Greta Christina nailed it again. In her latest blog entry she lays out a clear vision of just what we Atheists are really aiming for. Actually, she lays out two visions; the utopian version and the version that requires more compromising. She points out the irony that in this case the utopian vision is actually the more achievable one, as religious beliefs do not really allow much room for compromise. But she also points out that, misguided as religious believers may be, positive change cannot be brought about by force. Imposing laws that regulate belief, or imposing belief systems by force, are antithetical to the true goals of Atheism. Religious believers must be persuaded. It’s a lofty goal, and one that won’t be achieved in my lifetime, but it needs to start somewhere, sometime.
I think it’s my favorite thing she’s written since Atheists and Anger. You should check it out. When she gets going about Atheism I feel like she’s talking directly to me. Not so much with her sex articles. Not that I don’t find those interesting; I just think she writes those for someone else.
See…I totally get not liking the way Religion is used as a conduit of power. I get how Religion tends to lead to less tolerant human conditions. So I have no beef with the “No Religion” aspect of what she’s talking about here.
Where my beef comes up is on the assertion that Factual information is a safer haven from abuse of power, or that people don’t build emotional fences around facts.
I’d argue that there have NEVER been religious wars. They’ve all been wars for resources or personal power couched in religion to bring foot soldiers into the field. But we don’t NEED religion to bring foot soldiers into the field. We can use made-up “facts” (As in Iraq). We can use rhetoric about how one method of distributing goods and services will move into another country causing a domino effect (as in Vietnam). Or we can use feelings of vengeance (as in Afghanistan). Or we can use actual facts (as in the Civil war).
I don’t like what religion has done to this country. But I don’t think it’s The Problem. I think a thirst for power is the problem. And the folks who thirst for power will find a way to impose their will. Religion is one way.