In recent years, the Atheist creed, it seems, has acquired a sharper edge, a somewhat more fiery mien, if you will. With the emergence of outspoken atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, religion, it seems, is once again under siege by the non-religious community.
Theists are beginning to cry foul: After all the slaughtering of heretics, supposed witches, infidels of all shapes and sizes for two millennial by religious maniacs (Still going on today. Just keep a lookout for the latest terrorist blast somewhere in the Middle East), hey, one would think that some kind of fury should have been given due vindication. But no. We are supposed to turn the other cheek, metaphorically speaking.
But that really is beside the point. After all, atheists are supposed to be rational people, and in any case, we can't hold all of them accountable for atrocities that are already consigned to the annals of history books.
In that case, what is there to be so angry about? Why should we harbor so much anger (supposedly) against religion?
Religious Values Not Aligning With Secular Reality
Unlike Science, religion makes no room for error and change. What has been written millennial ago is supposedly applicable today.
Any rationalist would understand that scriptures of any sort, such as the bible, were written in an era when technology and science were almost non-existent, or at the very least not readily accessible to the masses. Most cultures and races were mostly homogeneous in their own scope of territories, and cultural exchanges were usually conducted with the sword through conquests and other atrocities. As such, religious codes and literary texts would have created a kind of distorted harmony, a kind of cohesion to gel the various tribes and races together. The Jews had their Talmuds, and the Muslims have their Korans. These scriptures became the epitome of law and morality, and are unquestionable to the Jews and Muslims respectively.
As society progresses, the law inevitably changes. While secular law keeps pace with prevailing trends towards philosophical viewpoints and humanism, religious rules do not, thus creating a severe discrepancy.
The bible, particularly the Old Testaments, justifies slavery; in fact, it lays down rules on how a master should treat a slave. Such was the reverence to these rules, that the Old Confederates in the pre-war era before the American Civil War were virtual thriving markets for slaves.
From a alpha male perspective, the master has the right to regard slaves as nothing more than commodities and life stock, ready to be bartered or traded at a moment's notice.
Here are some prime examples of the Bible's attitude towards slavery:
-If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)
-However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)
According to the bible, foreigners can be treated as slaves, and only Jews are exempted. In the modern day context, any adherence to such archaic and cruel laws would be considered an act of lunacy.
And yet, everyday, we listen to news of religious fanatics who want to impose their religious values on secular government. These fundamentalists want the government to criminalize gay sex simply because some ancient mystical writing condemns gays with the punishment of death (Coincidentally, the bible advocates that disobedient children must be stoned to death. Divinely inspired my ass!).
Instead of teaching teenagers how to protect themselves through safe sex, religious abstinence groups are propagating their own brand of bullshit: No sex, no condoms, no contraceptive pills, and yes, no abortion.
We have powerful religious people, such as Popes, who would throw their weight in the political arena and propagate their brand of anti-secular, pro-conservative and anti-humanist ideologies that seem more at home to hell holes in Afghanistan than any freedom-loving country in the world.
As an atheist, I find it extremely impossible to contain my frustrations against such archaic, lunatic views. It is as if the religious movement is attempting to throw all of us back into the 15th century.
Ladies and Gentlemen, its time to grab your stakes, crosses and vampires, because we are going for some witch hunting. Hmm, maybe some vampires would be great. Can't let these blood suckers get away with all the blood in the blood bank, eh?
Religious Fantasies Being Pandered As Irrevocable, Scientific Proof
If you think that only moral values do not reconcile with religious values, think again.
In recent years, religious movements in America are attempting to sneak in what they term "Intelligent Design" as a scientific theory.
The Kansas School Board, in a bid to show the world how stupid Kansas is (I am sure not every in Kansas is dumb, although the school board is), they had voted to teach Intelligent Design alongside evolution, probably in a bid to placate the religious masses.
As far as Intelligent Design goes, it is merely Creationism packaged to sound more scientific: It refrains from acknowledging the identity of the Creator, but contends that life was "designed", and hence evolution is a false theory.
And what is their proof that Intelligent Design is real? Do they conduct any scientific experiments to proof that this Designer exists? Apparently not.
Unlike ID, evolution has plenty of evidence: Fossil records, when tabulated together, form a steady link between classes and species of animal fossils that suggest some form of evolution. Micro evolution has been observable in some instances, and we have geological records to refute these Young Earth Creationists who claim that the world is 6000 yrs old (quite a few billion years off..............).
Really, these Young Earthers ought to apply for some Nobel Prize for their "research". By compilating data from ancient folks listed in the Old Testament, they actually came up with the 6000-yr Earth model. Hell, looks like those geologists who had to dig dirt and shit from the earth must be so screwed up. All those digging, and damn, we are looking at the wrong place! Should have just closed ourselves in the closet and read the bible instead.
I wonder what Christians would want to be taught in science classes next. That Noah did put all the land animals onto his putty little boat(Well, its actually the Ark, but really, who cares?), rain fell for 40 days and nights, the waters flooded the mountains, and so on? Maybe the Christian who contends the story to be true can explain to us how the hell did kangaroos hop from Australia to the Middle East, or the speed at which sloths crawled from the Americas at "near blinding" speed to reach the ark.
If one is to take out the religious element of these stories, most theists will you admonish the idea of these outlandish stories. Unfortunately, the adage that religion being the opiate of the masses is true: Once intoxicated, any form of bullshit can be, and will be justified.
I can go on and on, but the point is this: Religious people have the right to teach what they want to their kids, even if it is downright ridiculous, fraudulent ideas, but keep them separate from our science classes.
Otherwise, they might just incur the wraths of a few entrenched infidels.
Violence in the Name of Religion
When atheists associate religion with violence, theists would retort that Stalin, Pol Pot and even Adolf Hitler are prime examples of murderous killers going through killing sprees.
With the exception of Hitler (He was a Roman Catholic who was never excommunicated. Gasp!), Pol Pot and Stalin never murdered in the name of Atheism. He neither used Atheism as an excuse nor a rallying point for murder.
Religious violence, however, is a totally different ball game.
Take, for example, the terrorist who straps bombs on his body, walks up to a bunch of bystanders, and blows himself up. Any logical person with no suicidal tendencies would find this an act of lunacy.
That would be correct, but only up to a point: Throw in a few theological freebies, such as flurry clouds, heavenly virgins with self-regenerating hymens (Some men are simply fixated with blood from the nether regions), and a bunch of fantastic, grandiose ideas of the afterlife, and the act of lunacy becomes a natural barter exchange: The act of sacrificing one's life for the ticket of eternal bliss in heaven. Sounds logical, provided, of course if is true, failing which, the would-be terrorist believes it to be true.
Thousands of youths, spurred on by such supernatural rewards, have no qualms about blowing themselves up in the name of some deity, and watching these gory episodes on CNN and BBC is one sure way of getting an atheist all hot and bothered.
Justification of Atheist Anger
I cannot speak for every atheist, but most atheists I have come across do not direct their hatred towards moderate Christians (Sam Harris, the author of The End of Faith, feels that religious moderates justifies the actions of fundamentalists).
Personally, I feel the anger comes from an inane frustration that after two millennia of religious oppression, our world is still plagued by Judaistic religions that have become the Achilles heel to the civilized world.
As Sam Harris opines, the word "atheist", or its suggested creed, should never even exist in our dictionary. Everyone is an atheist in relation to Zeus, and yet we don't acknowledge everyone as an atheist. The fact that this word still exists in our dictionary is proof that despite society's wealth of scientific knowledge, we still have not shaken off our infantile beliefs. Somehow, the need for an alpha-male in the deepest recesses of our imagination is still alive and kicking. The question is: For how long?
"How many more architects and mechanical engineers must hit the wall at 400 miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that jihadist violence is not merely a matter of education, poverty, or politics?" - Sam Harris, " Why Are Atheists So Angry?"