This in response to an opinion piece on CNN by what appears to be an atheist from the U.K. that thinks atheists should learn from religion.
I think I know what this fellow is trying to say, but his misunderstanding of atheists and secular society is so muddled, one can’t really tell what he means.
He thinks he speaks for atheists? That was the most irritating thing in this opinion piece. He doesn’t seem to know very many atheists and if he is one, he is an uneducated, inexperienced atheist and those are the worst kind.
Most atheists are very well aware of what religion does and does not do for individuals, that is why they are atheists! The reason why religion has been so successful, is because it was the only game in town and over the centuries was politically powerful and still is, but today many people are learning that the bad side effects of religion are not worth it. If you disagree, take the Christopher Hitchens challenge: “name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever“. (No) And another challenge, “Can anyone think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith“? (Yes)
This fellow fails to mention how science has improved life for almost everyone alive today and has reduced suffering throughout the world. He needs to do more research about how beneficial a secular society is for both the believers and the non-believers. That’s right, never mind, he’s British. He wouldn’t understand. He is forced to support the Church of England and he can’t imagine life without it or something like it.
If things were like they should be, and the sectarian and secularist can live and let live, activist atheists could stay home and find something else to do. But, until the majority of theists continue to believe in the literal interpretation of the bible and use the political process to shut down secular and scientific progress. “We” activist atheists will continue to try and protect everyone’s freedom of conscious, which is really what is at the core idea behind freedom of religion, but it also means freedom from religion.