Men like Dawkins and Hitchens have broken unprecedented ground with their books. When there was nothing but murky waters for atheists to walk in, these men came in like storm troopers and waged war on silence. They broke the boundaries that had been set by religion for hundreds of years now. And the best seller list was topped by atheists speaking out loud. It was a moment that made religion step back and regroup, and atheists come to the call. A wave was set in motion. Instead of hiding in the corners of life, atheists for the first time in millenia stepped out and cried that they ready, and need to be heard.
Now that the first wave has come and gone, the second wave is people who feel we should work with theists on every level, but make no mistake, those willing to end the days of tyranny and fear caused by religion are still there and working. The voices that refuse to be silenced make way for the gentle and soft voices to come, so when you tell a fellow atheist to not be confrontational, what are you really saying?
We all have to deal with a society inundated with doctrines. Everywhere you go dogma is waiting. From your social life, to your sex life religion is lurking in the midst of your every day life. Most people spend their lives hiding from it, dealing with it and choking it down. We bind ourselves to the idea we are free, but the oppression is always waiting to be thrown upon us. There has not been a time as free from this plague as there is today, in a long time. We are seeing progress at the hands of education, science, unity, and understanding.
Most of the atheists I know were at one time indoctrinated, and chained to an idea about life and death, and the burden to break the chains came at a price. We have lost friends, loved ones, and family. There are sacrifices to be made when you step out in the open and let go of the bonds of the god delusion. It is a taxing and heavy burden to bear to see beyond the penetrating virus of religion. In the world of men taking up Pascal’s wager, we are the few who refuse to wage our one shot at life with being a servant to a god we don’t care to believe in without some form of substantiating evidence.
We should not be so quick and determined to see the most outspoken and vigorous of us silenced, or rant against the things they have done to set us free from our bonds. If it were not for them we would still be the silent atheists with no choice and voice. Religion would be finding its way into every area of everyone’s lives. The fact that religion is writhing and fighting means we have it on the defense. Something which disturbs those who want to come at it from a less aggressive position, but history has spoken, and what has been said about the control of religion is a lesson we should never let ourselves forget.
We all know that the dark ages were the product of religion. Not just one religion, but every religion, waging war on thinking and questioning the church and authority of the dogma. If you held a different belief than the majority you were likely to be held as suspect, or worse, and there was much worse. Thinking men and women died by the thousands. God was the answer for everything, and if you questioned that believe it was heresy and you were likely to be put to death. Popes and religious leaders ruled over kings, and all men. The sword was used to keep people obedient and servantile to the religion of the masses, and men went to war for their god, as they still do.
The modern age was sparked by men like Pasteur and Van Leeuwenhoek who found more in their short lives than religion found in centuries. Even today they are held in the light by science and in the dark by religion. While Pasteur is only given credit openly for the pasteurization of milk, it was only one small discovery in his huge amount of them. Religion keeps people from learning more about what he knew. He eliminated the idea of disease randomly arriving. He took us from fear of demons and monsters in the night, to microbes, and infections caused by them.
What if the church had silenced him? His opportunity came because of thousands dying, if not for this the church would have grouped together and sought to kill him for taking credit away from god, and the devil. Due to the conditions of the time he was able to see there was more, and prove it. The same masses who once called upon god to save them flocked to him by the thousands begging for cures. His vaccinations led the world to overcoming many diseases, and helped with the cure of rabies.
These are the things we forget when we say religion is not that powerful. We tend to overlook the thousands of wars, millions of deaths, and the blood that religion shed in the name of propagating the doctrine. It is easy to deny history when you never have to see the effects it has had. Even the last century showed what can happen when men use god to their advantage. Hitler worked with the full permission and support of the Catholic Church. They stood to the side while he brutally murdered six million people. Hitler used god as his shield. With just evoking the dogma he convinced thousands of men to leave rational thinking, and begin the work of genocide. That is how religion works when unhindered.
We atheists are the guardians of sanity, of humanity, and of life without religion. We pave the way to the future with our voices. We keep the poison of religion at bay while the hard work of providing a future free for thinking to all men. Just look around you, at your ideas, at your life, and your culture. Can you say that religion has not worked hard to find a way into every aspect of most people’s lives, and how has it found a way in yours?
I often think back to my days as indoctrinated life. The burden of religion was heavy. Every move I made and every thought was counted in some book, in some way, towards my place after life. Once I let go of this delusion I thought I was free. Even now in the corners of my mind, hidden where I don’t even know there are ideas lurking, thoughts I find that make no sense to me. It is like every neuron has to be remodeled. From the way I feel about my body, to how I live my life, it is there haunting me, especially in front of family and friends. It often feels like a poison inside of me.
Those of us who have come away from religion angry, confused, hurt and bewildered find that our reality was based on nothing related to reality at all. I spend my days thinking of what religion has done to me. The way it stole my questioning, and love for life. The way it made me nothing more than a woman who’s duty was to have babies. I was a servant to religion and nothing more. I perpetuated the virus.
Now I have broken the bonds of my shackles only to find that there is much more to do, much more struggles ahead. I am an insult to religion, and an enemy as well. A woman who will not take her place as second in society. One who will not be silenced and placed into the role of submissive woman. I fight against the ideas that I should be silent, and stand by while men take care of me. I am a fighter and this was a great struggle. Now I rage against the stealing of minds and the indoctrination of millions who will never have a say. Children who will be made by force to believe in something that they question. I stand opposed to the virus of religion.
While there are those who are content to work well with religion and be kind, I want to be known as the enemy. I want to see that no other girl has to give up her dream of being more than a servant and a mother has to do so. I want a world filled with rational thinking, one where minds are free. So while it works for some people to be easy and silent, I find that my hate for religion grows the more I see of it penetrating every aspect of life. The more I see it clearly, the more I want to fight against the poison it brings to the world. It is a tumor on the face of the planet erupting in every part of life. I can’t help but see it for what it is. While I face my own inner thoughts which have been tainted by it, I work to be free of it every day. Every form of atheism needs to exist, and those willing to tear down the veil of religion and shine a light on the sickness in men it brings need to stand, and I will stand with them.
We all bring something to the community, but the best thing we bring is strength of mind to overcome the darkness that awaits us in the hands of religion.