Atheist Hemant Mehta posted an article today answering the question, why do atheists care so much about religion? Specifically, Hemant responded to a video by Evangelical intellectual giant (I know that’s an oxymoron.) Mitch Stokes. Here’s the video:
Atheists don’t really care that you believe in what we consider bullshit.
We care about the effect your beliefs have on the world, because faith-based ideas have caused a lot of damage. They’ve been responsible for stalling LGBT rights, wrecking science education, opposing women’s autonomy, obstructing proper sex education, ignoring environmental damage, blocking scientific progress, murdering abortion providers and so-called blasphemers, and breaking apart families.
All in the name of God’s love, of course [love the snark].
If you care about critical thinking, science education, and evidence-based public policies, then you better be speaking out against religion.
Hemant gets right to the point: most atheists don’t care about religion from a theological or personal piety perspective. What they DO care about is the EFFECTS of religion. And for atheists in the United States, our focus is on Evangelicalism, Mormonism, and conservative Catholicism — religions with dangerous theological tendencies.
In April 2015, I wrote a post titled, If Christianity Doesn’t Matter, Why Bother With It? This post generated the more traffic than any other post saved two — Why I Hate Jesus and The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You are in it. Here’s part of what I had to say:
I do care about the influence Christianity has on our culture and government. I do care about the damage done to society in the name of the Christian God. I do care when people are hurt, maimed, and killed in the name of the Christian God.
When Christians want to turn the United States into a theocracy…It matters.
When Christians want their religion to have preference over any and all others…It matters.
When Christians demand atheists and agnostics be treated as the spawn of Satan…It matters.
When Christians attempt to teach religious dogma as scientific fact in our public schools…It matters.
When Christians attempt to force their religious moral code on everyone…It matters.
When Christians attempt to stand in the way of my pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness…It matters.
When Christians abuse and molest children in the name of their God…It matters.
When Christians wage wars thousands of miles away in the name of their God…It matters.
When Christians mentally and emotionally abuse people…It matters.
When Christian expect preferential treatment because of who they worship…It matters.
As long as Christians continue to force themselves on others, and as long as they attack and demean anyone who is not a Christian…It matters.
As long as pastors and churches get preferential tax code treatment…It matters.
As to who you worship and where? It doesn’t matter.
As to what sacred text you use? It doesn’t matter.
I want all Christians to have the absolute freedom to worship their God.
I want that same freedom to NOT worship any God or another God…
And as long as that courtesy is not extended to me and to every human being on the earth…
I write the way I do because I think Evangelicalism — an inherently Fundamentalist religion (See Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?) — causes untold heartache and harm. In its wake are countless lives and families that have been ruined by Evangelical beliefs, practices, and political views. If Evangelicals were like the Amish, I doubt I would have much to write about. But, they are not. They are an exclusionary political and cultural force that considers much of the human race to be enemies of their God and religion — sinners in need of salvation. Using fear and promises of forgiven sin and eternal life to fill its pews and offering plates, Evangelical churches trample under foot all those who reject their beliefs.
Granted, many atheists don’t care about religion. The same could be said for many Christians. These people just want to live and let live. I wish I could do the same, but I can’t. There is too much at stake to ignore religion. Left to their own devices, American Christians would quickly colonize North America for Jesus, becoming a Christian equivalent of the Taliban. While Evangelicals strenuously object to such a caricature, their actions speak louder than their words.