As a woman, as a mother and as a student surrounded by creative young men and women, I am often chastised by others for not being tolerant of religion.  I am told that being an Atheist requires just as much assumption as being religious and that in my dismissal of all faiths I am ignoring the good that religion brings into the world.

I do not believe that there is any good that religion, any religion, is doing in the world.

I think that every faith promotes ignorance, separation, discrimination and hatred.

When people contrast their faiths to those more extreme (often the Taliban) I compare them.

I do this because I am intolerant of the crutch of religion. I do this because when someone tells me that they are Christian, but have nothing against homosexuals, it rings about as honest as a Neo-Nazi telling me they have nothing against minorities.

I find their accusations that I would be happier in my "traditional place as a woman," to be hateful and coming from a place of spiteful ignorance.

I am aggravated as others try to hang a label of "agnostic" on me, when what I really am is an atheist.

I have no doubts that I have made the right choice to abandon the myths of my mother and her mother. There is no question in my mind.

People have said to me that they cling to the belief in gods out of a hope for cosmic justice.

I think that it is the belief in these gods that create most of the injustices we suffer in our lives. Our feelings of frustrations, our self-imposed limitations on our hopes for love and happiness, our misery in the feelings of constant scrutiny from an unloving, constantly judging omnipotent figure of our own design, all of these things are the waste product of an out-dated hate machine.

I find nothing redeeming in religion. Religion flaunts opulence in the face of starving believers and implants hatred in the innocent and inquisitive minds of children. It creates division where there should be none.

I am not tolerant of religion any more than I would tolerate any other form of indoctrinated bigotry.

Views: 1075

Comment by Melvinotis on March 1, 2013 at 12:12pm

Carol, since you are being chastised for your views, you are taking a defensive stance. This is appropriate in your situation. You are making a bold statement though when you cite that  "every faith promotes ignorance, separation, discrimination and hatred." It may be as simple as making any sort of statement that includes the word "every", "all" or "none" in that statements like that are usually intrinsically false.

Speak to someone who has had to hide in a church basement because of a tornado or hurricane and they can easily tell you that you are flat out wrong when you say that no good comes from religion. The atheist hurricane shelter is the body you inhabit or the government you support.

Trying to unblur the lines of the religious and religions is above my pay grade, but in short, I know some very good people who are part of a religion. They are accepting of more forms of the human condition than I even knew existed and put great efforts towards curing the injustices of the world. 

k0rsan might think that those folks are driven by some macabre need for validation, or only for the perceived salvation of their souls. But knowing them personally and seeing their dedication to making the world a better place, I cannot help but also be inspired. 

Yes, many times I think they are crazy to attribute their own good works to an imaginary friend, but that does not dilute the fact that they do inspirational work. Could they do that work without the church? Yes. Would the structure be there for them to find that work? A qualified maybe.

Frankly, it sounds like your social circle is soured. Reach out for new people to converse with.

Lastly, I think I should describe the religious folks that are in my neighborhood. I recently attended the ordination ceremony of a woman in the UCC. She is gay and her partner is also a Pastor in that church. Needless to say they stand for LGBT rights, but also many social justice causes such as prisoners rights. The ceremony was attended by some of the other folks I know who also hold workshops for homeless people, assist immigrant refugees, and organize war protests. They know my family is atheist and we have never been prosthelytized, nor do I rail against them either.

Yes, they certainly have to do some social gymnastics to be part of an organization that is more known for starting wars than protesting them, but I don't know them well enough to find out how they support their positions. Also I think that discussion might be as relevant as discussing the science of Star Trek.

Since mostly my conversations with the religious outside of my little bubble leave me with the same sort of feeling when I step in dog poo, I would say that you are mostly right in your intolerance, but partially wrong. When you any argument saying "all", "every" or "none" though. You set yourself up to be all wrong.

Comment by Dale Headley on March 1, 2013 at 7:20pm

For you to imply, “Melinotis” that a belief in God is necessary to induce people to help their fellow man, is extremely cynical and probably says a lot about you, I suspect.  Either you are an atheist who uses that as an excuse not to help people; or you are a Christian who believes that people who don’t believe in your God are selfish and uncaring, which is grossly insulting and patently untrue.  

Case in point:  people who volunteer for the “Peace Corps” clearly are not doing it for religious reasons; they are doing it because their sense of humanity leads them to want to help less fortunate people.  On the other hand, Mother Teresa packed dying people into small prisons, refused to give them medicine or pain killers, and watched them die as she intimidated them into accepting her Jesus.  For that, she is likely to be granted sainthood by the enablers of child-molesting priests.  Case closed!  

Comment by Unseen on March 1, 2013 at 8:24pm

@Dale Headley  There may be bad Christians, a lot of them. However, there are good Christians. My own father, an Episcopalian, was as gentle and kind as they come. He could be relied upon by anyone who needed help to do whatever it was within his power to do. 

After my mother became a paraplegic, he cared for her on a daily basis and paid for a nurse to care for her during the day while he was at work. She had an open wound which never healed. He dressed the wound when he got up at 5 a.m., bathed her, got her into her wheelchair, made breakfast for her, cleaned up, and then set off to be at his desk at 8 a.m. He was Director of Purchasing for a major heavy industry corporation. When he got home, he served dinner (my mother could still cook), cleaned up, spent a few hours being her companion, then prepared her for bed and got in whatever sleep they could.

He did this for about 10 years until she died. He retired and spent the rest of his active life volunteering in an art therapy department helping people recovering from various kinds of trauma learn to use their hands and minds again.

Once that was more than he could do, he still helped people in whatever way he could. He helped me on many occasions.

Now that he's gone, I don't say "Good riddance. One less Christian." Rather, I can say that "The world is a lesser place with that Christian gone."

The problem with Christians is that they believe a myth and a falsehood. It's not that they are each and every one evil.

Comment by Melvinotis on March 2, 2013 at 9:35am

Kris and Dale, I am not implying that belief in God is necessary to induce people to help their fellow man, in fact I am saying the opposite and that for the most part, people who do help out give credit to the wrong place. 

What I am saying though is that the religious construct buildings for the purpose of congregating, and those buildings tend to be at least dual purpose in that they also are built as places to hide when really bad weather or other situations hit. 

We as atheists do not build those buildings to congregate in, and therefore do not gain the dual purpose--this in no way means that anybody is turning anybody away when the storm hits. 

Dale I agree with you wholeheartedly about Mother Teresa and the Peace Corps is a fantastic form of secularism. Dale, I read a lot of what you write, Kris, too. I can't think of anything I disagree with and I regard you both as intellects to admire, so I feel like I am mis-writing something when you are disagreeing with me. 

I'll refer to the comedian Louie CK about when he speaks to his wife and says "if what I said could be taken two ways, and one of the ways makes you mad, it is the other one that I mean."

Comment by Nelson Hernandez on March 4, 2013 at 2:31pm
Yes YOU ARE!! But then so am I. Theists are intolerant of those beliefs that are not directly related to them so what's the difference. I have had the same confrontations here at work. Payer groups, shout outs of "Lord Jesus Help ME!" all that crap. I laugh. One day I yelled out "Lord Satan preserve us!" It was quite funny and the look on their faces. "I thought you were an atheist?" Me: I'm trying on Satanism for awhile.

Office has been very quite as of late. lmao.


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