the reason i speak out isn't to change the world.. because anything i say has been said and probably a whole lot more eloquently (as you've done)
the reason i speak out is much smaller... she stands about 3 feet off the ground.. :)
I tend to think of case one as "evangelical atheism" and it can become anti-theistic at times. Tone is important when preaching the real good news though. Even though we can be angry about such things, it's sometimes not wise to show that anger.
Case two is where a little bit of obvious anger is understandable by the crowd we are trying to win onto our side, we are claiming to be aggressed upon.
PS don't get me wrong--anger is justified. I am saying that showing it may not always be wise.
Who gets to define 'harmful to humanity?' And what is their criteria? If everything is material, there is no such a thing as "harmful." There is only "is."
Harmful means injurious to your life. In order to keep on living you must take action to sustain your life. Religion often prevents this or makes you take the wrong actions.
Harm DOES exist in a purely natural world; I can't quite see how you can assume that it doesn't. Do you think it only exists in some ethereal plane? Or are you over-tight on your definition of "material"?
I suspect you are religious?
It's not about who gets to 'define' 'harmful to humanity' it is the impact of any given definition on any particular group. Something that exists 'materially' cannot be harmed...please explain.
Lawrence Krauss reminded me.
I cannot cite the words.
I easily imagine the priests, mullahs and minions walking the 'line'.
I bother because I despise the oppressors and love the oppressed.
I cry for revolution
get off your knees
imagined shackles leave behind
and stare them in the eye
THEY HAVE NO FUCKIN' RIGHT!
If noGod had meant for us to spend time kneeling in prayer he wouldn't have given us feet.
Correction, it was Dan Baker...h/t Chrys Stevenson
All very good points. When theists ask on Answers why atheists bother to talk about religion when they don't believe in gods (as if lack of belief equals lack of concern) I paste this.
Its different for each religion but if we take Christianity we have
the long and bloody history of the inquisition and crusades and the
more recent troubles in Northern Ireland and the horrors happening
right now amongst African communities where children are tortured to
death for being witches or being possessed. In America there are so
many fundamentalists who truly believe their god will torture all
non-christians for eternity but worship him anyway. That's the same
mentality which allowed Germans to turn a blind eye to the
concentration camps and there are millions of people with that
mentality in the most powerful country in the world! In my own
country, England, we have christian teaching in schools - my own
daughter was told at 5 that god drowned nearly everyone, turned rivers
into blood and killed all the first born sons, that he still exists
and should actually be worshipped despite this. We also have 26
bishops in the House of Lords.
I blogged on this topic today. I gave 10 reasons why I feel the need to speak out. You can read them at http://reason-being.com/index.php/2012/04/16/cant-you-atheists-keep... The basic gist of it is that I cannot sit by quietly while religions are threatening to many parts of our society. Great discussion---It is a topic that is well worth the attention that it is receiving.
Russell was brilliant in his clarity and directness as a writer. He could untangle the knots of religious idiocy with a rarely matched intellectual honesty. The following is an example from a 1927 lecture:
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. The whole conception of god is derived from the Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages.
A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past, or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time towards a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.