I used to be a radical atheist.
By this I mean I was aggressively antagonistic to any and all religious expressions, and that religious people offended me by talking about their faith.
I don’t feel that way anymore, but I feel I need to speak up on behalf of radical atheists who are being labelled as extremists and fundamentalists by the likes of… well, people like me.
You see, we weren’t just converted by the church of Dawkins et al. We didn’t sign up to preach the gospel of hating and condemning any and all gods. We weren’t envious or resentful towards religious communities for their great strides in the betterment of the human condition.
Religious people made us this way. With forced attendance in churches, school-sanctioned proselytizing, the tacit assumption that we all carried some religious “gene” that made us silent partners in the church and with the condemnation espoused by devoutly religious leaders when we failed to heed their advice.
Of course we were angry. Of course we were furious. Of course we needed to object vehemently. We needed to establish our resistance to what we perceived as a tyranny of religious consent. We thought of people who, like us, needed to be free, but who didn’t dare, and who needed the support of others.
Today, I like to think I am more tolerant. Religion is a matter between you and your god. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe tolerance isn’t the way to go. Maybe aggressive, radical atheism has a place in human affairs. If you think so, please ensure the following:
1) force everyone to believe in the same god.
2) enforce state religions.
3) claim your particular faith deserves special recognition by the state, and this should be reflected in legislation.
If, however, you believe faith is a matter between you and god, I can assure you the age of radical atheism is rapidly coming to an end.
This has been a public service announcement.