I hear a lot of arguments on here about the evils of religion and it always makes me think.
Wouldn't the evils of religion be the weakest argument for being atheist? Going on the assumption that most atheists are people of reason, shouldn't the existence or non-existence of a God be your major and almost sole purpose for being atheist? If it is because of the evils of religion, isn't your position just a position of anger and leave you in a very vulnerable place?
As a atheist I always look at what I see as the things that show me there can't be a God. That is the proofs or lack of. Yes I do see the inconsistencies of many religious texts and that goes to the proof or not of their positions. Having said that, the evils of religion is not my reason for being atheist. To be that doesn't prove the existence of God one way or another, that proves the evil of the people that profess to believe in a religion and how they use it.
. . . right, it's up to an atheist to find good reasons for rejecting belief claims. One way of doing so is by understanding that there are philosophies of life which are coherent, rational, require no allegiance to faith. Do a search on 'Epicurus'. You'll see immediately why xians have always hated his views, have sought to demean his life, and destroy his works. Epicurus' thoughts survived as an underground presence despite xian persecution for 2,000 years.
one ancient (and one modern) antidote to irrationality and hatred
Xianity has hated rational thought (philosophy) ever since Stoics and Epicureans laughed at P/Saul of Tarsus (fl 50-65 CE). While preaching to Athenian philosophers about a minor jewish doctrine of bodily resurrection turned into insane mythology (Acts17:18 NIV), he had to stop and retreat from the the Agora, traditional space for free and open debates.
The demands of faith -- obedience, submission to authority, violation of rationality -- are inconsistent with ancient and modern democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience.
• Whatever xians hate deserves a closer look as something likely to be good.
Three hundred years before the earliest xian cults, the Greek philosopher Epicurus (340-270 BCE) devised and openly shared a philosophy of nature based on atomism and a philosophy of life (an ethic) based on a rational pleasure principle.
•...live like a god among ordinary people.
Epicurus' conclusions drawn from his atomism and ethic are distilled into four statements. The tetrapharmakos = 4-fold cure for anxiety: what about gods, suffering, death?
Don`t fear god,
Don`t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.
-- Philodemus from a Herculaneum scroll (100 BCE)
• What's the best life to lead?
Epicurus' own advice to a follower:
"Think about these things [in my texts]...yourself, and with a companion like yourself, and you will never be disturbed while awake or asleep. But you will live like a god among ordinary people. For those who live among immortal blessings are not like mortal beings."
The modern French philosopher Michel Onfray presents an a-theology worthy of intellectual respect which updates Epicurus given 200 years of textual scrutiny of xian texts, of middle-eastern history, of modern psychology and sociology. Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.