When I was a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Blogger Barry, in a recent post, said that he’d halted on his path to becoming an Atheist. He does not say that it was because he was taught that Atheists are evil, nasty or sinful, but that is the reason that many ex-Christians won’t admit that they have become Atheists.
Tired of the judgemental, accusatory, denominational bureaucracy and hypocrisy, he still wished to identify as ‘spiritual.’ It is quite possible to be spiritual, without being a member of any Christian sect. His last stop before getting off the Christian bus, was at Mormon.
He still visited Atheist websites, and admitted that he had remained a Christian. He was amazed at the vehemence of some militant Atheists, who insisted that any and all religions were harmful. He admitted that, being ‘inside the box,’ perhaps he did not understand the claim. He asked, if he was not harming himself, or anyone else, how could his being a Christian be harmful?
When we tell small children that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy exist, are we harming them, or society in general? Probably not, or only a minuscule amount. However, when children get to be 7, 8, 9 years old, we tell them the truth, and show them reality. To allow them to grow into adults who still believe in things like the Tooth Fairy, can cause harm in a variety of ways.
If an individual or sect is allowed to treat their particular and peculiar superstition as reality, then both the believers and society are harmed. It also inserts the thin edge of a wedge. If one is, then all religious opinions must be accepted, no matter how strange or unreal. The more people there are, who treat fantasy as fact when dealing with life and the general public – the fewer people who cannot and/or do not, deal with secular reality – the more harm is caused, both to the believers and to society.
Critical thinking is incredibly hard, but also incredibly important. We can’t learn and grow without it. We have to question our own ideas and motivations, so that we don’t get stuck on there being only one correct, acceptable idea.
Next comes the slippery slope. Once strange unprovable beliefs are allowed, the holders quickly try to turn acceptance into licence. If politically powerful enough, they try to pass laws enforcing membership in their sect, and making disagreement with their views into heresy and apostasy. Kindly old George H. W. Thousand Points Of Light Bush once said that Atheists should not be allowed to be American citizens, or patriots.
My opinion of Blogger Barry’s intelligence and mental strength, based only on reading a few of his posts, is that he is not, and probably won’t ever be, directly harmful to society. Sadly, he’s one in 10,000 – or maybe a million. There are countless hordes, who are only too willing to use their religion as a justification to inflict physical, mental, emotional, social, or financial pain and damage to countless other victims.
God is for the wise. Religions are for fools. If only more people would grow out of the childish need for an imaginary friend to protect and guide them, and become adult enough to face the universe and life as it really is, and not just how they wish it were. 😦 😯