"My only wish is ... to transform friends of God into friends of man, believers into thinkers, devotees of prayer into devotees of work, candidates for the hereafter into students of the world, Christians, who by their own admission, are 'half animal, half angel' into persons, into whole persons." - Ludwig Feuerbach

Freethinkers are often asked, "Why do you spend so much time arguing about religion when you don't believe in it?". Here are two answers:

1. Many freethinkers believe that some religions are inherently harmful to humanity, and that just as believers have a right to express their views on religion, freethinkers have a right, and sometimes even a moral responsibility, to let their views be heard. Here are some examples of how religion is harmful: Religion often encourages bigotry, hatred and intolerance; it often prevents rational discussion of important issues such as abortion and euthanasia; it has inspired many wars and continues to make peace very difficult to achieve in such places as Northern Ireland and the Middle East; it often inspires religious zealots to commit acts of terrorism; it often tends to destroy its believers' sense of personal responsibility; and it is often mentally and emotionally unhealthy. Of course, religion is not all bad, but we still have an obligation to speak out against the aspects of religion that are harmful.

"Religion prevents our children from having a rational education; religion prevents us from removing the fundamental causes of war; religion prevents us from teaching the ethic of scientific cooperation in place of the old fierce doctrines of sin and punishment. It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion." - Bertrand Russell

2. Sometimes freethinkers are compelled to speak out in order to protect themselves from aggressive religionists. Here in the USA, there is a small but politically powerful group of religiously bigoted theists who are trying to use the power of the government to force nontheists and theists of different religions to follow the dictates of their superstition. Not only do they want to secure special rights for themselves, but they want to make sure that religious minorities and other groups, such as homosexuals, don't get the legal protection that everyone in this country is entitled to have. As a blatant example of this religious bigotry, consider the following quote from a US president:

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." - George Bush, Sr.

Freethinkers have a responsibility to speak out against these bigots.

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yup i agree! =)
Very well put. As of late, I am seldom party to arguing atheism/belief with individuals unless something serious is at stake. When the stakes involve Gov't or schools, I'm in to the last breath. Duty.
Abso-fucking-lootly. I cannot stop the weird believing but I must stop the authoritarian, anti-science action. On the other hand, the "war on xmas" vs. "war on winter solstice" war is a waste of bandwidth.
Freethinkers have a responsibility to speak out against these bigots. +1
+1 indeed.
The threat from fundamentalism grows as we play on the internet. Atheists make up 16 % of the population of the USA, and we need to flex this muscle now.
I bother because of the blaten bigotry. Elizabeth Dole & Kay Hagen are perfect examples of religious wingnuts in government. When the ads came out, so did I. On the back window of my truck, in big white letters, i wrote, "DOLE IS A BIGOT", I then ran it from Raleigh to Greensboro down the I40 / I85 corador everyday until the elections were over. It got a lot of attention, both good and bad.

I bother because I care about the seperation of chruch & state. I don't want our country to become a country like Iran, Saudia Arabia, ect.

I bother because of the Christians have no idea what Atheism is. My Christian friend is completely ignorant about atheism and I have to KEEP reminding him what it actually is. Very frustrating.

I bother because I care about Science. I don't want the future of my child to be like that of the stone ages or like the Middle East. Take away Science and we are doomed.

I bother because I don't want ''Creationism" taught in our schools

I bother because of the thought of prayer being in our schools. I don't care if someone quietly prays, I just don't want time taken out of the day that is devoted to it.

I bother because Atheists can't run for government.

I bother because there are laws being made by the religious. Aka. Prop 8

I bother because my hard earned tax dollars are being spent on "faith based initutives". Lets not forget the on the clock prayer time by our polititions.

I bother because the churches don't have to pay taxes and rake in billions of dollars.

I will no longer be a quite Atheist, minding my own buisness. The religious are getting to big for their britches!
It is time we stood up and are heard.
This is such an excellent subject to for us to continually talk about. I don't want to characterize the intent of your site Morgan, but I strongly feel that we do have a responsibility to make a change ("slay the dragon") in this country. I am discovering that one of the most important things missing from the growing movement of Atheist is a sense of community, because that really is one of the things that the Christian, and others, thrive on. As Freethinkers, we're less inclined to gather as a group because it feels too much like what we're fighting against, and the whole idea of Atheism, is for all of us to have individualistic expressions of freedom; groups have ideals and agendas, we have freedom of ideas.
So for this place in time, I feel that we have to unite to crush i.e. convert, the masses of all the broken-minded people who are scared of what might happen to them after death, and show them the light of the freedom as we know it. We are in a great place to make a difference and we should do it with all the energy of our hope for a better world. Can I get an AMEN!!

Which country is that?

Well said.

I bother because of the laws that are passed. Proposition 8 is a great example. I am also annoyed by In God We Trust and Under God, though those are less oppressive. I bother because of the anti-intellectualism that's plaguing the country.

Over the past couple years, I've really become a lot more vehement about atheism. It's atrocious the way we are demonized by society.
It is such an uphill battle, the more and more I look into it the more work I realize is needed, I'm up for it.
Thanks for the post. I copied the Bertrand Russell quote and put it in my wallet. I'll google him. Thanks again!!


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