Opening the Lines of Communication

I would like to explain why I believe what I believe. Maybe this will help you understand or deal with atheists in your life.

I have found, in my personal experience, that people who disagree with me on religious issues will often accuse me of evangelizing. I take issue with the term “evangelical” because it tries to paint atheism as just another religion, and subject it to the same treatment as religion. Atheism is not a religion, nor is it a belief system. It is a creed that utterly rejects belief and its systems.

Most so-called “evangelical” atheists would agree with me that, because believers have had it their way for so long, that even the merest peep of dissension is seen as aggressive, pushy – as evangelizing. This is the only frame of reference that believers have. This is what they do – evangelize – therefore, someone who tries to talk to them about their religion in a way they’re unfamiliar with must also be evangelizing.

I also strenuously object to characterizing the assertion that I worship no God because no evidence proves that such an entity exists as evangelizing or aggressive. People think that by characterizing such assertions as aggressive, they can marginalize the assertion and the person making it. Essentially, I feel that people are saying, “I disagree with you, therefore, you are the aggressive one, therefore, I can safely ignore you.”

I have fought such characterizations since I was five years old. And atheists have been historically maligned for much longer and more vigorously than other groups. Forget five hundred years of slavery for the Jews, forget the 200 for Blacks in America, atheists have been persecuted for over 2500 years! We have been standing in the shadows – the shadows of the shadows – and no one should have to live that way. Atheists are the minority’s minority.

Continued

Category(s): Laws, Philosophy, Prejudice, Religion, Society
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