Why don't you ever pick on ______________?

Oh come on now, you know where this entry is going. If you've been an atheist for any amount of time beyond a few days, someone WILL ask you a variation of this question.

Why don't you pick on the Hindus?

Why don't you pick on the Pagans?

Why don't you pick on the Buddhists?

I used to think that this sort of question was a defense mechanism, someone cornered asking why we big bad atheists are picking on one of the Abrahamic traditions (I have a soft spot for attacking the Jesus-flavored bullshit myself).

Now I know better, it isn't defense. It is a redirect. The question isn't "Why are you picking on me out of everyone?" it is "These other religions are obviously bullshit, why don't we pick on one of them together?" It is a coward's exit strategy, someone who has grown exhausted of your arguments against their beliefs offering up a sacrificial lamb (so to speak).

It would be easy to say to them that yes, I think all of those religions are also filled with superstitious nonsense. It might even be fun to toss around how strange it is for grown people to believe in magic. In fact we constantly do just that here on thinkatheist.

BUT!

Not with them. Never with them. Because why I think a religion is bullshit is that I do not believe in magic, I do not believe in miracles, I do not believe in a divine deity of any sort and because of that I will not bow down.

They believe other religions are bullshit because their bullshit said any one else's  bullshit was bullshittier.

Our common ground isn't common at all.

So I tell them that I am attacking Christianity is because here in America it is Christianity being used to oppress. In the Middle East they use Islam and Judaism to likewise oppress, and as much as they proclaim that their gods are "good" or "great," they only use them for the most vile purposes imaginable.

They separate, they dehumanize.

They aren't just asking us to call other religions bullshit, they are asking us to agree that these other religions are filled with lesser humans.

For now Christianity, Islam and Judaism are the worst offenders.

If that tune changes, and the other religions start up? Well it's obvious...they're next.

Views: 274

Comment by Doug Reardon on March 18, 2012 at 12:42pm

I pick on all religions, all New Age crapolla, all conspiracy theories, all supernatural garbage, in short, any and everything which has no basis in the scientific method 

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on March 18, 2012 at 1:02pm

I agree completely with Doug. Anyone who states that their belief system is the truth is leaving it open to be scrutinized. If it does not stand up to the Scientific Method - the best system we have for testing any hypothesis - then it is not worthy of belief (imo). However if someone still wants to preach from the pulpit that they are right and I am wrong then I will “pick on them”. I do not distinguish between religions. They are entitled to believe whatever they want. They get picked on by me when they start to interfere with the running of society by trying to influence political policy. They get pick on by me when they force their beliefs on children. All “woo” systems get the same treatment from me. If someone tries to sell water as a cure for cancer or tell me my birth date has some significance because of the positions of stars billions of miles away they will be picked on. We live in the age of scientific discovery and science supplies the answers. There is no need for any iron-age creation beliefs or new-age mumbo jumbo. They all get pick on because they are all just superstitions and unworthy of being allowed to propagate further as ideas worth considering.

Comment by SteveInCO on March 18, 2012 at 1:06pm

Certainly they are all worthy of condemnation.

But one must pick ones' battles and right now the guy who is screaming in my face is a Christian.

But Carol is making a different (and also true) point here.  And that is that stating in the same place at the same time as the Xian, that those other religions are a crock, looks like you are allying yourself with the Xian, that you are sanctioning their sectarian attacks on those other religions.    And make no mistake, their attacks on their competitors are based on their Christian premises, not your rational ones.

That is what they are after, the sanction of the rest of American society.  That is why they are so hard over on America being a Christian nation, or even more specifically, "founded on Christianity," and why they paint the current conflict with Islamic terror as being a crusade, and a crusade in the specific sense of being Christians against Muslims.  To them it is not just a modern civilization fighting religious barbarism, it is two different religions duking it out.  And by tacitly endorsing their attacks, by agreeing that Islam or Hinduism or whatever are bad--after they, behind your back, set the terms of what makes them bad--you've helped them accomplish this.

Comment by Dale Headley on March 18, 2012 at 3:55pm

   I suppose I WOULD pick on Hindus, Pagans, and Buddhists if they showed up on my doorstep Saturday mornings telling me I'm going to burn in Hell.  

Comment by Victoria Plaskett on March 18, 2012 at 4:18pm

The problem is xians think that by correcting them we are picking on them.  When accussed of "picking on them" remind them that a discussion of beliefs is not picking on them, just because your points are vaild and able to be proven.  That you also would love to discuss this with any reiligious faith.Additionallly maybe you should tell them that having your beliefs "picked on" is nothing compared to the tortures that many people of non-reiligious belief face ( even here in America) through out time.  Maybe then hearing giggling when some says " I love Jesus" will be more tolerable when they consider that it beats being burned at the stake.

Comment by Emperor Milos on March 19, 2012 at 10:13am

They believe other religions are bullshit because their bullshit said any one else's  bullshit was bullshittier.

Love it! Best line I have heard in a long time.

Comment by Raymond Baker on March 20, 2012 at 6:03am

I agree that supernatural beliefs should be shunned on all angles regardless of the source, as they inspire poorly informed and potentially dangerous decisions.  However, the only religions that I actively criticise are Christianity and Islam as those are the only ones visibly causing suffering.  I see little reason to group Judaism with those other two in terms of visible harm (I understand the Abrahamic roots and all that).  Perhaps I just haven't heard of the radical militant jews yet, but the visibly dangerously violent religions are the ones that bother me the most and are the focal point of my 'religion is bad for the world' perspective.  As much as I hate how the Israel government uses its military to occupy and displace people from their homes in West Bank, I never assumed religious reasoning but political (at least the rhetoric regarding the conflict isn't religious).

Until a Taoist revolutionary group starts advocating wholesale slaughter and repression (maybe I'm just in the dark on that one too), I'll categorically delegate it to 'other harmless religions' in my books and largely ignore it.

Comment by Hank Hell on March 20, 2012 at 8:45am

I don't just "pick on" people who I disagree with. I am a firm supporter of the right to be wrong. I don't care what other people believe, no matter how silly or different it is. What separates the Abrahamic religions from others is their expansionist nature. Paganism, or Buddhism, never compromise my freedom, but the religions of Abraham always do. The idea that man is created in the image of god is an inherently evil idea, and the concept of "believe us or burn in hell" is a statement of absolute war against anyone smart enough to see through them. I don't care if someone worships oak trees, of thinks they were a chicken in a past life, what I care about is harsh and cruel judgmental ideas like in the bible. I'm going to wear what I want, have sex with who I want, and say whatever I want, and if Christianity stand in my way I'll blast right through it with a smile.      

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