There is a meme floating around the internets lately that I take issue with. Huffington Post Religion reposted it on their Facebook account this weekend, but I have seen it before from religious friends and family members.
I’m an atheist and I live in reality. I’m sorry if reality gets in the way of someone’s faith-based beliefs. But reality is what it is. If religious believers don’t want their beliefs ridiculed, instead of trying shame us, they should just stop having such silly beliefs!!!!! They certainly shouldn’t be trying to bully us by equating criticism of beliefs with homophobic, misogynist, and racist religious believers.
This is an attempt by religious believers to protect their ridiculous beliefs from criticism. Note that atheists aren’t being accused of shaming religious believers for their silly and ridiculous beliefs, but rather for shaming religions. Religions aren’t people, my friend. Religions are systems of beliefs. They are institutionalized ideas that should not be exempt from criticism nor should they be exempt from ridicule when they are ridiculously silly.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think religious believers are stupid necessarily and so I take issue with other atheists who call religious believers stupid. That shuts down discussion and prevents us from educating religious believers about the nature of reality. But let’s not pretend that religions and religious beliefs are not stupid, silly, and ridiculously absurd. I’m sorry, but a guy born of a virgin who turns water into wine just cannot be taken seriously. It is a ridiculous belief and I will laugh at that belief. I will mock it. I will call it silly. I will let those who believe such silliness know that they are believing in a ridiculous belief.
When Tom Cruise talks about how he has superpowers, Christians laugh too. Don’t try to blame atheists for laughing at ridiculous and silly beliefs. We all do and should laugh at irrational beliefs based on insufficient evidence.
As far as the reindeer games go, religious believers should look in the mirror. Last I checked, they were the ones who continuously try to bully atheists and are continually trying to prevent us from participating in their reindeer games. This is a particular problem during the December winter season ironically enough. Atheists have been trying with limited success against religious obstacles to put up seasonal displays next to religious displays on courthouse lawns. But religious believers block us and insult us every time just for trying to be included just because we don’t believe in their deity.
This meme is insulting because it attempts to whitewash what religious believers are doing to marginalize atheists while at the same time, it tells atheists that it is okay to be an atheist as long as you hide it, keep our mouths shut, and sit at the back of the bus. Apparently, religious believers are not shamed into hiding their beliefs no matter how ridiculous those beliefs are.
This meme attempts to give them a pass and prevent any criticism of their ideas. It admonishes atheists for “shaming religions and spirituality as silly and not real” but at the same time it shames atheists for speaking out against lies and false information. That is not okay. Religious beliefs can be dangerous and atheists have every right to criticize those beliefs. That is not only perfectly okay, it is the right thing to do. In fact, it would be immoral not to shame religions as being silly and not real. How else are they going to learn? How else will they stop using those silly and false beliefs to justify dangerous and harmful actions?
- Coming Out As An Atheist At Work (www.skepticink.com)
- Religious/Secular Misconceptions (www.skepticink.com)
- Liberal Talk Show Host Claims Atheism Is A Religion (www.skepticink.com)
- ‘Scientific Method led me to Jesus Christ’ (www.skepticink.com)
- The Open Market of Ideas (www.skepticink.com)
- American Atheists sue the IRS for equality (examiner.com)
- Human Light: A new godless tradition (examiner.com)