Sunday, August 03, 2014

You Can Keep Your Religion, but...

When I first started this blog back in the Autumn of 2006, I tapped out this brief declaration in which I exhorted religious people to give up their religion.  At the time, I saw my blog as a platform for atheist evangelizing, and I perhaps naively hoped way back then that I could write posts that would cause religious believers to acknowledge that they could and should abandon their religious beliefs.

Time and experience have since mellowed me in this regard.  Don't get me wrong, I still think it would be great if people abandoned superstitious religious beliefs, and I still proclaim that the god of the Bible and the Quran is no more real than leprechauns or the Loch Ness Monster.

What has changed is my sense of priorities.  As a parent of two children, one 13 and the other 11, one of my most important responsibilities is to do my best to raise them to be educated, morally autonomous young adults who can behave responsibly, earn a decent living, and make positive contributions to their community.  This is one facet of my life where I feel that I need to focus on getting things right, for lack of a better word.   It is more important for me to be successful in my personal life, being a good father, a good husband, a good son, a good neighbor and a good citizen, than it is to be an atheist telling religious people that the beliefs they hold dear are not true.

I have since come to divide religious believers into two broad camps.  One camp consists of religious people whose beliefs fall under what I call Inner Fulfillment Purposes.  They practice their religious beliefs because it gives them a sense of meaning, purpose and joy.  I don't really have a problem with them.  The other camp consists of the Busybodies.  These are the people who feel that their religious beliefs give them license to insert themselves into the lives of others.  They run the gamut from the relatively harmless Jehovah's Witness who will ring your doorbell on a Saturday morning to the Muslim extremists who will beat you do to death because you allegedly wrote something insulting about the prophet Muhammed.

So, if going to church on a Sunday morning or synagogue on a Friday evening floats your boat, far be it for me to complain about it.  But as far as the Busybodies are concerned, they're still fair game to me.

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