Some of the memes that make the rounds are really dumb, but others are serving a purpose. They are well thought out, succinct, true, and the best ones really hit a nerve with people who need to examine their dogma. I think of them as single-serving conscience checks. I don't have to sit and argue, just plant a seed and let nature take its course in a person's mind.
I have seen people get hatefully, violently angry in response to a ten-word meme. Their misspellings and faulty logic can be amusing, but what is not amusing is the vitriol that is spewed in defending their "loving" god and their faith that they say is responsible for all of the good in the world.
For some reason, religious people in this country think that any good that is done in the world is a direct result of belief in god or god working through people. They tend to forget that there were humans on Earth for millions of years before the invention of the Abrahamic god. They don't see that in order for humankind to survive there had to be an innate ability for people to be good and do good without belief in a supreme being. They conveniently ignore the fact that millions (billions?) of people on Earth right now are Good Without God.
The other, most important, thing that they willfully ignore, is the vast number of people who do awful things in the name of religion. They rationalize Boston Marathon bombing, September 11, and couple who killed a SECOND child by not getting him medical treatment and relying on faith healing - while serving probation for the killing of a toddler in the same way back in 2009, by saying these people are aberrations or "not true Christians."
That fallacy doesn't hold water with me. None of those things would have happened if not for the perpetrators' dearly held belief in religion. Aberration or not, the catalyst was their belief in a myth and their conviction that they were doing what "god" wanted them to do.
There is nothing that apologists can say that will excuse the wrong done in the name of religion. People are inherently good and will do good regardless of belief in a deity because our very survival as a species depends upon getting along with one another and encouraging the forward motion of our society by protecting every member of the group. That all changes when the mindset is changed with brainwashing that introduces the us vs. them mentality that is the basis of religion.
If I can piss of one person and make him reconsider what his "belief" is doing to other people, then I have done a good thing for humanity. Bring on the memes!
This week the owners of TIKI Printing in West Valley, Utah, refused service to Atheists of Utah based on their rejection of religious belief. Naturally, they didn't come out and say that, but they used the good old standby of pretending that their discrimination was warranted because they were "attacked." This is another example of people using their dogma to ostracize and demean another group. When did it become de rigueur to equate a difference of opinion with a personal attack?
The owners of TIKI Printing in West Valley are Christian and found the message a personal attack on their faith. “We weren’t going to be the delivery method for that message that demeaned our beliefs,” TIKI Printing owner Sam Saltzman said.
Atheists of Utah say refusing to print the shirts is discrimination.
“I found it quite shocking that an organization that stated that they were Christian would not do business with someone because they were not Christian,” said Connie Anast with Atheists of Utah. She says her group is being unfairly singled out by TIKI.
I have been discussing this in several fora this week, and the prevailing response by believers is that the atheist group should just "stop making a scene" and "stop trying to oppress people because of their religion" and "These folks have their religion; you have yours. Go find some other screen printer. It really can't be that hard" and "You sound just like that fool Richard Dawkins."
Right there is exactly the reason I created this blog. In the past the so-called "nones" - nonbelievers - have silently allowed the religious majority in this country to have their beliefs. People are encouraged to respect religious belief which, in my mind, is exactly what has led to this type of growing discrimination and the expectation that nonbelievers submit to what amounts to mental and emotional slavery.
Yes, you read that.
I have been roundly chastised and verbally abused for daring to say that. I have been told I diminish "real" slavery by using that word. True, it is an emotional word, but one of the wonderful things about the English language is the nuance a word can convey.
What would you call it if someone decided you should be treated as less of a person and not entitled to the same respect and rights as the majority?
What would you call it when people abuse (yes, emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically) you and deny you rights because you are not just like the majority?
What would you call it if you were treated like this and expected to accept the negative treatment and not talk back about it, but just subscribe to the majority's treatment of you as a second-class citizen?
I think the comparison is an apt one, as it illustrates the problem inherent to this sort of thinking (and to "respecting" religious belief), namely that - like all people who have ever tried to oppress another group - believers want nonbelievers to sit down, shut up and take the abuse.
I just can't see how a business that advertises itself as a screen printer can justify turning away a customer based on a difference of opinion and call it an attack. Would they treat a Muslim group or a Baptist group or a Quaker group the same way? Likely not.
I find it curious that as atheists and other nonbelievers are becoming a larger segment of the population of the United States It is becoming more accepted in this country to discriminate against people with no belief in deities. It leads me to wonder if treating atheists as second-class citizens is a response to church organizations seeing the writing on the wall, a response to the fear of losing their privileged status.
What are your thoughts? Do you see an increase in religious groups demeaning those who do not believe? Is it maybe just that it has become a hot topic in the past few years, and that the treatment hasn't changed but the media jumps on it and we see and hear it more because it is a "trendy?" Or is it more of a response of nonbelievers finally standing up to religious groups that are trying to make laws and deny rights to others based on their traditions?