Sunday, 10 February 2013

Vocal atheism - It might not be what you think it is...

"Vocal atheism". I think this is what people mean when they say 'Militant atheism' or 'Fundamental atheism'. 

I guess I am what would be considered a 'vocal' atheist, especially online because of this blog and my twitter account. It's a label I'm happy to wear, but I wish I didn't need it You see what many people (theists, people that would call themselves agnostic, and even other atheists), don't seem to understand is that being a vocal atheist is a *defensive* position. They don't realise that the vocal atheist comes about because of the intrusion of religious thinking, religious rules, and religious opinions into the lives of those that don't share the religious belief. 

For example - if a religion believes that their god doesn't want same-sex couples to marry then there is a question as to whether or not their church is right to not perform the ceremony. However, that religion does *not* have the right to force their position onto all society. Religion doesn't own marriage therefore religion doesn't get to decide who can get married and who can't.

The issue is that religions and religious groups try to force their beliefs onto society anyway. In Australia we've got the Australian Christian Lobby which is very outspoken in its opposition to same-sex marriage.

THAT is the kind of thing that vocal atheists are against, that is why atheists feel the need to speak up. When vocal atheists speak out, we're speaking out AGAINST something. We're speaking out AGAINST the intolerance of religion, AGAINST the ignorance of religion and we speak out against the use of ancient superstition to justify these things. 

When actions are guided by unjustifiable beliefs (theism), the actions themselves are also unjustifiable. Vocal atheists speak out against religion and argue against religious people because theism IS based on unjustifiable beliefs. When a theist makes a case against something such as same-sex marriage because their 'god says homosexuality is a sin' they have NO valid reason for this position. No theist can prove their god exists therefore no theist can prove that any god is against same-sex marriage. They cannot prove that their holy book is the word of a god so any argument against same-sex marriage based on the content of their holy book is instantly dismissable. 

THIS is what vocal atheism is - standing against the intolerance, ignorance, and oppression of religion. It's standing against the idea that ancient mythology should be taught along side actual scientific theory as a *genuine* alternative. It's standing against the idea that a same-sex couple can't get married because some unproven god doesn't like it. It's standing against the idea that woman are second class citizens, that wives should be beaten because some ancient holy book says it's ok. 

What we're not against is the right for people to believe what they want. If Auntie Doris wants to visit her church every Sunday and hang with her friends and talk about how good they think this Jesus guy is...good luck  to her. If Khaled wants to head to the mosque and worship Allah and think that Allah is all kinds of awesome - good luck to him. As long as this is kept to themselves, there's no problem. But when Auntie Doris says 'Gods says..... and therefore you can't....' that's when we have a problem. Believe what you like, just don't use that belief to negatively impact on the lives of others.

Also, we're not about forcing atheism onto people. We're not about standing on street corners and spreading 'the word' of atheism. Don't want to talk about atheism? Don't bring up religion, don't bring up atheism and I'm sure you'll be fine. If atheists shut up, we'll still hear from theists. If theists shut up, they'll stop hearing from atheists.

Vocal atheists exist because religion does NOT have free reign over society. Religion does not have the right to tell people how they can and cannot live, what is acceptable and what is not. There are millions of people on earth who have no religious belief and we should have the right to live free from the imposition of religion into our lives.We are not religious so religion should have no impact on us whatsoever. 

Vocal atheists exist because not all people are religious and religious people need to know this.