Monday, December 15, 2008

My existence threatens you

Recently in my local paper, letter writers have been criticizing those who have been protesting the passing of Proposition 8.  The funny thing about some of these letters is that they're acting like they're the ones who are being oppressed.  Of course, I'm talking about those who are arguing it from a religious point of view.  They complain about how people are being "intolerant" of their religious views.

I've been noticing lately that a lot of Christians like to play the martyr role nowadays.  You'd think that they were still being fed to the lions or something.  Now, I'll actually give it to them that in certain circles, there's almost a public acceptance of mocking Christianity in a way that mocking Islam, Buddhism, etc. would not be seen as okay.  They have a right to point out that sort of a thing, but then there are those who take it too far like with the whole "War on Christmas," as though somebody saying "Happy Holidays" is oppressing them.

But what really gets me are these religious types who think that they can say whatever they want about gay people (or any other group that doesn't fall into line with their belief system - including atheists like myself sometimes).  They spew their ignorance and then act like they're the ones being bullied when people like myself tell them how full of crap they are.  In other words, they demand a level of respect for their beliefs that they are unwilling to give to anybody else.  After all, they're right - they believe in the true religion.  It's okay for them to limit the rights of a certain group of people, but don't you dare tell them that they're bigots - even though that's true.

I wonder if I make the same mistake though.  Obviously, I am critical of religious beliefs on this blog.  I can also be a very vocal critic as well.  However, do I demand that people not criticize atheism around me?  I'm not so sure.  I think that I do get upset when people misrepresent what it is and say ignorant things like how we think "everything's a big accident" or there's "no point to life".  That just bothers me because I'm being misrepresented, and they obviously haven't taken the time to understand where people like me are coming from.  I suppose the equivalent would be if I said that Christians believed that Jesus was the God of Thunder or something - that sort of thing would be simply ignorant.

I guess I don't mind if people truly critique atheism around me.  Why?  Because I've never heard a critique that directly addresses exactly what atheism is.  It's always a bunch of strawmen.  Basically, I'm pretty secure in my non-belief.  I don't feel the need to defend my lack of a belief in God the same way that I don't defend my lack of a belief in unicorns.  To me, if you get all bent out of shape when somebody points out the flaws in your belief system - especially when these are flaws that are grounded in logic and reason and not strawmen - then perhaps you're not very secure in what you believe.

I realize that I'm rambling a bit here, but what prompted it was that a sign from an atheist group that was posted on public property - next to a Christmas manger scene - was stolen.  Apparently, some Christians found it offensive.  (Basically, it read that there are no gods, angels, heaven, hell, etc. and that religion is nothing more than myth.)  Personally, I don't give enough of a crap about these sorts of things one way or another.  I don't find manger scenes objectionable, and I wouldn't go through the trouble to put up a sign like the atheists.  However, if one group gets to put up something that endorses a certain point of view, then why doesn't another group get to say that it's wrong?

Apparently, for some of these Christians, they'll stop feeling oppressed when they're allowed to say whatever they want without anybody being able to call them out on their horsecrap.

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