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lindagray

Conclusion of a Conversation with a Christian : from atheists.org

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I do want to be clear that I think religion is the most vile, puerile, barbaric, and damaging invention humans have ever come up with. It is incalculably dangerous and has caused more suffering than anything else throughout history or in the world today. If I could rid the world of religion in an instant, I would without hesitating. But like science, religion can be used for good or for evil. What this really tells us is that morals are independent of and separate from both. Science allows us to accomplish certain things, and those things can decrease suffering (surgery, air conditioning, etc) or increase suffering (torture devices, nuclear bombs, etc). Religion can decrease suffering (cause people to decide to commit their lives to being charitable, although it is my opinion that absent religion, these same people would likely have made that choice anyway, e.g. working for a non-profit) or increase suffering (open any newspaper and take your pick). I do hate what religion causes people to do, but since people are also the source of religion, it’s really people who do this to each other—via indoctrination, via forced conversions, via state churches, etc—and people who do this to themselves.

Part of the reason I became an activist is that I want people to know that they can free themselves from the personal turmoil of being religious. The world is not some cosmic battleground between good and evil. It’s just chemistry doing what chemistry does under the conditions of observed patterns (we call them laws) of physics. Given enough time and the right conditions, chemicals can form life, and eventually you get conscious entities like us. That’s it. Existing chemicals on this planet and energy from our star come together to make up our bodies, we live for awhile, and then we die. Life is so short and it breaks my heart to see people wasting away their time, money, energy, and passion on something so damaging and so childish and so ridiculous as religion. There are so many better and more meaningful ways to experience life, ways that don’t hurt other people, ways that don’t put your brain in this self-imposed prison of fear. I want my fellow humans to enjoy the same freedoms that I enjoy. I want people to be able to express themselves through fashion instead of wearing what ancient bigots allegedly said people have to wear. I want people to be able to express themselves through dancing and art and music and tattoos regardless of what ancient bigots allegedly said is off-limits. I want people to be able to enjoy sex with whomever they want, given that we’re talking about consenting adults, regardless of what ancient bigots allegedly said. Life is just too short to  live by other people’s rules, especially when there is absolutely no authority behind them.

If you want to know what it’s like to be free, the most amazing thing about being an atheist is that there is no such thing as a thought-crime. There is no one to punish you for being curious or for wanting to try a certain food or dress a certain way or be attracted to someone you can’t help but be attracted to (regardless of the sex of either of you) and so many other “forbidden” things. If you want to say “God damn it,” you can. If you want to sleep in on a Sunday, you can. If you want to genuinely help hungry people without forcing them to sit through a sermon first, you can. If you want to mock Muhammad, you can do that, too. I’m not saying there are no rules—we still do live in society and we do still all have to get along with each other—but people don’t have to be afraid of something that isn’t there. There is no cosmic judge. We humans are responsible for ourselves; we’re responsible for our own planet, for our own governance, for our own justice, for our own ethics, for our own mistakes and joys and meaning in life. Being an atheist to me, above all, is about being free. There’s no feeling like it.

– Dave Muscato, Public Relations Director

atheists.org

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