I’m an atheist activist and I’m pretty open about it. All my relatives, people from High School, College, former co-workers, theistic friends, etc. all know that I am an atheist who writes about atheism. Many of these people are also atheists, but many are not. Sometimes I get asked, “Why do you always bash religion?”
Let me be clear here, I don’t “bash religion;” I criticize religious beliefs and the actions that religious believers take as a result of those beliefs. I’m not some bully picking on the weak; I’m the minority standing up to the tyranny of the majority. I’m tired of being bullied by the religious majority and have decided to point out the ridiculousness of the religious claims and beliefs that don’t stand up to the standards of logic and reason. I’m not even hitting back in the way that many religious believers attack those they disagree with. I’m not trying to pass laws restricting anyone’s marriage or defacing billboards that I disagree with. I’m not threatening anyone with eternal torture or physical harm in this world. No, I’m just criticizing beliefs that should be criticized and laughing at beliefs that are flat out ridiculous.
I’m an atheist activist because too many people in this world believe some ridiculously silly crap based on ancient myths that have real world implications. Religious beliefs are dangerous. They are a threat to human happiness, human progress, and human survival on this planet.
Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think religion is the only problem in the world and if we just got rid of it life would be swell. But I do think that religious beliefs are the elephant in the room. They are by far the greatest problem facing humanity on many levels.
Pick your pleasure and some religious believer will tell you that it is a sin and you will be damned to an eternity of torture for doing it. In far too many cases, religious believers will even attempt speed you on to this imagined eternal torture for doing whatever that sinful pleasure might be by physically assaulting you. I’m not even just talking about sex either although that is a pretty big source of human happiness that many religious believers oppose unless it is done in very carefully measured conditions in just the right boring position and only for the purpose of procreation or to please the man.
When it comes to medical research, religious believers often stand opposed to new technologies like stem cell research. Oddly enough though, they tend to be first in line to reap the benefits of new medical technology despite their belief that death will bring them to an eternity of bliss in paradise. Amazing how that works. Even so, religion has shown that it is an obstacle to modern medicine.
Scientific progress has been stifled by religious believers at least as far back as Hypatia of Alexandria and they continue to attempt to stifle scientific progress today. No one denies the science of evolution, the big bang, or the age of the universe without appealing to religion somewhere in their bullshit. The fact is that there is a rather strong movement in this country to teach religious creationism in science classes. This is a direct attack on our children and the promise that our children represent for human progress.
On ethical issues, religion holds us back too. From the Suffrage Movement, to slavery, civil rights, and marriage equality, religion is almost always on the wrong side of history. Sure there were many religious believers who did and continue to fight on the right side of history on these issues, but they did so in opposition to their own religious beliefs, not because of them. They definitely did not have the biblical high ground on these issues.
Then there is human survival on this planet. This goes with scientific progress in a sense since it is religious believers who tend to be the ones who oppose the scientific consensus concerning global climate change. This issue alone should have us all concerned. God does not have a plan for us. We can’t just sit around and do nothing while our planet becomes more hostile to our presence on it. No, we have to learn how to solve this problem on our own. Prayers aren’t going to help. Denying there is a problem is definitely not going to help.
Then there are the religious extremists who use scientifically made, 21st century weapons motivated by their faith-based, bronze-aged beliefs to cause maximum destruction to appease and/or please their deity of choice. Science flies us to the moon and religion flies us into buildings.
The fact is that the world would be better off if people stopped believing that ancient myths were real. Education is the key and that is why I write about atheism and humanism. I think that the best cure for the disease of faith is education, knowledge, and critical thinking.
I want to make the world a better place and the best way to do that is to teach people that their deity of choice doesn’t exist and that reason is a better guide to life than faith.