It's Important to Keep Stirring the Pot
At PoliGazette, Michael Merritt reprises the age-old argument about so-called ‘militant atheism.’ He cites PZ Myers (misspelling his name) and "crackergate" as an example of "rubbing it in the face of those who may simply believe that they were acting in the best interest." (As if believing you are acting in the best interest actually makes it so). He then quotes a few other atheists who advocate a kind of quiet and meek disagreement rather than blatant ridicule. Merritt sums up:
I also think that at its core, atheism is not a thing that you can equate with hate. However, the problem comes when some of the leaders of the movements, the Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ of the world, feel that religion is not simply wrong, but its followers are delusional.
In the end, the world would be a better place if these atheists could do what they often argue some religious people don’t: keep their beliefs simmered down into well reasoned arguments, and not troll-worthy bashing. For my part, saying that someone is delusional for having a belief in a deity is no better than a religious person saying that an atheist is doomed for an eternity of fire and brimstone. It certainly doesn’t advance intelligent discourse, and only spreads enmity.
My comment response:
At its heart, this is an argument about which is more important, facts or feelings.
Religious beliefs are not factual and thus cannot ever be supported rationally. They are subject to the whims and ‘traditions’ of literally thousands of sects, and new ones are invented every day. Often times, they cause people to commit inhumane acts or acts that are just plain incomprehensible (like getting upset about someone walking out with a cracker, for example).
If we care about truth and reason, we have no choice but to brand the beliefs delusional. As tough as that may be for believers to hear, it is a required tactic if we are to move forward and evolve as a species.
Religions have gotten a free ride for centuries. Prior to the founding of the U.S. they were often part of the government. Even though in America we are officially secular, religion still keeps creeping into our government policy.
Atheists are right to be upset. Ridicule is only the beginning. If we want a sustainable, rational and just society, religion will have to be marginalized, no matter how much that may hurt some people’s feelings.
Imagine if someone started a Church of Harry Potter or a Church of the Jedi (actually already exists). Are we really supposed to take them seriously? Of course not. We all know these are forms of entertainment and we don’t have to ‘respect’ other people who pretend they’re real.
The world’s major religions are no less ridiculous, they are just older and more widely accepted. They need to get over themselves, and quickly. I’ll be there stirring the pot until and unless that happens. Call me as many names as you like, I’ll take reason over superstition, and I’ll keep insisting you’re insane if you don’t.