I regularly meet people from various walks of life who must have words with me concerning my weekly essays in the papers, something that must be expected, given the nature of the topics that I write about. Fortunately for me, so far, most of the comments I get are encouraging and come from people who can identify with my ideas and sentiments on various levels.
I find this interesting, considering the Christian society in which we live. I am always particularly respectful of those who disagree with my conclusions but who will frankly admit that the articles are thought-provoking and worth the read. Those are the “spiritually” mature ones, in my opinion —the ones who are secure enough in their faith not to be perturbed by the erratic rantings of a disbeliever.
But there are the weak in spirit, who need their God and their religion as badly as a crack addict needs his cocaine, or a baby needs its mother’s breast milk; those who are struggling with their demons, whose lives are obviously in shambles, and the only way to keep it together – to make themselves feel better and to appear more righteous than the average person is through religion. They are the ones who approach me in the most subtle and creative ways, in an attempt to silence me. They come innocently, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, beating around the bush, and trying to “suggest” to me what I should write instead, or how I should write it, when what they really want to say is: “I feel offended. You succeed at making me feel foolish for believing certain things. Why can’t you write about other stuff? I wish you would stop. Please leave my God alone!”
I refer to those believers as the God-defenders — the cry babies of religion. They are the ones who are always quick to jump to the defense of their God and their religion as if they were the ones who invented the whole idea. It is because of them that the word “blasphemy” still exists, and is not as obsolete as other words like “thou”, “thee”, and “thy”.
If God has a problem with people criticizing and making fun of him, let him deal with it himself. Is the almighty God not competent enough to fight his own battles? Does he require your help? Is he incapable of handling his own affairs? Having respect for someone’s beliefs does not make that person’s beliefs exempt from criticism. It simply means that you acknowledge the person’s right to hold any belief and to not be persecuted or harmed for it in any way – something which religion has yet to learn. But what if those beliefs are harmful to others and a potential threat to society? What if people’s rights are being oppressed as a result of those beliefs? What if those beliefs are the cause of division and discrimination in society? What if those beliefs give certain religious people justification to abuse children, torment homosexuals, treat women like second class citizens, and kill those who ridicule their God?
What if those beliefs are indeed hilarious, like the story of Balaam’s donkey in the Old Testament, which was fed up of Balaam’s ill-treatment and decided to speak up and tell Balaam to cut it out? Should one stifle one’s laughter and pretend that such stories are not ludicrous? Some religious people just don’t know how to play fair. For centuries now, religion has been boldly, and arrogantly (in the absence of any substantial evidence) proclaiming that there is a God, to the point of controlling people’s personal lives, oppressing various groups of people and murdering countless others, all in the name of their God. Yet, when a non-believer takes to the print media to advance arguments as to why he thinks there couldn’t possibly be a God, the religious thinks he is the one who is arrogant.
Religious people are allowed to be 110 percent sure that their invisible, missing-in-action God exists, yet the non-believer is supposed to speak in a dubious manner about the lack of evidence for God’s existence. The religious ridicule and criticize other religions all the time, yet they are so offended when the non-religious do the same. Atheists are labeled and stereotyped as lawless, satanic, and according to the bible, as unbelieving “fools”, yet the religious cry foul when the non-believer uses adjectives like gullible and closed-minded to describe them.
I actually met an individual who had the testicular fortitude to attempt to convince me that atheists are the closed-minded ones. While the religious continue to hold on stubbornly to their beliefs, even in the face of contradictory scientific evidence, while they continue to avoid reading or listening to any different perspectives, the non-believer remains open-minded. Not only is he more familiar with the bible than many believers, but he has also researched all major religions and read widely on science and philosophy – all this in his quest for knowledge and truth. All he requires in order to believe in a God is the evidence, yet he is closed-minded?
For years now, our local newspapers have carried some sort of religious section, while our television media allow the religious to host their religious programs. I am almost sure no one has ever complained about the various preachers trying to convert people to their religion. Yet, this same individual, who must have been paranoid, was of the view that I am trying to build a cult of followers – yes, you read that right. He apparently thinks that atheism is a religion.
I can just imagine myself at the helm of a weekly assembly of atheists singing and giving praise and thanks to Charles Darwin or Christopher Hitchens, while reading selected passages from “The God Virus” and “The Origin of Species”. I can envisage me preaching the good news of non-belief in every street corner, giving out pamphlets and threatening those who do not convert with hell fire. So, by all means, take up your cross and follow me on Twitter or Facebook if you wish. I guarantee you that I won’t ask for tithes and offerings!