Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tolerant of the Intolerant II

As I mentioned before, the constant attempts by the religious to paint non-believers as intolerant is simply an attempt to use social pressure to get us to shut up.  It is so completely at odds with the facts that the accusation is nothing less than absurd and monstrous.

They want us to shut up for two reasons:  First, the delusional nature of their beliefs is so obvious that only an appearance of unanimity of belief can keep the cognitive dissonance at bay.  When people say that atheists are somehow "depriving people of the comfort of religion", they are essentially admitting that religion is not only a delusion but one maintained by a public pretense of unanimity.  The need for this public pretense is the true motivation behind the insistence of the religious on un-Constitutional public prayer.

Second, once we shut up, they can continue to malign and slander us in order to bring social and economic pressure to bear on us and force us to pretend to believe or even actually delude ourselves in order to protect ourselves.  If we are publicly leading decent lives (usually more decent than those of the supposedly more moral believers), and openly speak of the gaping holes in their reasoning, then it is very difficult for them to convince each other than we are simply evil and immoral people who want to rebel against god's rules.  (Make no mistake, what they want is actual conformity; the pretense is only enough to keep them at bay temporarily.)

It is no accident that the U.S. Constitution puts both religious freedom and freedom of speech in the same provision.  They are inextricably intertwined.  You cannot have one without the other.  If you have to hide what you believe, then you are not truly free to believe it.  If we let them shut us up, as we have for so long, then we are complicit in our own persecution.

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them." --Frederic Douglas

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