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19 March, 2012

Don't Be A Dick

I know that a lot of times, just admitting we are atheists makes Christians angry. Some call us names and are outright nasty, some are ignorant of their own bigotry in an Archie Bunker kind of way, being condescending without really meaning to. We've all gotten the innocently asked, "What do you use for a moral compass if you don't have God?" Or the, "But isn't your life meaningless?"

It's frustrating, atheists, I know. We put up billboard signs that let people know they aren't alone in their disbelief and Christians take it as an attack. Even mentioning on facebook the stark fact that theists will be insulted by my very existence caused one person to defriend me for "stirring the pot," thus proving my point entirely. Sometimes it's hard not to be angry.

But I just can't get behind the billboards that are inflammatory. I can't get behind the atheists that are angry and who are quick to ridicule any Christian that comes their way. I get it, the Ray Comforts of the world deserve to be laughed at. But there are millions of Christians who are not even remotely like Ray Comfort at all. The ones who might ask one of those silly questions born straight from ignorance and from being indoctrinated. We can reach those people.

People like Ray Comfort are not ignorant. They hear what we say and they choose to ignore it. I just can't see me laughing at one of my friends or family members for asking, "What do you think happens to you when you die?" They honestly want to know because they have no idea. If I turned in their face and laughed or ridiculed them for asking, all it would do is push them further into the church that teaches them it's wrong to ask questions. In a way, being a dick has proved the church right in that respect.

So, I stumbled across a blog article by David Smalley, who was featured on The Atheist Experience last week, and I'd like to share it because I agree with many of it's sentiments. I can't join up American Atheists for the same reason David finds. It's a shame the name of the group is so broad that it mistakenly represents all atheists in America. Here's the letter. Whether you agree or not, I hope you'll at least keep an open mind. :)

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