Why Do Atheists Care So Much About Religion?


My Response:
Theists often say, "Why do you dedicate so much time to criticizing religion?" My main reason for criticizing religion is because it is very harmful to society. I also enjoy learning new information, spreading ideas, and being publicly active.
Beliefs often inform actions and often impact others; we don't live in "moral vacuums
in which no one else is effected by our thoughts and actions. Having less irrational and unjustified beliefs is best. We should strive to have beliefs as consistant with reality as possible and hold the search for justified beliefs above anything else. Religions make unsubstantiated claims and people are told to accept them "on faith." We should demand evidence, reason, and argument for extraordinary claims.

I find that discussion of ideas and a critical examination of organized religion is imperative because it is extremely harmful to society, harmful at a personal level for many, and informs politics. Let's just consider the current state of gay rights, stem cell research, womens' rights, etc. How about the child rape and torture in the Vatican where who may be the most evil man on earth, Joseph Ratzinger, is covering up child rapists for "the sanctity of the church." How about Vatican officials and missionaries, including the Pope, going to Africa and telling people that condoms can make AIDS worse, that condoms transmit AIDS, etc? How about children being denied adoptions because the prospective parents are gay? How about the Knights of Columbus marching to ban contraceptives?...

Personally, religious beliefs directly endangered me when I felt afraid to leave my dorm room because people were inciting hatred and violence. Tremendous amounts of people sent me hate mail because I filed a legal complaint against a manger scene and menorah (although not many Jews were not mad at all). I've had family members and friends disown me just because I have a different perspective than them. Religion is harmful...don't kid yourself. It's very worthwhile to discuss these issues.

My intent is not to "destroy" traditions and beliefs, but rather to put information out there so people can think rationally, be informed, and challenge themselves. Sure, I'd love for these beliefs to go away (keep the traditions, I don't care, but just don't get the government involved in it). If your belief in the Christian god, for example, is so important, you should be sure to research the arguments of the people who don't believe and come to a decision based on an extensive research...just like I did. I came to the conclusion that my beliefs were insufficient and unjustified, so I gave them up.

Belief should not because of comfort, fear, popularity, duress of others, family members, etc. As the Bible says, believers should be able to defend their faith and do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)...so they certainly should be interested in crafting and presenting this defense.

The truth matters...and it's simply not there in religion. NO claims about any gods made by believers have been demonstrated to be true; there's no rational reason to believe in any gods. Despite this, people go out preaching the "truth" while teaching children that they are unworthy sinners who deserve to be tormented in Hell if they don't accept the love of Jesus. People are told that their lives are worthless if they don't believe in God. People are taught that a totalitarian dictator named Yahweh can read their minds, punish them for thinking, and send them to eternal torment if they don't follow the rules that he arbitrarily sets up.

As usual, not all theists are harming others with their beliefs, but many are. Not all theists, of course, believe in a hellish torment if you don't believe in God, but many do. Some theists I know actually want to have the discussion, but many simply don't. It's quite sad.