Why are we "wasting our time"?
A good question was asked in our comments section. (By the way a couple of the more vitriolic comments were deleted as I will do if they cross the line of common decency. I also note that I made it clear that if one is Jesus freak this is not the site for them so if they get easily offended—meaning fundamentalist in most of the cases—they really shouldn’t be here. I don’t visit their sites and whine and don’t see why they should visit mine and whine.) Let me answer that question in more detail.
Stanley, who says he’s a Christian but who seems to be a reasonable fellow unlike the other vicious Christians who have already posted here, asks me why if god doesn’t exist I post messages about him. I gave a reply in the comments section. But I think Stanley raises a fair point and that his question and my reply should move to main page because of that.
My reply is basically that Stanley needs to check his premises. I didn’t bother to address god at all. That would make as much sense as talking to the Easter Bunny. I am addressing the dangers of religion.
God is not threat to me or to anyone. Nor am I worried about UFO abductions for instance. But the belief in a deity can often be dangerous and not just to believers but to others as well. Some of the most vicious people around justify their viciousness on the basis that they are on a crusade from some deity.
Some of them range from the deadly to the cruel to the merely absurd. The men who hijacked air planes on September 11 and killed thousands by crashing them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are examples of the vicious. They are genocidal. No surprise as many religions are inherently genocidal. The Old Testament, revered by Jews and Christians alike, is filled with supposed genocidal orders from the deity of that book. I won’t recount the hundreds of thousands of people ordered to their deaths by this god but anyone with even slight knowledge of the Old Testament knows it is there. Of course if we believe the stories there we’d think that Jehovah killed the entire human race at one point except for Noah and his family. If he did that would make him a worse killer than Hitler. But I don’t think he did.
We have the vile Rev. Fred Phelps as another example. He is a Calvinist fundamentalist. He so hates homosexuals, like the typical fundie, that he thinks his god is killing American soldier in Iraq because the US won’t throw gay people into jail (yet). He and his congregation are going to the funerals of American soldiers with vile, hateful signs and picketing families in their moments of grief. They have also picketed with signs that say "Thank God for 9/11". That is pure hatred. But this is not atypical. Many religious people are easily capable of such hatred.
Other beliefs are just absurd but can still be deadly. People who refuse to take their children to hospital when severely ill are an example of this. Some are Christian Scientists (who are neither Christian nor scientists) who think that Divine Mind will heal their children and that death and sickness are a delusion. Others are faith healing Pentecostals who say that doctors are a sign of disbelief and who trust “Doctor Jesus” to heal their children. The good doctor can’t be sued for malpractice since he’s not around but if he could he’d have gone bankrupt long ago. These people kill their own kids with faith.
We have all sorts of other cases as well. So this is not about gods or the supernatural per se. It’s about how people who believe such nonsense act in the real world and how they can hurt others and themselves. If they only inflicted their pain on themselves they would be an amusing diversion at worst. Unfortunately many of them are so infected with their supernatural beliefs that they have no hesitation on hurting others, some intentionally and some unintentionally. In other cases they merely want to use the state for force people to accept theological ideas be it through “intelligent design” rubbish in the schools or “faith based” initiatives funded by the federal government in the US.
That needs to be challenged. I do not advocate restricting the legitimate rights of people merely because they believe the absurd. In fact I will defend their rights even though they would be the first to deny me mine. And while believers of any stripe are welcome to read the site they should know they do so as our guests. Now I know some of them have no inkling as to how guests should behave. So I will clue them in. Keep your comments polite and keep them on the topic or you will be evicted, at least your comments will be.
I spoke to some atheist friends who were joking that a dozen of so atheists should go to a church and one at a time challenge them for teaching nonsense. My thought was that this is silly and wrong. It is wrong because when one walks into someone's church, place of business or home you do so as a guest. You know that a certain decorum is expected from you. To intentionally violate that expectation merely because it was no stated explicitly in a contract is no excuse. It’s rude and ill-mannered. I say the same thing about atheists who go to Christian web sites and harass them.
I think atheists should be better examples of how civilized people behave. So if the comments I’ve seen so far (from both sides but not referring to Stanley here) are an indication of how it will be I am serving notice that they will be deleted. You believers in any fantasy of a religious kind should remember you are guests here. This is not public property.
A shop is open to the public but not public property. A blog is open to the public but not public property. No one has a “right” to use this forum for their own messages except by the permission of it’s owner. Just as no one would have the right to determine what products a public shop must or must not sell. I know I’m asking something difficult for the fundamentalists who have already come here but respect the property of others. I honestly don’t anticipate you will do that. That requires that you must respect others as fellow human beings. And I am sure you are incapable of doing that. But we’ll see if I’m wrong or proven right. Only a trail of deleted comments, or the absence of them, will prove otherwise.