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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It...
A Statement That Is The Epitome Of Ignorance
Whenever I hear a believer state, in one fashion or another, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it,” I know that there is an impending breakdown in the likelihood that a reasonable, rational, intelligent and diplomatic conversation is going to take place. Those oh-so non-judgmental patrons of Christianity, Islam and Judaism who believe that their god has given strict, unbending, draconian, bronze-age commands on certain issues land them squarely on the flat, worn-out faces of the brick-walls we know as ignorance and intolerance. Throw in a dose of hatred and bigotry, for good measure.
Many times these beliefs, indoctrinations and superstitions end up with horrific results against humanity, either directly or indirectly. I’ve got permanent palm prints on my face from my own hands as a result of being told by some of these kooks that, under no uncertain terms, they fervently believe that:
- Homosexuals should be killed
- Cross-dressers should be killed
- Adulterers should be killed
- Members of other religions should be killed
- Members of no religions should be killed
- Children should be beaten with sticks
- Television is the gateway to hell
- The Internet is the gateway to hell
- The movies are the gateway to hell
- Women are the gateway to hell
- Dead babies will burn in hell forever
- Mentally ill people will burn in hell forever
- People who drink alcohol will burn in hell forever
- People who drink coffee or tea will burn in hell forever
- Eating certain foods will send you to burn in hell forever
- Everyone “else” will burn in hell forever
- A blood transfusion will get you and your soul annihilated
- Women should not be allowed to own property
- Women should not be allowed to vote
- Women should stay at home and have babies
- Women should always be submissive to their husbands
- A husband has the right to beat his wife
- A husband has the right to rape his wife
- A husband has the right to have more than one wife
- A husband has the right to a pre-pubescent wife
- Pedophilia s the fault of atheists and secularists
- Obama is the Anti-Christ and should be destroyed
- The United States was founded as a Christian Nation
- The <insert holy book> is the only true word of god
- The earth is 6000 years old, Satan made it look older
- The earth is 6000 years old, God made it look older
- Evolution was invented by Satan, evolutionists worship him
- Members of other religions are insane and deluded
- Members of no religion are insane and deluded
- There is no such thing as mental illnesses; it is just the results of living in sin
- Only god and faith can be trusted for healing (thousands of children die each year as a result)
- The earth is really flat (yes, these people still exist)
- Black people are cursed by god to forever be servants and slaves
- Some people should be burned alive
- Some people should be tortured, then burned alive
- If their god tells them to kill strangers, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill their friends, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill their family, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill someone for drawing a harmless cartoon, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill themselves in the process, they are compelled to obey
I think you get my drift. Now, mind you, there are not very many few people who hold all of these to be commands from their god, as they represent a few different aspects of all the Abrahamic religions. However, while holding any one of these beliefs signifies a possible breakdown of the ability for rational thought, there are some Judeo-Christian-Islamic sects and cults that can (and do) claim most of these as part of their dogma. Some of them are considered mainstream.
Church And State...
Many of the people who hold a significant amount of these beliefs currently occupy seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives as well as key White House cabinet positions. A couple have recently held the office of the President. Worse yet, there are hundreds and thousands who hold local offices, are teaching in our public schools, are responsible for the careers of subordinates and many walk around with guns and badges. The number of people in our military who hold many of these beliefs is simply frightening, because they hold positions all the way up to the rank of General.
It is toward these people that many of us non-theists draw the line of diplomacy and tolerance, and where we insist on pointing a finger in the direction it belongs. The unwillingness of the extreme right wing Christian/Muslim/Jew to budge from these horrific beliefs, no matter how many times they have been proved utterly and incontrovertibly wrong, is reason enough for us to be decidedly undiplomatic in our discourses.
I have received a fair share of admonishments from fellow unbelievers about my polemic attitude toward these nut jobs. Some of them still believe that it does more damage than good to hold the positions that I do, and that my attitude does not engender in these whackos a desire and willingness for them to listen to our side of the discussion. Well, they are right. However, what they fail to understand is that I really don't care.
When it comes to these people, I see no other way to communicate with them. I interact with perfectly normal believers all day long. My family consists of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Deists and even a Buddhist or two, and I’ve got news for my fellow “diplomacy only” minded atheists; most of them are just as equally fed up with these wingnuts as we are.
There is no diplomacy with these individuals, and very often their reaction to just being in the presence of an atheist warrants our undiplomatic, intolerant finger-pointing. Besides, I am not out to win a Nobel Peace prize, nor am I out to make friends with anyone who holds the beliefs I listed above as truth. I don’t give one, single iota of credibility to their beliefs and I will continue to make it my mission in life to make it as difficult as I possibly can for them to be perceived as anywhere near resembling normal people.
They are dangerous, ignorant, uneducated, hate-filled, narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant, self-righteous fools that have been brainwashed into believing that committing some of the most horrific acts of inhumanity toward their fellow men, women and children are the want, will, desire and command the sick, twisted, perverted, megalomaniac of a deity that they have turned their god into.
A huge other "think" needs to be foisted upon anyone who is under the impression that these whackos deserve to be treated diplomatically or with any tolerance for these toxic beliefs. Likewise to anyone who thinks that these individual's points of view even deserve to be included as equal in any sense of the word with rational, reasonable discourse.
Al Stefanelli - Georgia State Director, American Atheists, Inc.