A post on Facebook started simply enough:
If you think prayer can cure cancer, why didn’t prayer prevent it? Did the tumors start growing the day you forgot to pray you wouldn’t get cancer? I just don’t understand the premise, nor the false comfort it seems to brings to those who accept it.
The first comments came from likeminded people who had a propensity for snark. But then came the inevitable _friend_ who found the post and comments questionable. He wrote:
A question for all of you. What is it that so many Atheists get out of ridiculing religion and people of faith? I couldn’t care less about what other people believe or don’t, spiritually – but I don’t understand your apparent need to feel intellectually or morally superior to other people. To be so convinced you are right about the absolute non-existence of God, or some superior intelligence seems supremely arrogant to me. And the faith you have in your beliefs seems strangely religious and even fundamentalist.
That’s a question I see often, especially by religious people are offended by some of the things Atheists say. I’ve also found that even the term Freethinker is offensive to some of my Christian friends, even though it’s not meant to be.
In theory, a Christian could be a Freethinker if they lived open-mindedly and determined that Christianity made the most sense to them and represented the best truth – at lease at that moment. Of course, I say in theory, because the true nature of Christianity and other religions is ultimately tyranny of the mind.
But I digress.
Two people replied to the question, and I thought their responses were so good, that I’d share them here.
There is no evidence for the existence of beings we call gods. you wouldn’t say it’s supremely arrogant to not believe in the existence of unicorns an fairies, would you? You don’t _believe_ 2+2=4, but if someone insisted to em it was 3, yeah, I suppose I might come off as a bit fundamentalist about it.
A large portion of the world believes that a fucking fairy tale is literally real. Each major religion (and individual exclusive sects within) are bent on making the world in their image, at times with violence and force. So you can imagine how we atheists would get pretty sick of such idiocy being paraded around as truth.
At least our “weapons” are words, humor and snark. Despite the term “militant atheist” being thrown around, atheists don’t advocate for violence against believers. They have every right to believe as they will, and we have every right to point out to them how stupid it is because having a right doesn’t free a person from consequence.
It’s frustration at all the energies and passion going into something completely unreal. It’s that religion blocks progress. It’s that American religious communities have become overtly political. It’s that we atheists cannot expect salvation so we rely on continuity instead. That continuity is threatened by American religiosity, especially in relation to serious issues like climate change, gun control, and providing health care to the needy. It’s that Americans’ sense of religiosity has been twisted by marketers and politicians into something that is not religion at all.
So let me ask you, why do so many in America hold onto cultures that bear little to no resemblance to the religions that sparked them in the first place?
It thought both responses were spot on, and they represent why many atheists don’t hold back when they observe what they perceive as the absurd.