Friday, 18 September 2015

Vocal atheists - The same as theists?

I've had two separate people over the last week accuse me on twitter of doing to theists exactly what I complain about theists doing atheists. 

I seems certain people are unable to tell the difference between 'Live how I tell you to, or burn in hell forever' and 'please stop telling me to live how your holy book demands.' 

To make it simpler, it's 'Do this or pay' versus 'Please leave me alone.' The difference, I'd have thought, was pretty straight forward. It appears for some, it's a little too hard to understand. 

Theists want to tell two consenting adults they can't get married. I don't. 
Theists want to have mythology taught as fact. I don't. 
Theists want to ban abortions because of some imagined disapproval from a god. I don't. 
Theists want to ban sex education in schools. I don't. 
Theists want to ban or limit adults having access to contraception. I don't. 
Theists want society to run on rules contained in their holy book. I don't. 
I don't want to stop theists being theists. They want to stop me being an atheist. 
I don't want people to think they're flawed just for being people. Theists do. 

Do I really need to continue? 

What I *do* want is a society based on secular humanist values. Why? Because we're not all religious, but we are all humans. Those of us who are religious aren't all of the same religion and of those who are of the same religion, they're not all of the same branch. Secularism is fair to all. If you're a Christian who wouldn't be happy living under the laws of Islam, you should understand that an atheist wouldn't be happy living under the rules of Christianity. 

We are all humans and we share this planet with billions of creatures. We share it with them. We borrow it from our descendants. Humanism is the best way I know of to look after each other both in our species and those we share the planet with. Earth doesn't belong to me any more than it belongs to a dolphin, a kangaroo or a gum tree. 

Secularism doesn't mean the end to religion. It doesn't mean banning religious belief and shutting down religious buildings. It doesn't mean you can no longer believe whatever you want to believe. Secularism means separating the government from religion. This might not appeal if you're currently a member of the religion that is in the majority but imagine if you're part of a religion that's in the minority. Imagine you're a Christian, a Hindu, or an atheist, and your government isn't secular, but Islamic. Imagine being told that you had to pray towards Mecca five times a day. I'm confident you'd be unimpressed. Secularism protects you.
What I do, in vocal atheism, is a reactionary position. It's a position I feel the need to take up because of the imposition of religion onto those who don't wish to be imposed. I feel that I'm fighting back. If religion was kept to churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other such buildings, as well as private homes, you'd soon find atheists going quite quiet on the subject. 

At the moment though religion is present in government, courts, schools, scientific research labs, and county clerk offices. The issue with this is that the basic premise of theism - that a god exists - cannot be demonstrated to be true. Therefore any rule, instruction, obligation, or objection that comes from an exclusively religion origin is invalid. When religion starts getting imposed anywhere outside religiously dedicated buildings, it's being imposed on those who don't subscribe to it. I don't see how anyone can think this is fair. Even if a god did show up and say same sex couples aren't allowed to marry, I still don't think we'd be obliged to comply. 

Not every law is going to be welcomed by everyone. A balance needs to be reached. The question is, how do we go about reaching that balance? Secular humanism, that's how. When compared to any religion, it's a better option. It is the one way to ensure that decisions are reached with a goal to be fair to all, to treat everyone equally, and to strive for the well being of everyone. Secular humanism achieves this by having an objective look at the consequences (good and bad), and the advantages and disadvantages of the decisions that are made and chooses the path that is the best for all.

Contrast this with religious rules which are based on the unprovable, and, some might say, ridiculous, notion that 'this is what my god wants'. Yeah, well if you're a follower of the biggest religion on the planet, you're god is okay with me beating a slave as hard as I like, just as long as that slave doesn't die within three days. So please excuse me if I don't take your god's word on what is and isn't best for society. 

How is what I'm doing different to theists? I'm asking that people be left alone, I'm asking that people are allowed to go about their lives not impacted by what others may imagine to be true and that we live in a society that's fair and equal for all. 

Theists, on the other hand, demand that we all live their way and threaten that we'll burn in hell if we don't. 

Related: Vocal Atheism. It may not be what you think it is
Misconceptions about Atheism

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