‘No Reason to be Hostile Towards Religion’

That is the title of a fascinating recent post from TEWSNBN. It is based on a post by my friend Bruce Gerencser, who was addressing whether he is hostile towards religion. Shall we break it down?

TEWSNBN’s text shall be in purple, and should I quote from Bruce, the text shall be green.

Atheists, as you know, are very hostile towards religion. However, it is not all religions they do not like or do not tolerate. it is actually just Christianity that gets under their skin.

BG has once again provided a very accurate list of reasons why atheists, in general, are hostile towards religion. This is not a comprehensive list and some of the reasons probably would change depending on the specific atheist you talk to.

As we look through the list, all of those reasons can be boiled down to one simple fact- the Christian is not doing religion the way the atheist wants it done.

You will find that while atheists do not accept other gods from false religions, they do not attack those religious beliefs as often or as fervently as they attack Christianity.

We know that the atheist would never say the things they say about Christianity about Islam. They know that the Muslim does not necessarily turn the other cheek and the atheist does not have a death wish.

I can’t speak for Bruce, but I have witnessed quite a few debates and arguments (and even taken part in a few of them) with both Christians and Muslims, so I don’t know where TEWSNBN gets his info from. If he is using Bruce as the benchmark then it is hardly surprising that he thinks atheists generally go after Christianity at the expense of all else, but he is managing, as ever, to woefully distort (heh) Bruce’s position and twist it to apply, in a misleading fashion, to all atheists. Bruce’s background was as a pastor, he was someone who lived and breathed a particular kind of Christianity, and his experiences – both positive and negative, and especially since leaving – have shaped his views. Bruce did not leave Islam, he left Christianity, and copped a huge amount of flak from fundamentalist Christians who have hounded him, pleaded with him, and harassed him, all because he has dared to share his opinions. In those circumstances, would you be more or less inclined to feel warm and fuzzy inside about the faith you left behind?

I know people who left Islam and spoke out, for similar reasons. TEWSNBN’s idea that people don’t speak out about other religions, least of all because of threats of violence, is both a subtle form of Islamophobia and it ignores the aggression and hostility of fundamentalist Christians towards anyone who does not follow their exact form of Christianity.

But why attack  Christianity? If there is no God or Jesus as they claim, then whatever the Christian does, should not matter to the atheist. it would be a harmless religion among thousands of harmless religions and no threat to the atheist.

Also, the Christian teaching should not bother the atheist for it would not be true and as harmless as a gnat fighting an elephant. BUT since the atheist is so up in arms about Christianity, that means that the teachings of Jesus are a threat to the atheist because they are true.

I dare say most atheists simply do not care to comment one way or another, but those that do, do so because they are tired of religious interference in their lives. TEWSNBN has often complained about ‘selfish’ secular attitudes, yet how many times as an atheist knocked at your door to convert you? How many ‘atheist’ churches are there where members actively seek out people to preach to? There is interference – but not in the direct TEWSNBN thinks.

Organised religion has a history of this. Be it Christianity or Islam, or for that matter a host of other religions, organised religion has kept people in conflict, held communities back in fear, and treated women like cattle. Yet to desire a life free from the shackles of organised religion is unfair?

The atheist has no love for anyone, including their mates, children, and other family members as they continue to lead them away from the truth and keep their ‘loved’ ones in sin.

If anyone is doing any brainwashing at home or elsewhere, it is the atheist as they continue to preach a message they cannot prove to be true. They will preach it to anyone that will give them the time of day.

What a load of bull. I have never seen an atheist preaching on a street corner. I have never heard of children being brainwashed into a cult of atheism. These are desperate generalisations on TEWSNBN’s part.

Does TEWSNBN understand where Bruce is coming from? Is he even prepared to make the effort for once? Here, let me help you… Bruce has this to say, right near the start of his post:

I have a number of friends and acquaintances who have all sorts of spiritual and religious beliefs. Do I think some of their beliefs and practices are strange? Sure. But, their beliefs are theirs and they have every right to believe them. I am indifferent towards their beliefs. For these friends and acquaintances, spirituality and religion is personal. They have no desire or need to convert other people or argue about whose religion is the “true” one. For the most part, they live according to the Live and Let Live maxim. I would be an arrogant fool to be hostile toward this kind of religion. I know that, for many people, religion and spirituality serve a purpose. They benefit from their beliefs and practices and many of them find meaning, purpose, and direction through their religions. Each to their own.

Bruce does not rally against those who do not rally against him. If someone wishes to live their life believing in something Bruce does not, he is fine with that! I’m sure Bruce does not need my help in pointing that out (it is pretty bloody obvious after all), but since TEWSNBN is being selective in what he reads, it feels necessary.

TEWSNBN ends his post with this:

It might be better to let God rule instead of those people who want to exclude God from government and legal proceedings.

Which version of which God? As ever, if I were to ask that question of people of different beliefs, I would get different answers. TEWSNBN would argue for his specific version of Christianity, a Christian of a different denomination would argue differently, as would Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists… you get the picture. With that in mind, and with no theocratic system being able to fairly rule over all the rest, it is best to have none of them rule.

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