Sunday, 8 July 2012

Atheists are just as bad as believers....

‘Atheists are just as bad as the believers’. I hear this a lot. Apparently there’s a lot of people out there that feel what atheists do is just as bad as what the fundamentalists do. Usually fundamentalist Christians – at least that’s what I encounter.

The only fundamental here is the fundamental difference between the two groups. Christian fundamentalism is an offensive position. Although this could be in either sense of the word, I actually mean like in a sporting or battle sense. Christians are proactive. They will seek out people to speak to and hopefully – for them at least, convert. They’re the ones out influencing government policy in their favour, they’re the ones trying to get non-science taught as science in school, they are the ones that are consistently trying to legislate what a woman can and can’t do with her uterus, they are the ones campaigning against marriage equality. Essentially the religious side are the ones telling society that society should live by their rules – often to end up in hell if they don’t. And all this stems from an invalid base. These people are doing all this based on the words of an unsubstantiated, ancient, superstitious book.

Of course I’m taking a generalised view. I’m not, at all, saying that all Christians or theists are like those described above. But these ARE the kinds of people thought of when the ‘atheists are just as bad’ sentence is uttered.

Counter to this, the vocal atheist position is a defensive one. It’s reactive to what the Christians (usually - in the West at least) are doing. Atheists don’t seek out neutral people with the idea of ‘converting’ them to atheism. Yes, there are atheists trying to influence government, but these positions are based on secularism, and asking for a government that shows fairness to all. Vocal atheism is about standing up for equal rights. It’s saying ‘Your beliefs shouldn’t give you’re the right to discriminate, oppress, or negatively impact on the lives of others’. Simply put – If atheists shut up, we’ll still hear from theists. If theists shut up, they’ll stop hearing from atheists.

Basically atheists (as secularists) want a society that is free from religious based discrimination and oppression, not a society that enables it. This is the difference. 

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