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Angry Atheist

  • Sunday, December 30 2012 @ 06:04 MST
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Chantelle Rants Evil Scientist recently posted the following video on his FB feed and rather then re-post it, I've decided to blog about it because I have a lot to say on the subject.

As Greta Christina points out in a long and far-from-complete list, there are plenty of reasons to be angry with religion. I understand this anger as I've never really been known for holding back when things annoy me. In recent years, I've learned to channel my anger more effectively and if you watch the video, you will see Greta Christina's valid argument FOR channeling anger for positive social change.

With my new-found freedom from any sort of religious belief (something I've been discovering in steps and stages since I was about five-years old) I have met with the objections that many atheists have grown weary of hearing long before I “came out of the anti-theist” closet. I would like to address some of these.

“Why do you have to go there? It makes me uncomfortable.”
Just because something is uncomfortable, does not make it offensive. In the same way I don't hesitate to mention that I'm a socialist and point out all that I believe is wrong with the current federal and provincial governments, I'm not going to hesitate to point out what I find wrong with our largely-biased Judea-Christian society. Calling a particular philosophy a “belief” does not mean that it can never be questioned and that any skepticism on said philosophy is somehow bigoted and malicious.

“How can you say that the world would be more advanced without religion? Look at all it has had to contribute to the arts.”
The problem is, how much art and culture have we missed out on BECAUSE of religion? What has been lost to history because a particular painter painted an interpretation that was not accepted by the current religion in power? How many compositions were never written because the composer was not accepted by the church and not allowed to create? It's not uncommon (even in modern times, as pointed out by Greta Christina in the case of the destruction of ancient statues) that one culture's artistic ventures have been destroyed by the latest rulers who don't approve of such art on the basis of their beliefs.

“You can't say that about a religion because it is also a part of that person's culture.”
I put up a Christmas tree and say Merry Christmas and put out a Nativity scene this time of year because it is a part of the culture in which I was raised. I do not believe that Christ was born the son of God by the Virgin Mary on December 25th. See the difference there? Celebrating a certain holiday is not contingent on any belief. It's based on personal history and tradition. It's also based on certain physiological factors. Most cultures that are in colder and darker climates during this time of year have some sort of feast and celebration to alleviate the sadness that can be caused by a lack of vitamin D.

Culture and belief are two entirely different things. Wearing a head scarf because it's a part of your culture and a bit of a “nerts to you” to the reactionary fear-mongers (post 9-11), makes sense. Wearing a head scarf because not doing so makes you a whore who deserves to be raped based on an ancient, fictional novel does not make sense.

Culture and tradition do not get wiped out just because we have a greater understanding of the world around us. Clinging to ancient texts as justification for misogyny, bigotry, violence and hate have a far greater capacity to destroy a culture than do the questioning of beliefs.

“Well, my church isn't like that.”
How is that not your first clue that religion and belief might be one big lie? The Catholic Church was the end all and be all right up until someone with enough money and power decided that he didn't like rules. SHAZAM! Just like that the Church of England was born. That was the first chip in the Christian windshield because after that, Christianity starts to spike out in a zillion different directions and still hasn't stopped. Each claiming that they're right and everybody else is wrong. It's pretty much like that in every other major religion too. It's all about interpretation without a shred of proof or fact. What I'm trying to say here, is it doesn't matter whether you drink Coke or Pepsi or choose orange soda over cola or iced tea over pop. They're all equally bad for your health and the health of society.

As it has been said before “atheism is not a belief, it is a conclusion.” So, yes, I am going to question religious belief in the same way that I am going to question sightings of the Loch Ness monster and the power of crystals to heal. And yes, sometimes, I will be angry about it because willful ignorance is maddening.

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