Yesterday I had a little moment on Facebook when one of my friends posted a picture that repeated the “April Fool’s day is the atheist’s national holiday” jibe. I decided a few days before that I would embrace this meagre attempt at cleverness by the religious crowd, and make the day my own. So I posted a comment to that effect on the image.
I’ll be happy to claim April Fool’s day as international atheist day. And I’ll tuck into some Halaal hot cross buns to celebrate :)
Were my exact words. I don’t think that this is particularly offensive or dismissive. What I was aiming for was something along the lines of “sure, whatever.” My comment about the Halaal hot cross buns is a reference to a recent tornado-in-a-teacup that erupted when the South African Woolworths chain dared to print a halaal certification on their spicy bun packets and a group of Christians felt that this was an insult to “their” tradition.
Shortly thereafter, another friend posted the following comment:
Do you have doubts about your atheism? Why do you keep on about it? Most atheists just quietly get on with living their lives the way they like. Its not necessary to denigrate other peoples beliefs. They need the support mechanism.
Well, this is exactly why I “keep on” about atheism. Because I am expected to shut up and behave myself like a good Christian while the bible crowd can happily make statements such as:
Fear of God has vanished and that means that humanity has vanished.
~Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
I pity any offspring you might have produced and can only pray for it.
~J.N Laubscher, via email
I speak out about atheism and religion because it is the right thing to do. Never mind my constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, if I was to sit quietly by (and if all the other vocal atheists were to zip their lips too) then we would only ever hear one side of the story.
People who doubted their beliefs would never know that there is a large, and growing, community of people who have found a way to live a meaningful and positive life without the fear of post-mortem punishment.
If atheists didn’t speak out, would we know about the Roman Catholic Church’s systematic abuse of children and their decades long protection of the paedophiles who perpetrate that abuse?
Would homosexual people ever be able to openly and freely express love for one another?
Would we even know that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around?
Religion demands obedience and submission intellectually, emotionally, sexually and physically. It demands that you give up your ability to think critically about the world around you and the things you are told by people in authority, and if we do that we are lost.
I “keep on” about atheism because I think that religion is the greatest long con of them all and the sooner we pull the wool from our eyes the better.
You don’t need the “support” provided by believing in a fairy tale. You have a family.
You don’t need the intellectual suffocation of faith, you have a mind.
You need to speak out and not shut up. I do, at any rate.