doubt anyone actually needs it. Here is a relevant quote:
It is morally as bad not to care about whether a thing is true or not,so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.
-Edmund Way Teale
It’s the old argument: “If there is no God, I’ll be sad. I don’t want to be sad. Therefore, God exists.” Obviously, this is nonsense. I think that intellectual dishonesty is bad, even if it makes you feel good (I’m tempted to write about religious experience, but I will save that for another day). I’d rather search for truth than hold on to pleasant fantasies. Since there has never been any compelling evidence for deities, I have to assume they are fantasies. This is the only rational standpoint, since it’s the most likely to be true. I think people don’t give themselves enough credit when it comes to resilience. Thinking you can’t cope without gods. I think these people would find that they adapt and cope to many situations, but they hold onto things that are comforting to them.
And as I said before, you can’t force someone to believe or not believe in deities, which is another reason I think it’s unlikely that atheists are really and truly trying to convert people. I think people perceive any difference of opinion as an attack on their religion, when it may just be the atheist telling how they feel on the topic or explaining why they are atheists.
Saying “I am an atheist” or explaining why is not an attack on anyone’s religious freedom. Likewise, if you are protesting against gay marriage and I tell you you’re an asshole, I’m neither attacking your freedom of religion nor your right to free speech. What I am doing is telling you you’re an asshole for trying to limit the rights of others who are doing nothing wrong, and doing nothing that impacts you personally. I’m not saying you can’t say stupid shit; but I do wish sometimes people would think before they say stupid, hateful shit.
And I do stand by the idea that some beliefs do not deserve respect. Just because it’s religious nonsense doesn’t mean it’s not nonsense. I will mock any nonsense, religious or not, especially if that nonsense harms other people.