Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The faithful doth protest too much

I once had a student make a stupid comment that implied that maybe I was gay. (I can't quite remember the context, but it wasn't mean-spirited on his part.) My reaction? I just shrugged my shoulders and told him that I didn't care if they all thought I was gay. To me, it's really only important that my wife knows that I'm not gay. I also pointed out that I wouldn't let such an accusation bother me because I'm secure with who I am.

In fairly recent news, some atheists have started an advertising campaign with billboards and signs on buses. Their messages include "Don't believe in a god? You're not alone." and "There probably is no god, so relax and enjoy life." You can read about it at this link. Part of me thinks, "What's the point?" Then I consider the fact that I'm pretty lucky as I don't really have to hide my atheism. Even the people in my family who believe in a god don't shun me for my lack of belief. However, there are a lot of people out there who are afraid to admit their disbelief amongst their family and friends. Shoot, there are probably people who are scared to even admit a slight bit of doubt! So, I approve of these ads, as they're obviously aimed at people like that.

Of course, some Christians are getting their pants all up in a bunch over this. If you do some searching on Youtube, you'll see various TV hosts getting bent out of shape about it too, and they're asking things like, "Are they going too far?"

Seriously? Messages like that pose a serious threat? Are their convictions so shaky that they can't handle even the slightest expression of doubt? I can understand it if the ads said "Jesus sucks!" or "Mohammed can shove it!" or "Heimdall is a douche!" Those sorts of messages would be counter-productive and not helpful for the atheist cause. But letting people know that there are other nonbelievers out there? I think the fact that these people are getting upset says a lot more about their own shaky faith than those who are openly questioning religious belief.

I know that there are some believers out there reading this, and I hope that even though they disagree with my stance on faith, they'll see what I'm talking about with this. I wrote some time ago that I thought it was ridiculous that some atheists were trying to get the song "Silent Night" banned from being sung in the public schools. As an atheist, I have no fear of my children (hypothetical though they may be) being exposed to religious beliefs. I figure that if I arm them with critical thinking skills, they'll make wise decisions.

If you find a message like "There probably is no God" so darned offensive, then maybe you're a tad bit insecure with what you actually believe. And in truth, you're the one who needs that message more than anybody. After all, if I can deal with all the references to God I hear on a daily basis and seeing churches all over the place, you can handle a sign.

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