Sunday, March 17, 2013

Anything but an atheist

My brother sent me this. Nice, isn't it? Why is atheism so threatening?

When it comes to religion, no matter what you believe, it's a minority belief, worldwide. Face it, whatever your beliefs, the majority of human beings disagree with you. But that doesn't seem to bother most modern believers, not when it's some other religion. Not having a religion at all? That's a problem.

You can be a Muslim, a Mormon, or a Moonie, and the Boy Scouts will welcome you with open arms. You can worship Kali, Thor, Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, and they won't have any problem with you. But don't believe in a god at all? That's not allowed, not in the Boy Scouts.

Why are atheists so threatening, but Hindus aren't? At a time of virtual holy war in the Middle East, when Muslim terrorists have struck at innocent Americans and vow to do so again, why are Muslims still more accepted - far more - than atheists?

Don't get me wrong, I think Muslims also have a right to their beliefs. I think they're wrong, but that's OK, since they think I'm wrong, too. We can agree to disagree. I certainly don't assume that they're all terrorists. But many people do,... and still they fear atheists more.

Funny, isn't it? Why is it OK to believe in any religion you want, but not OK if you don't believe in any of them? If you're Christian, members of all those other religions disagree with you. Heck, even within Christianity itself, there's little agreement. But it's generally only atheists you fear and hate.

Why is that? Is it because you think we're right? Maybe you don't fear all those other religions, because you know they're just superstition. You're never going to join the Scientologists, the Sikhs, or the Buddhists anyway, so they're no real threat. But atheism is a threat, because you just might decide to face reality someday?

Is that it? I don't know. But what else could it be?


Jeff said...

Why do religious people fear atheists? Hmm...that's a toughie to say the least.

Is it the "loss of the mystery" thing, for lack of a better term? Living in the bubble, so to speak?

Is it a vanity thing? A few quotes come to mind:

"On the first day, Man created God" (Anonymous)

"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshiped anything but himself." (Richard Francis Burton)

My flavor-of-the-month quote: "Vanity is definitely my favorite sin. Self-love, the all-natural opiate." (Al Pacino, "The Devil's Advocate")

Or perhaps it's a more salient issue: POWER. I've always differentiated between spirituality and religion. To me, spirituality is about looking inward; contemplating one's existence, seeking inner enlightenment. Religion is projecting outward; acquiring and holding onto power to control other people. If there is a God "up there," I've never had an issue with "him." My issue is with the spokespeople "down here." Of course, I'm talking about organised religion, the church establishment. Why? POWER.

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful." (attributed to Seneca the Younger)

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion." (Steven Weinberg)

And I would be remiss if I didn't get in a Star Wars quote:

Palpatine: "Remember back to your early teachings. All who gain power are afraid to lose it. Even the Jedi."
Anakin: "The Jedi use their power for good."
Palpatine: "Good is a point of view, Anakin."

Anyway, that's the best I can come up with, WCG. Logging onto the LJS and poking Jody P in the eye is good fun, but it just doesn't provide sufficient intellectual exercise for me.

WCG said...

Well that's why you read my blog, isn't it, Jeff? For the intellectual exercise?

Guaranteed to raise your IQ a few points every day, or your money back. :)

Jeff said...

"Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous"

- Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 2

WCG said...

Clearly, you won't be demanding your money back. :)