After yesterday's unexpected flood of visitors to my blog I received many e-mails and comments. I'm happy to report that most of them were from people who had rather thoughtful things to share, even if some of them were the same, tired arguments we atheists have heard (and successfully refuted) time and again from religionists (and sometime agnostics) who are unable to think their way out of the mental maze they seem to be trapped in.
"Atheism is a religion." (Nope. It's simply a lack of belief based on the failure of anyone to make believing in invisible deities make any more sense than believing in the hallucinations of mental patients who also believe what they are telling you is true.) Atheism is a religion like "off" is a television channel.
"It takes a lot of faith not to believe in a god." Nope. Just a knife called "critical thinking" to cut through the bullshit. (And maybe some rudimentary science knowledge to bust up the myth that without a god nothing could exist.)
However, there was one woman who mentioned something that was at least somewhat unique: she expressed disgust at the fact that I was bringing up all of the horrible things that had happened more than a century ago to non-believers at the hands of religionists as though they were still relevant today, and cited that as a reason why she found no value in my blog post. "These things aren't happening today. They have nothing to do with modern-day believers."
Well, let me tell you why this woman, like so many other religionists, is wrong.
Many of the things that were happening to non-believers at the hands of religionists more than a century ago are still happening today.
I mentioned the high school student here in Tennessee who was prevented from having her article included in the school newspaper because it promoted atheism.
I cited the fact that, even in the year 2012, the Boy Scouts of America does not allow atheists (or homosexuals) to hold positions of leadership in their organization, as though we are second-class citizens or incapable of serving as positive role-models, as though we are without morals. (Too bad there isn't a "critical thinking" badge Boy Scouts can earn.)
Teachers keep their atheism "in the closet" because they know it just isn't good for their career if the parents of their predominantly religious students start wondering if that atheist teacher is going to dismember their child and cannibalize him for lunch one day...
Yes, atheists are persecuted by religious folk even today. The fact that it happens so often and religionists seem to think it no longer occurs is rather curious, given the fact that persecution of atheists by the religious seems to be escalating now that it has become politically incorrect to persecute those who are members of different religions than your own.
It's become safer than ever to practice a religion different than the dominant religion in any given area in the United States, but we atheists are clearly taking up the slack... it seems that many religionists are now directing their persecution efforts toward non-believers more than ever. The message is clear: "You don't have to believe in the same thing we do, but you'd better believe in something that requires your brain to shut down, because we don't tolerate critical thinking 'round here."
They may not be burning us at the stake again quite yet, but we are starting to see some of the same fires of persecution rekindling that even most religionists thought had been burnt out for good long ago. We atheists know better, and if there were an all-knowing god, it would too.