20120424

Why coming out as an atheist is important

Why would it matter if some random person, like me (or you), should state publicly if (s)he is an atheist or not? Though we live in the 21st century, the century of great scientific and technological advance, we are still unfortunate witnesses of strong religious movements and terrible acts done by those who still believe in bronze-age fairy tales. The number of people claiming to be religious is still bigger than that of open-out atheists. By open-out I mean those who are not afraid to say, publicly, that they don't believe in a deity of any kind. Why is this so? I blame cultural pressure. Our grand-parents are religious; our parents are religious; ipso facto we are religious. It is hard to break free from all the teachings stuffed in our heads since we were too young to think critically. But, not only is it hard - we are also lazy. It is much simpler to go with the flow, to not question and accept what we are told without asking questions. It is much easier to fit into the rest of society, than to be ostracized. But ask yourself only this: is it the right thing to do?

I believe not. If we allow ourself to be silenced, to be ignored by the masses, what good does it do? It is my honest opinion that we must stand by people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and never-to-be-forgotten Christopher Hitchens. We must be the foundation of the new society in which critical thinking will be the basis of every research; in which logic and reason will replace personal prejudice and misjudgment; in which science will take precedence over religion. And that's why every voice is important. Most of us are not great scientists, writers or artists; we don't have names to back us up; but we have the power of science, logic and reason, and our numbers are growing steadily. As our voices are becoming louder, our message rings clearer in the ears of those who have the power to change things. And we must be heard, lest we return to the dark ages, where unreasonable faith overpowers rational thinking. Strength comes from numbers, and we have to understand that. Without numbers, we are nothing - a mere buzzing of a fly, which, although annoying, poses no real threat (of course, I don't mean threat in any physically harmful way). Just remember how very retarding religion has been to scientific and technical improvement throughout the ages. If not for the inquisition, the silencing of critical thinkers, the burning of books etc., who knows where we'd be by now. I won't say we'd be visiting other worlds, but...

And even if you don't care whether people know you're an atheist or not, think about this: with every person declared as a believer, the religious congregation (s)he 'belongs to' gets more money from the state. This is an important fact, since more money for some church means less money for science, medicine, art and numerous other branches of society that would use that money for a better purpose. Think about that when the time for the next census comes, wherever you live.

3 comments:

  1. Not important at all. Whether you do it or not, the society as we know it is still going down.

    /Amor

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is my honest opinion that we must NOT stand by people like Richard Dawkins...

    It is the right of all free human beings to believe what they like, and what you are advocating is just another form of evangelism, preaching by people who "know" they are right. Please read Knowledge or Certainty for a fuller explanation of this point of view.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you can't deny that we do know some things with complete certainty. And weather we know with certainty or high probability, what I think is most important is the way we think about things. That is, a critical, inquisitive, curious questioning, but in the way science does it - proof, proof, and when it's proven, more experiments and more proof.

      Also, in your post, you say "Obviously, religious faith is, ipso facto, the acceptance of a set of beliefs without concrete evidence, but that is not a good reason to ridicule those who hold those beliefs unless, as a result of their beliefs, they stray into areas of thought about which they know nothing." I think this is an excellent reason to ridicule faith. Acceptance of anything based on thousands of years old books, religious leaders' words or simply the way you were raised is a lazy way out, and the one that should be ridiculed.

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