The contributions of scientists, the best of whom are non-believers of varying degrees, whose efforts have lead to medical advances, longer life spans for humanity, technology that just 100 years ago was unimagined, are rarely if ever praised by the religionists. They see science as the bulwark of anti-religious thought. So much for atheists gaining legitimacy in the eyes of religionists with gentility, reason, and contributions to their very existence. Theists will credit god instead.
Some say that engaging in aggressive debate using reason will never change the mind of those who are absolutists, who base their lives on supernaturalism to which they were exposed at an early age. I agree. It is as unlikely to yield fruit as religious proselytizing will cause a thinking person to suddenly abandon reason for supernaturalist belief. But what debate does do is give fence sitters something to think about, chew on. If they are prompted to question the unquestionable precepts of faith, something religions do not encourage, then by observing a realist in aggressive debate their curiosity may be piqued and their reasoning skills along with it.
Those who despise atheists, distrust them, see them as immoral and un-American, will not be swayed by a kinder gentler approach … my reference to scientists is one example. The fundamentalist theist mind, be it Christian or Muslim, are as firm in their dismissal of science and atheists as they are immersed in their supernaturalist beliefs. We’d be deceiving ourselves to think otherwise. The women’s suffrage movement didn’t win the right to vote by being kinder and gentler. Nor did blacks attain civil rights by just being good citizens and walking on tip toe to the back of the bus. Nor did the gay rights movement win any converts to full equality and tolerance by working in soup kitchens, or contributing to the Red Cross.
Every one of those movements realized that the kinder and gentler method of whispering their desire for equality was perceived as weakness, powerlessness, by the majority opposition. A strong front, challenging the religious right’s efforts; demanding that the Separation of Church and state be kept sacrosanct; fighting theist intrusions into our lives and schools and government; calling out the fakes, frauds and exposing the unbalanced words and deeds of religionists is how we will gain influence and retain our freedom. If they take offense, so what?
Islam continues to flood into Western society. With governmental and the media’s failure to stand firm against Muslim threats of violence if demands for the limitation of free speech where their religion is concerned isn’t observed, we are reinforcing their perception of us as the spineless “Kafir.” If the West doesn’t pull its head out of the sand, change its approach, Islamic Fundamentalists will continue to capitalize on it, the virus will spread, and Western culture will continue contributing to its own eventual demise.
So, if we are militant as atheists, if we push it to the wall and go toe to toe with theist ignorance, arrogance and intolerance what’s the worst that can happen? Muslims will riot, burn and threaten us with domination and death? They already do that. Christians will hate us, mistrust us, deny our patriotism and morality? They already do that too. We need to make it crystal clear that as freethinkers we are not door mats to mindless fanaticism; that the days of pretending to be theist are over; that expectations of respect for their mindless beliefs can be forgotten; that we won’t give an inch to their attempts at creeping theocracy. That there will be no appeasement, no compromise, no negotiating with ancient delusion.
I’m a militant atheist, I could be nothing else.