I think we have to "fight" against religions, for so many reasons.
But do we have to deprive people of something they have inegrated very deep in their lives, in which they find support, comfort, that make their lives more bearable; that something being beliefs, meaning and purpose in existence ?
I think that atheists have to be humanists. Some believers did not have any oportunity not to believe from the start, being raised in a religious context, but some others accepted (i prefer accept rather than choose) to believe later, as adults.
I am strongly against religious education, especially of young ones, i compare this to a mind rape. But once someone has found religious useful to him, and that it makes him happier, is it a good thing to try and make him quit believing ?
I'm sure we all atheists feel the lack of meaning & purpose of existence. But i don't think everyone has what it takes, from what he experienced to his very nature, to bear the weight of void.
While we criticize the lack of tolerance of religions, aren't we doing something similar when trying to convince a believer ?
So is there any legitimacy in exposing our arguments against beliefs, shouldn't we fight on another ground? Pure education? Religions rather beliefs ?
That's ok, i didn't meant to tolerate dangerous and useless actions, or opinions from believers :)
What? Are you saying Santa's not real? I call BS. :p
Santa is real I saw him in the Mall.
Arguing against belief shouldn't be done with the intent to tear down someone's idea of the world, I should think, or to deprive anyone of the system they love. But we all know religion doesn't stay within its own bounds. Our arguments are not a sudden attack on an innocent bystander; they are antibiotics aimed specifically at powerful, fast-growing bacteria that seek to consume and destroy.
Religion doesn't just make people feel good. People think they can oppress gays because of religion. Or relegate women to second-class citizens. Or stop you from having sex outside their framework, or force you to consider a non-theory to be equally valid as a scientific theory. In the past, societies where religion has entirely ruled have led to arrests and executions for the simple crime of heresy--not thinking what the government tells you to think.
I think in a perfect world, atheists wouldn't exist at all, or we wouldn't have to argue against religion. If religion was harmless and never sought to gain converts through dishonest means, we would have no reason to care about it. But religion seeks to grow in any way possible. Christians claim they have the only truth, the only morality, the only answers to the world's problems. If we don't answer those claims and show they are baseless, we lose, and religious and intellectual freedom begins to die.
RE: "Religion doesn't just make people feel good."
"The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."
-- George Bernard Shaw --
I didn't meant to compare a believer to a sceptic, i think someone that "has found god" and expects an afterlife can feel very sad if he has to renounce to all this. A bit like a kid whose toy was stolen would be more unhappy than the kid that never had this toy. My answer to my upper question may be something like : We atheists have also to learn to speak about what is good being sceptic more than what is bad about being a believer.
I cannot agree more about religion(s).
When i talked about afterlife, i was thinking that, now that i am a father i cannot imagine how hard it would be if my daughter died (it is almost painful just to write!). Then if i believed; it could be soothing that unbearable pain (like i figure it) to "know" that we will be together again someday. All i can do as an atheist is to love her and support her the best i can, and also to try to appreciate each shared moment like a new treasure of life. Hum sounds a bit esoteric maybe? Well you sure get it =)
"Well you sure get it =)"
More than you know. My own daughter did die, but deluding myself into believing we will be together again is no more advantageous than consuming large quantities of heroin, opium or alcohol - the atheist must be prepared to accept reality.
Well, i'm a bit sorry to have brought this subject. I cannot say i know how it feels, but be sure i empathize.
Meaning and purpose, of course i try to find and make some. But i am a bit lost about all that huge universe that at some point comes to be populated with life ... how unlucky is life, that when it becomes intelligent enough, discovers that it is doomed !