It was a typical, unreasonably hot day when I was sitting outside on my college campus. Then, out of nowhere, an older gentleman steps onto a platform and starts preaching from what appeared to be the Bible. He preached loud in a southern drawl as large masses of college students walked by. Can you smell what’s cooking? It’s a recipe for disaster. Among some minor mocking jabs at the man, it couldn’t have been longer than 5 minutes before the stereotypical “badass rebel” Atheist walks along, and arrogantly shouts over him:
“GOD DOESN’T EXIST. IT’S ALL A VOICE IN HIS HEAD. FREE YOUR MINDS”
To which people around me laughed heartily as if loudly proclaiming such a thing required any balls in today’s society. If anything, the guy choosing to preach loudly to a bunch of disinterested, cynical college students is the ballsy one. Yet the irony appeared to be lost on one individual student, for while he mocked the older gentleman claiming he needed to free his mind, this kid used the very same tactics, to preach his own very close-minded doctrine.
Now look, I’m not a fan of Bible-thumping myself but everyone is entitled to his/her beliefs. I believe in God, but I see it more as a personal thing than something I need to be shouting at people, or constantly trying to justify to every person in the world. If you truly believe something, you don’t need to seek justification or trivialize the beliefs of others.
That being said though, if anybody fits the bill of “shouting at people” or “trying to justify their views to everyone” it’s Atheists by a HUGE landslide. It also doesn’t help that Atheism is constantly framed as the only “intelligent” view, as if people who believe in God are incapable of being intelligent individuals.
This doesn’t apply to ALL Atheists mind you, as I know there are many who are respectful and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the obnoxious arrogant ones who like to marginalize every religious person, trivialize every religious belief and get offended by every mention of “God” ever uttered. The unfortunate thing is that these hateful and spiteful Atheists, in particular, constantly seem to make up the majority.
Atheists will claim that very same thing about believers as justification for their behavior, but I simply don’t see it. In fact, I’m almost convinced that these Atheists are more obsessive about other people’s religious views than many religious people themselves. I know many people who have their beliefs, but it seems like Atheists are the only ones who are basically a hardware tool away from literally trying to hammer their views into my head.
One of the more recent tales, that I’m sure will appear in the modern day Atheist’s Bible (amongst otherwise blank pages) is the story of 16 year-old Jessica Ahlquist. Jessica is a young girl who was so offended by a prayer banner at her school, that she filed a suit to get it taken down, and succeeded. She takes Atheism so seriously, that she got “offended” by words that really have no bearing on her life. Oh, but don’t worry- she has no issue celebrating Christmas.
After she succeeded in getting the prayer banner taken down, she received quite a lot of hate… to the point of needing to switch schools. While this has been framed as “look at how hypocritical Christians are,” I’m fairly certain many, if not every Christian I know would denounce the hate sent her way. Generalizing doesn’t get us anywhere. I’ll admit that it’s horrible, but while this kind of behavior is unquestionably vile, are we all going to just disregard that there are Atheists that say similar things to marginalize and bully people of faith on a daily basis?
On top of it all, at the moment of this writing, $34,194 has been collected in contributions by supporters of Ahlquist’s “bravery” to pay for a college scholarship. I’m sorry, what? Not only is there nothing courageous about filing a lawsuit after getting butthurt over something that effects your life significantly less than Christmas, but she won, and got her way. There’s nothing “unpopular” about what she did as being an Atheist has more or less become a “badge of honor” in society today by the “intelligent” community. It’s only courageous and “ballsy” when you take a stand that’s often looked down upon, not constantly put on a pedestal. Rosa Parks’ actions were courageous. Jessica Ahlquists’ were not.
While I’m sure this discussion could easily turn to the separation of church and state, or a more general religious debate, that’s not the point I’m focusing on here. Perhaps our own personal experiences shape our perceptions, but mine has always been that Atheism, while not in the majority, is the more vocally “accepted” view in our society. Religious views seem to be constantly marginalized, and while I’m sure it happens in reverse against Atheists, it’s nowhere near the capacity.
Either way, the point is, whether you worship God, worship science, or love them both: Why does anyone care?
Just enjoy your life, treat people with respect and be happy.