Should Atheists Be Looking For A Fight?

Before you start reading this, I feel it is my responsibility to let everyone know that this post contains adult language. If you are offended by this, then move on, there's nothing more to see here.  I write from my gut, which is evident in my blog posts, articles and my book.  Sometimes what I have to say isn't all kittens, puppies and unicorns.  I am, by nature, polemic.  I do not offer this warning on my blog.  If you are reading this preface, this is a reprint on another venue that may or may not appreciate my "occasional" need to speak freely. With that said, or written, as it were, I invite you to read on...

My Facebook friend, Paul Jones, asked a question on my United Atheist Front, Inc., Facebook group.  Actually, it was more of a statement that was presented in the form of a question, but it is, nevertheless, a very poignant point of view.  As an atheist grows in their knowledge of what religion is doing in various parts of the world, our country, our own communities and in our own circle of friends and, in many cases, our own families, it becomes more and more difficult not to become totally, completely and unequivocally exasperated with the state of affairs.  It is only a matter of time before many of us find ourselves treading the waters of punditry.  We get to the point where we can no longer shake our heads and murmur our discontent to ourselves, but feel compelled to not only speak out about our disdain, but count ourselves as one of the "New Atheists."  We actually look forward for opportunities to counter the poison that religion consistently foist upon our society.

Paul states:

"Is it bad that I find that most of my time spent on FB is spent ITCHING for a fight or debate? I find I actually WANT religiolards to sling bullshit status updates in my direction so I can crawl up there asses and publicly lampoon their deluded, "sky fairy belief system." I fear I have come to the opinion that it is SO IMPORTANT to stamp out organized religion it has made my company undesirable even for somewhat like minded friends. Im only asking what you guys think as I value my peers input. Anyone?"

Well, Paul, you are in a place where I found myself about a year ago. I am not only still there, but my drive to expose the dark, crusty and pungent underbelly of organized religion only increases with every story I read about honor killings, abrogations of the First Amendment here in the USA and breaches of freedoms in other countries, holy wars, jihads, terrorist acts, child abuse in the name of one god or another, the dumbing down of our children via the utter stupidity of teaching myths as truth in our schools, thought police, morality police and how feelings of guilt at the hands of religion that cause many people to take their own lives.

Yes, Paul, sometimes I go looking for a fight.  Why?  Because I find myself compelled to.  I find myself with an unquenchable need to call people out on bullshit.  I find myself unable to keep my mouth shut when that "What The Fuck" light goes off in my brain.  I find myself with a need to stomp the shit out of the lies that religion propagates upon the world with the sledge-hammer of reason, logic and scientific truth.  I find myself smiling whenever I read of a fellow atheist intellectually body slamming a religious fucktard into the oblivion of reason.  I find myself gratified when that light bulb of logic goes off in the mind of the indoctrinated and they start down that path of reason that leads them to realizing that all religion is bullshit, a scam, a ruse, a lie and the single-most dangerous ideology that has ever been inflicted on our species.  Faith is fine, people.  But religion, doctrine, dogma and forced morality is not. Not by a long shot.

Does this make me a bad person?  To the religious it does.  I have lost friends, family, professional relationships and have even been run out of town for being as polemic as I am.  I have lost count of the threats of violence that I have received.  I've gotten countless death threats and am up to ten, count them, ten "fatwas" for my immediate execution by conscientious Muslims.  On sight. Those of us who find ourselves in this place have one response to those who would threaten us, and that is, "Fuck off."

So, Paul, my answer to you is "No," it is not bad that you find that most of your time is spent itching for a fight or debate.  You are correct in your point of view that it is important to stamp out organized religion. The fact that it has made your company undesirable, even to some of your fellow Freethinkers, is a sign that you are doing it right.  Pushing people to think outside the box, even those who are like-minded, to step out of their comfort zone, is not a bad thing.  Being accommodating to those who believe in a fundamental religion that includes commandments for the execution of unbelievers is unconscionable.

Keep on truckin,' Paul.

———————————————————————–

Al Stefanelli is the author of “A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World – The Rise Of Atheism O...  He also writes for the National Atheism Examiner and Yahoo! He is also the President and Founder of the United Atheist Front, wich can be found on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, Podbean and YouTube.

Views: 15

Comment by Alfredo Varela Jr on May 7, 2011 at 5:59pm
I appreciate your stance on this. I find that I too enjoy the conversation and approach it not as a debate or argument but as an honest inquiry as to why people believe what they believe and to point out the obvious wrong that religion promotes. It does at times feel as though I talk about it too much and that I do so with the same people all the time. I feel that we are coming to a point, especially in America, where we are about to get completely steamrolled if things don't change. My personal dilemma is not knowing where to focus my energy so that it actually makes a difference. In the meanwhile I fully support the promotion of the discussion as even the tiniest seed of skepticism you can plant makes all the difference. I would advise, however, that you make a calculated choice as to when and where you do so. I say this because sadly it may result in the loss of friends, family, business, and worse in some cases.
Comment by Benjamin Fisher on May 7, 2011 at 6:30pm
I'm glad that there are Rationalists out there who are willing to vocally and unapologetically voice their views. I'm curious as to how you handle ad hominem attacks from friends and family who are still wallowing in ignorance. How difficult is it to refrain from stooping to that level in your discussions, and how do you try to maintain a basic level of civility while discussing such controversial subjects?
Comment by Shamari on May 7, 2011 at 7:33pm
I have often thought about the merits of being open and actively confrontational towards those who persist in their delusions. I have not even come out as an atheist to my family, but if they happen to ask me about it in the future I won't hide it. My main reason isn't really that they're fundamentalists, but I've only been an atheist since january, and I want to make sure I have all my bases covered when it comes to possible arguments once I finally do tell them. I've also found it difficult at times to get over the brainwashing of Christianity since I was a fundamentalist to the core. It's terrible how low humanity is in cases such as religion and spirituality when science and reason are making incredible advances.
Comment by Ron V on May 7, 2011 at 10:34pm

Al, do we really have a choice?

I/we are constantly bomarded by religious propaganda and the efforts of powerful organizations to make this country, and the world, a Christian theocracy (and let's not forget the Muslim nuts).  And the future will be no joyride keeping the Christians (and Muslims) from establishing religious governments.  With respect to Christianity in America, here are the budgets of the fundamental Christian groups seking to make this a Christian nation (source0 Church and State, vol 64, no 5, May 2011)-

Christain Broadcasting Network- $295M

Regent University- $60M

American Center for Law and Justice- $13M

Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism- $44M

Liberty University- $395M

Jerry Falwell Ministries- $4M

Liberty Counsel- $1.4M

Family Research Council- $15M

American Family Ass- $21M

Alliance Defence Fund- $30M

Focus on the Family- $130M

Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission- $3M

Traditional Values Coalition- $10M

Coral Ridge Ministries- $17M

Faith & Freedom Coalition- ?

Wallbuilders- $1M

Concerned Women for America- $12M

 

And look at these nice names- we must be the evil ones to oppose such righteous groups.

We have no choice to but to be confrontational- otherwise, these powerful groups will succeed in overriding the Constitution and making this country a Christian theocracy.  These idiots lobbied Congress to violate the Constitution in the 1950's to make our national motto "In God We Trust," and they changed the Pledge of Allegiance to advance their Christian agenda.  It is about time we said enough and confronted these people who have nothing to offer but a return to the dark ages with their religiosity. 

Comment by Ron V on May 7, 2011 at 10:49pm

Shay, I'm sure many people on this site can recommend many things to read to help prepare you for "coming out."  The following helped me in my departure from Christianity:

The Portable Atheist

Who Wrote the Bible

Jesus, Interrupted

The Rejection of Pascal's Wager

god is not Great

God, the Failed Hypothesis

The End of Faith

The Religion Virus

Freethinkers

The Evolution of God

The Varieties of Scientific Experience

Atheist Universe

Breaking the Spell

godless

The Christian Delusion

Holy Horrors

The Demon-Haunted World

Fighting Words

The Power of Myth

The New Atheist

 

You may have already read these.  If not, I hope they are helpful. 

Good luck!

 

 

 

Comment by Anathema6205 on May 7, 2011 at 10:59pm

YES YES AND HELL YEAH.

This whole thread was full of WIN.

More of us need to think this way.

It's been too long that we let them trample all over our rights while we smile and take it.

We need to start standing up against them- or we won't have any rights left to stand up for soon.

 

Comment by Michael Andrews on May 8, 2011 at 12:57am
It looks like now is a good time to "come out" (again!) as an Angry Atheist. Nice to know you're not alone. I'm angry at Religion, Conservatives, The Media, and just about Anybody who wants to stick their nose up my ass! The American Public is being led-by-the-nose to create an America where I won't belong, where my death would be nobody's loss. A place where so many hard-won battles for Justice, Fairness, and Inclusiveness will be lost to a world of Christian Evil! Indeed, "EVIL" is exactly how I see Religion. Because Anyone who is out-to-get-me is my Enemy. So, yeah, I'm an Atheist Looking For A Fight!
Where do I sign up, Al?
Comment by Al Stefanelli on May 8, 2011 at 3:25am

Heya, Everyone.  Thanks for making your points of view known.  Alfredo, yes, we are coming to a point where we are about to be railroaded, because we are now a huge pain in the ass to them.  As in the past, they have managed to keep us quiet through fear, but many of us are no longer afraid. I have long since stopped caring about who I offend, who I piss off or who wants to kill me.  I've got so many death threats I've lost count.  In fact, the entire last chapter of my book are death threats, including one of ten fatwas that call for my execution on site.  I don't give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut.   I am disabled and I ain't gettin' any better.  I've got a few years left in me and I'll be goddamned if I am going to use my time unwisely.  Someone's gotta tell this fuckwits that there ain't no Santa Claus, that adults with imaginary friends need to seek professional help and that we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore.  I am done being nice.  They can kiss my decaying ass.  Where do you sign up?  Wherever you can make your dissatisfaction known. Wherever you can answer with logic and reason every time you see some religious bullshit laid down somewhere.  Wherever you can type in a text box, then write something.

Comment by Robert Karp on May 8, 2011 at 8:40am

Great post Al. I too am frustrated by the daily articles, bullshit, propaganda and shoving down our throats and in our faces of religion in this country especially.  I see so many people wearing so many crosses on a daily basis it makes me want to puke.  If engaged and called out I am well prepared to make my case and unload a truckload of ammo onto the "righteous".  I wear my atheism on my sleeve, on my car and very much make it an apparent part of my life. Pretty much anyone who knows me, knows I am a non-believer and an anti-theist. 

 

Having said all that I do still go back and forth on how I feel about the way in which we should approach the argument and fight the fight. I still am not a fan of the billboard project by American Atheist and I am very much not a fan of the President of AA, David Silverman. I find his arrogance laughable and foolish. I think that to earn respect, our movement needs to show intellect above all else. Argue reason. When we use the "invisible man in the sky" argument, it is saying we mock you.  To me this will not bring people around to considering becoming a non-believer.  It's a fine line to be a polemicist and a bully. I feel strongly that we can be very aggressive in our words and actions while at the same time, not acting like children and calling names and saying my way is better than yours nah nah nah nah.  We should be angry at the efforts of the christian right of this country to warp history and to try to pass laws that push this country into more of a christian nation than it already is. It makes me furious as well. We do need to fight, and stand up and call people out. But in a smart way. 

Comment by Ron V on May 8, 2011 at 9:13am

I agree, Robert.

Although I have let made my anger and frustration apparent in my posts, I continually tell myself to remain calm and logical if I ever get into a discussion about religion/god.  But just planting the seed of doubt can be liberating for someone years down the road- many people can't even imagine a world without god.  If we simply show someone that we can be "good," friendly, productive, intelligent, etc. without a belief in god, I think that may be enough to change this world for the better.

Christians like to think Christianity and Jesus are the light of the world- to me, there is no doubt that science is the only real light out there- and I think it is the only thing that can save humanity from destroying itself and the planet if we the population continues to grow at its current rate.

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