I just finished reading an older article by Staks Rosch called “Why do atheists care about religion?” It’s a good article, but the comments are what interested me.
Several people in them complained that atheism was the same as any other religion, forcing their beliefs on others.
It’s really sad, I think, when people who DO believe in God, always have to do away with our thoughts and traditions to please athiests[sic].
You fundamentalist atheists are just as amusing, dogmatic and terroristic as the theists–same attitudes, same tactics, same results–just a different set of dogmatic fundamentals
But, there is a difference. That difference is simply evangelism: the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness. I think it’s a bit more broad than that definition. Most religious are evangelistic. Not all though.
But more importantly, the religious often take that evangelism to mean that public policy should be based on their chosen belief system. Christians all over the US are freaking out about the implementation of Sharia Law. Yet they have no problems with basing science coursework on the Bible. Or determining whether someone should have rights or not based on poorly translated passages from the Bible.
Atheists don’t do this. In general, we think it would be better is everyone used reason instead of rules written down 1600 years ago. In general, we think it would be better if people could do what they want to do. And, to me, that includes worshiping whatever deity you choose.
What I (and many other atheists) have a problem with is evangelism. The use of whatever tactics are needed to convert, coerce, or change people, the law, and this country into one that benefits and promotes a specific belief system.
Let me say that again. I don’t care what you believe in.
What I do care about is you using your belief system to justify hatred against out-groups. I do care about you using your belief system to teach wrong information to students who don’t know any better. I do care about the lies promoted against others because they aren’t doing what you think it right.
These are things that re unacceptable. A Christian certainly wouldn’t accept it from an atheist (or Muslim), but atheists are expected to accept it from Christians because their holy book is special.
While various religious groups often claim to be doing charity, the fact that their holy book tells them to AND they often use charity to promote their faith means that the charity really isn’t. It’s evangelism to those in need. It’s a program to take advantage of the people who need help.
Just like everything else. Anything is permissible if it promotes the faith.
What’s really sad is that there are Christians who will disagree with what I’ve said here. But, sadly, those Christians aren’t telling their fellows that they are not helping. Those are Christians who will come here to prop up their belief that we atheists are out to get them somehow.
Again, you can believe whatever you want, I don’t care. But the minute you start using your beliefs to make political decisions that affect everyone or use those beliefs to harm others, then we have a problem. And think about it a minute. If your beliefs cause harm to others, why do you have those beliefs? What kind of an ass are you that your personal belief system is more important than the rest of the people on this planet?
I’ve mention this before, but there is a science fiction series by Ian McDonald that I enjoy. In it, there is a human wide rule. No evangelism. You can believe whatever you want. But you can’t push that faith on others in any way, shape, or form. That includes preventing medical help for those in your religion. That includes charitable acts that involve preaching or promoting your religion. It involves discussions with others, especially in the workplace.
Some religious would hate that because they are afraid it would tear down the moral fabric of our country. That’s fine, you can believe that. You can live by any moral system you want to. You just don’t have the right to promote it or base policy, education, or medical decisions on it.