A page on Facebook posted a link to this photo today:
Naturally, a little argument ensued. People were complaining about how Jesus was shown here (obviously), and other people fired back that it was true, etc. you know the drill. Anyway, someone said they were getting tired of seeing "atheist shit" on the page, and asked what was wrong if you just believe in God, and you're not using it for money or power, or whatever. I told him and anyone else listening that since the religious get to post things about what they believe and how they think, then nonbelievers should have the right to express their thoughts as well. Another person came in and told me that this was not an opinion, this was simply trolling, and if he insulted my beliefs I'd get mad. I told him it really should not be a big deal.
I come back an hour or so later and a few more people have responded. The previous person posted as well. He said, "But it's really offensive saying that someone important to someone's faith is a myth. I hear atheists and agnostics talk about how Christians should be more tolerant of other people's beliefs, but when it comes to our beliefs, they're usually very intolerant. If I even mention how I believe homosexuality is a choice and how I believe it's wrong, they start cursing at me and calling me bigoted."
Now, I am quite through dealing with the people on that thread, as they will only drive me insane. But how could I explain? Christians hate on atheists and other beliefs quite often. They still ask that we respect them, but how? How can someone expect me to respect their disrespect?
I wana see the FSM on that post card too!
I sometimes tell people that I respect their right to believe whatever makes them feel good, but I don't have to respect what they believe. Because I can't. I tried for years, and I just can't. (And I feel better now.)
Or, this oldie:
Do you beleve in Zeus?
Do you believe in Isis and Ra?
Do you believe in Baal?
Well, I just believe in one less god than you do.
There's also (Ted) Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.
sk8eycat, that reminds me of a routine by the late, great George Carlin.
Man: "Do you believe in god?"
Man 2: "No"
Man: Pulls out a gun - Bang! Man 2's dead.
Man: "Do you believe in god?
Man 3: "Yes"
Man: "Do you believe in my god?"
Man 3: "No."
Man: Pulls out a gun - Bang! Man 3's dead.
And the reason?
Man: "My god has a bigger dick than your god!"
*Snorrrrrrrttttt!* I've heard or seen almost all of George Carlin's routines, but never that one. WONderful!
It also reminds me of a filksong (that IS the correct spelling) that used to be very popular at SF conventions:
My god's better than your god,
My god's better than yours.
My god's better 'cause she's got eight tits. (Or any other bizarre attribute)
My god's better than yours!
Sung to the tune of the very long-running Ken-L-Ration dog food commercial.
There were so many variations that the stupid thing could go on all night if people were silly (and/or drunk) enough to tolerate it.
Christians say whatever they want whenever they want and call it "faith", or "deeply held beliefs". They also spout hateful Bible verses and defend themselves by claiming it's just "God's Word". They have no problem claiming their beliefs are superior to everyone else's, and implying (or outright saying) that every other religion is false. Then if anybody dares question or criticize them they start whining about how persecuted they are. They don't deserve automatic respect for their beliefs any more than a person deserves automatic respect for any opinion.
They crave "persecution." It validates their arrogant fantasies. ("The creator of the universe...or the flat earth...loves me! He listens to me! When I'm finished with life here, I'll get to go live with him forever and ever.") That's what Christianity is all about, me-me-me-me.
How could they possibly respect anybody who differs with them when they are so wrapped up in themselves? They see a mere difference of opinion as an attack, and they attack.
Not all Christians are like that, but the publicity whore fundaMENTALists are giving the rest of them a bad name anymore. I sometimes wonder how many Sunday pew-sitters are closeted atheists... keeping quiet for the sake of their families and jobs.
Whee! USC - 17, Notre Dame - 7. Whoopie. And it's not even half-time yet.
Sorry. The game is on behind me...I wanna see the white horse.
Many Atheists who used to be religious would argue that they were never stupid or idiots. They were coerced and/or indoctrinated. When I talk to a religious person about faith, I talk about their's and mine. I humble myself and offer my sincere respect of their beliefs, but I demand their respect of my beliefs in return. That usually works and when it does, we become equals in each other's eyes. That allows a free exchange of ideas, peacefully and dignified.
The theist can be smart, clever, and driven. Where they spread certainty about their beliefs, we can spread doubt of their beliefs. That doubt may allow the theist to ask questions, and some of the time, they will decide on their own that asking questions isn't a bad thing. That may lead them to science and the atheistic way of life.
If you can sincerely respect their beliefs and in the process respect them, you can treat them as an equal. When you treat them as an equal, people often reciprocate.