Sunday, October 28, 2012

I've been called worse (by better people)

Recent studies show that the lack of belief in a divine being is on the rise in this country.  Indeed, according to the report by Pew Research, almost 20% of the nation's population does not identify with any belief in a divine being.  This of course set the crazy people off.  Though their fear of atheists and hate for them is nothing new it seems to have intensified.  One of the interesting things I have learned since I have become an atheist is how we, as atheists, are the bane of the world and the origin of all its woes.  Particularly in this fair nation we are blamed for pretty much all social woes including school shooting and violence, the rise in crime, teen pregnancy, divorce rate and a wide variety of other things.  The basic idea is that we have kicked God out of schools and out of the government, both places his mythology never belong in the first place, and as a result the world has gone to shit!

I have heard so many things about atheists that just is not true...we are incapable of being faithful, we have no morals because you cannot have morals without a God to guide them, we are anarchists, we are liberals, we are gays (which is funny because we generally see no problem with being gay but see it as the religious combining their phobias...the only way to make it worse is to be a gay, Mexican atheist and thus include their homophobia, xenophobia and allodoxaphobia-the irrational fear of opinions or ideas.)

I really don't like to use the term persecution when referring to the treatment of atheists because it is a word that is so famously abused and overused by the religious world.  The word "persecution" is a word that is worn as a badge of honor for the martyrs in the religious world because they, by some twisted and perverse logic, think that if you are persecuted then your beliefs are validated, because if people don't like what you believe enough to do harm to the bearer of this message then they fear what they cannot control or change.  Ironically, this is the very attitude that religious people have towards atheism.

Negativity towards atheism is no new phenomenon.  Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich included atheists among those to be exterminated from their perfect world, alongside the Jews.  Admittedly, Hitler was fighting the Bolsheviks and he took the atheistic views of Communism to be a threat and therefore sought to stamp it out.  He is hardly alone in his fears.  Control is based on a very closed and structured set of ideas and new ideas and opinions threaten the stability of that control.  It is therefore no wonder that as much as all religions hate each other they band together to hate atheism.  It is a classic case of, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Some would say that this is just religious people and not "true" Christians.  Here is the problem with that:  The Bible itself, the "Holy" Book of the Christian faith itself partakes in this extreme view of atheism.  Psalm 14:1 clearly states that a person that says there is no God is a fool.  Old Testament law required a belief in Yahweh on pain of death.  The Caesars saw themselves as gods and condemned any that disagreed as atheists and killed them an act that was actually approved of by the ancient philosopher Plato.  Now in the interest of fairness "atheism" here was applied to any that did not accept them as gods and not just those that rejected ALL gods.  The point is that Christians were not unique to this persecution and the martyrdom as they would like us to believe.  Muslims...well...let's face it...any non Muslim is an infidel and they are pretty indiscriminate when it comes to hate!

As an atheist I have been accused of hating God (which is impossible since I don't believe he exists and hating him would be an affirmation of his existence), and I have been accused of hating Christians (and my response is if they can hate the sin and love the sinner I can hate the belief and love the believer.)  None of this is true.  One of the unique things we face as atheists here in the United States is that a love for God has somehow been linked to a love for country so if we do not love god we, by this stupid logic, hate America.  

How about you?  As an atheist what have you been called?  What have you been accused of just because you are an atheist?  Or, if you are a religious person, what do you see as the flaws or legitimate guilt of atheists?  How does their lack of faith affect your life, your work, your family, or your nation? Please feel free to comment!


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