Mockery



Admittedly, some of these passages aren't actually advocating killing children in
the manner described, but I do think this does a good job of indicating some of
the immorality found in the Bible. Whether it's a child or someone abusing a child,
drowning with a millstone tied around one's neck isn't very humane.
In the past, I have said that one reason I'm so vocal about disbelief is because I want my friends to know the truth.  And that's certainly true.  I do want people to know the truth, and to believe what is true and only what is true.  And there is part of me that is concerned for my friends and I do that out of concern.  But, I suppose that one of the main reasons that I'm anti-theist is because religion really does mess things up.  Fundamentalism causes jihad.  It causes anti-black, pro-slavery, anti-women, anti-gay sentiment.  It stunts society's growth.  It promotes war and aggression.  There are many reasons that I believe society would be better off without it.


Obviously hyperbole, but it often feels this way when debating
theists online.  I have noticed that those most vehemently
defending their religious beliefs tend to lack a mastery of grammar.
 I have struggled with this idea much over the last few years.  I agree with what Dusty is saying in the video above.  I know that in my own life, I have often been motivated out of offense.  The strongest example that comes to mind was my senior year of high school.  I knew that I was the best math student in my high school, and so did everyone else.  All of the students who knew me knew it and all of the math teachers at the school knew it.  I was chosen as Sterling Scholar in math for my school.  I did not make it past the school level, though.  I was not chosen at the regional level as Math Sterling Scholar.  I was furious.  I was outraged.  I was offended.  I decided to prove them wrong.  So I studied every previous state math test I could get my hands on and I took first place on the state math test later that school year.  I proved that I was best.  This is one case where I wanted to prove someone wrong and I did.  But there are many cases where in trying to prove that I was right, I actually discovered that I was wrong.

When I was taking a writing class at BYU, for my final research paper, I decided to prove that the Iraq War was justified.  In doing all of my research for the paper, I came to the inevitable conclusion that it was not.  There weren't any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  They didn't participate or aid in the 9/11 attacks.  They weren't harboring or hiding Osama bin Laden.  It truly was a war of aggression.  We attacked a country that had not in any way offended us.  But I would not have known this if I hadn't ever bothered to look it up, if I hadn't sought to prove that Bush was right (and since I believed Bush, by extension, to prove that I was right).  I think that trying to prove someone wrong can be a very strong motivation.  And so, as ever, I invite people to try to prove me wrong.  Don't trust what I say.  Be skeptical of it.  Research and see what the evidence has to say.

On the other hand, the reason I struggle with this concept, is that I believe it is good to treat other people with kindness.  And I think that hearts are softened when bridges are built, not when ridicule prevails.  I don't want to be a dick.  I want my friends to enjoy being around me.  I want people with differing beliefs to feel welcome to be my friend.  Now, I can't say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I have noticed that in a way I satisfy both of these desires.  On the Internet, I do not hesitate to attack people's religious beliefs, and to challenge their political ideas.  I talk about it here on my blog, I make posts about it on social media, and I debate people frequently.  But in person, I am very hesitant to do any of that.  I speak with much more caution on any of those matters.  I do not mock or ridicule.  I do not challenge people when they assert their personal beliefs about gods.

Am I afraid of offending people?  No, not really.  In fact, if someone comes to a fuller understanding of the truth in part because I offended em, then I would be glad to have done so, and I believe that ey would thank me for it as well.  Do  I try to offend people?  Not really.  My goal is to ridicule beliefs, not people.  If a person is capable of being objective and distancing emself from eir beliefs, then ey might not be offended by it.  I don't expect that of people, so I am certainly not surprised when they are offended.

The main reason I don't think it's wrong to offend believers is because hurting someone's feelings is not as damaging as what religion does to society.  I may offend Mormons by posting their temple ceremony online and presenting evidence that Joseph Smith was convicted for being a con-man prior to his golden plate story, but that pales in comparison with what believers do.  I don't try to push my beliefs on other people using the law.  I don't require that an atheist creed be posted in every courtroom, yet religious people insist that they must have their Ten Commandments there.  I don't try to prohibit people from marrying the person they love.  I don't try to prevent people from making choices about their own reproductive organs.  Yet religious people do this all the time.  They want to make (keep) it illegal for me to get married, and for women to decide what happens to their own vaginas.  I don't seek to force my will on other people by passing laws which make them do what I want them to do.  But religious people do that all the time--all throughout history, and on a daily basis.  I may hurt people's feelings by speaking harshly, but I don't butt my nose into their lives and tell them how to live.  And that's really why I feel so strongly about it.  I refuse to be told how to live my life and to have people dictate to me how to live because of some fairy tale they believe in.  So I will do what I can to end this nonsense.  If you don't like what I say, prove me wrong.  Go get your evidence and present it.  I'm willing to admit that I'm wrong.