If you’re like me – or even if you’re not like me – chances are that you have friends that run the spiritual gamut from religulous to irreligious. In this great country of ours, with the protections of the Constitution that "… shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" you can rest safely knowing that your right to theism or atheism is protected equally and, with the added bonus of freedom of speech, you can talk about it all you want or not at all. Lately, however, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among some atheist groups where advertisements even as innocuous as the one below seem to be acting a little hostile toward those of religious persuasions.
Now, I have no problem with atheism – it’s just not a personal path for me; likewise I would hope that my atheist friends would share the same respect and we’d all just agree to disagree on this particular matter. This trend, however, is really obnoxious for the same reason that Xtian ™ and other religious propaganda is obnoxious – it perpetuates an “us versus them” mentality and presupposes one paradigm is somehow superior to the other, thus creating a culture of exclusion as opposed to dialogue.
There are some people who just happen to be atheist or “apatheist” who I greatly enjoy reading about or watching on TV such as Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, Stephen Fry and many others. With the exception of the Fry, I will say that Dawkins takes his anti-religion stance a little far and Maher, while I can respect his comedy does jump to some pretty interesting conclusions about the nature of religion and religiosity. Equally, there are some religious people I greatly look up to who happen to be religious but also go a little far in their dismissal of atheism and non-theism.
So, why am I angry – well, douchebaggery such as that exhibited in these signs is just stupid and doesn’t help the case for atheism or atheist groups at all and really casts a negative light on them in a culture where atheism is a minority belief and held by many to be somehow suspect. If people want to get together for rational discussion, by all means do it and I’ll support it but for those on any side that somehow decide their paradigm is superior to my own or another’s; well STFU and get over yourself.