Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I can witness too

My Christian friends sometimes post acknowledgments of their faith on their Facebook status updates. Same for my Muslim friends. They will post how grateful they are to their god, how much they hope everyone will pray for them or someone else in need, a favorite verse from the Bible or the Koran, etc. It's usually an expression of their happiness or an invitation for support from their friends. It's most definitely a witnessing for their faith.

Sometimes I like to post particularly exciting science news to my Facebook status, or a quote that I find really inspiring or comforting, or a link to something that's made me feel really good and that I'm thankful for, like that fantastic Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais "Why I'm An Atheist". I guess I also sometimes post for the same reasons they do: as an expression of my happiness or as an invitation for support from friends.

One of my Christian friends posted this in response to my comments and link to the Gervais essay:
Who really cares what anyone believes. I don't!!

He would never post this in response to any of his Christian friends' affirmations of their faith. Yet, he saw nothing wrong with this as a response to my post celebrating my values.

I fully admit that, in many of these posts, I'm not just celebrating feeling good; I am trying to make a point. I am challenging people to think. I'm witnessing for my lack of faith.

But the idea that Atheists are rude when they talk about their values and try to promote them, but for religious people, it's just dandy to do, really irks me.

I found this December 10 blog from the Friendly Atheist, which reads, in part:

I’m so sick of hearing that argument. Why do you atheists have to tear everyone else down? If you don’t believe in god, fine, but just sit there and shut up about it.

We actively fight against extraordinary claims like the ones in the poster because those claims cause harm.

They can drain your wallet.

They will waste your time.

They can become the basis for irrational, unnecessary, and dangerous laws.

They offer false hope that will never come to fruition.

They can make you kill or hate or injure others.

They can make you take placebos when actual medicines are available.

They make you believe in fiction.

They make you fight against reality.

They brainwash children and adults alike.

... no one is flying planes into buildings because they don’t like basketball.

We can’t “live and let live” when we see how much damage these beliefs — as silly as some might seem — have inflicted on people we love, and how much pain these beliefs have caused by people who took them too seriously.

Yeah, that's it. Me too.

Read the entire blog from the Friendly Atheist for more.

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