I am asking that you put your preconceived ideas about me and my blog and this post aside and open your mind before you read the rest of this. Please. Some of you desperately need to hear this.
I flat out admit that I harbour small amounts of fear of even the most lax, liberal, progressive theists. I am also afraid of spiders. That fear is irrational. Fear of religion is not. In fact, aside from my fear of losing people I love, I would say that my fear of religion is the most rational fear I have.
I am not trying to insult believers. I am not saying every believer will do something in his or her lifetime that is frightening. I am merely stating a fact. I know plenty of atheists who have deconverted from many religions who I do not fear, now that they do not believe anymore. It is the belief that causes me to be afraid. Let me explain why.
It’s not that I think you’re a bad person. It’s not that I think you’re stupid. It is not that I don’t think you should have rights, and freedoms and liberties. In fact, it is precisely because I would fight to the death to protect your rights, that your belief scares me.
The thing that is so terrifying about faith and belief to an atheist, is the fact that it’s a clear indicator that you have no standard of evidence for the things you will believe. To someone who is not inside of your head, this forces us to wonder what else you could be led to believe.
When you talk to us about virgin births and walking on water, turning water to wine and rising from the dead, as though these things are historical fact, we are forced to be afraid of the other ideas you might accept without evidence.
It is fact that good people are led to believe awful things all the time. It is fact that grown adults, with intelligence and compassion, are duped into joining cults all the time. It is fact that moderate believers can and have been led further into their faith to the point that they have been compelled to commit awful acts of violence.
The fact is, without evidence, you believe the impossible stories of the Bible or the Quran or the Torah. The fact is, you have zero standard of evidence for what you will accept as fact. We have absolutely no choice but to wonder and be extremely concerned about where you might draw the line. At which point does human life, liberty and rights become more important than your faith? At which point do the stories become too much, and too insane to believe? Where are your boundaries, where is your stopping point, and would you go all the way like the Muslim extremists did in Paris this morning, given a good enough story about God wanting you to?
How far would you go to please your God? If you wouldn’t go as far as the extremists, where, exactly is the line you will not cross, and why?
In the heat of debate, I’ve heard and read many believers admit they would kill their child if their God demanded. Do you fall into this category? Why or why not?
I sincerely believe there is good in everyone. Some might call me naive or silly for believing that, but I think every last person on this planet is capable of living a good, compassionate life without harming other people on purpose. I think the men involved in the attack on Paris this morning could have grown to be caring, compassionate human beings had they not been indoctrinated with furious hatred for anyone who said anything sideways about their prophet. I believe everyone has rights, even people who commit heinous acts like murder and rape and genocide. A human is a human is a human and without these awful, absurd and unbelievable ideas driving some of us to hurt each other, we wouldn’t have to wake up to news that a man who tried to make people laugh for a living has been killed in the name of a god for which there is no evidence.
I beg of you, believers, to consider thinking long and hard about what your standard of evidence is. What evidence should there be before you accept something is true? Because if you continually accept things on faith, there really is no line, no matter what you say. You could be led to believe anything, and just like the good people who ended up dead at Jonestown or the normal, average, decent German soldier in World War 2 who only wanted to protect his country and was led to believe he had to hurt innocent civilians to do so, you could be led to do something awful. These people were not idiots. They were not compassionless. They were not awful human beings. They were good people who were led to do awful things because they had no standard of evidence for the things they would believe.
Religion must end because it perpetuates living without critical thought. It weakens the line that good, decent human beings will not cross. It creates fuzzy boundaries and mass gullibility. It says, “here is something nonsensical you must accept on faith” and it makes people outside of your head wonder, if you’ll accept this nonsensical idea on faith, what other insane ideas can you be convinced of?
It puts yourself in danger. It puts me in danger. It puts the world in danger.
I say this to you, believers, because I care about people deeply. I am and always will be a human rights advocate and I would fight for the rights of every last one of you, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, or Satanist. I say this to you, because I give a shit about you. For the same reason I tell my son to be skeptical of strangers trying to give him candy on the street, I want you to be skeptical of these dangerous ideas you so freely believe without evidence. It’s the only way to truly protect yourself.
Our world needs to start healing. I don’t want to wake up to news like the events in Paris this morning again. The only way to fight this extremism, is for all people to have a standard of evidence for what they will accept as fact. The only way to move forward and put an end to these heinous acts of extremism, is to destroy religion, destroy faith and celebrate reason, logic and evidence.