Thursday, April 17, 2008

Let's just stop this, shall we.

Well, I heard this week that Ben Stein is making a movie in which he claims to ‘prove’ the existence of God and Creationism.

My regular readers right now are expecting another scathing commentary on Christianity.

Instead, I want to say something else. Can we just forget all this shit and stop acting like it’s a big deal?

Ok, ok, I know that right now, after having written probably ten thousand words on my views on the subject that this sounds more than a little hypocritical. So let me start by clearing a couple points up.

I still believe Creationism has absolutely no place in science class and will continue to express my views on that subject when the need arises. However, what I’m getting totally sick of is the constant ‘Religion vs. Atheism’ debate that’s going on.

Basically, I have no problem with people believing in Creationism. I have no problem with the religious. I have no problem with religion and creationism being taught in schools. I just don’t want a religious belief being represented to kids as scientific fact in science class.

My point is, why do we care what everyone else believes?

Unfortunately, over the past few years (especially since 9/11) atheism has become ‘cool’. Kids decide that they’re atheists today for the same reason my generation got piercings and tattoos. Plenty of kids haven’t given a second’s thought to religion or what their actual beliefs are. They call themselves atheists because it will shock their parents.

I’m a lifelong atheist and I’m totally sad to say that there are people online and in the news today who call themselves ‘atheists’ and are just as bigoted, short-sighted and ignorant as the religious establishments they claim they’re fighting against.

Atheism, like choice of religion, should be a personal choice. Atheism is not just another a flag to gather under as a place to hate people from. Atheism means that you, personally, don’t believe in God. It doesn’t imply a hatred of the religious. Going out of your way to ridicule any group based on their beliefs is just as unacceptable as other people forcing their beliefs on you.

Unfortunately, In the Internet Age these extremist groups simple get too much attention and press, meaning things continually get blown out of proportion.

This is something that I’m guilty of, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In the past I’ve posted my disgust at religious people as a whole, based purely on the handful of rabid creationists and the people who use religion as an excuse for homophobic hate speech.

Recently, however, I learned a few things. For example, the ‘Church’ behind the ‘God Hates Fags’ signs that have been all over the news and internet over the past few months consists entirely of a guy, his family and a handful of friends. However, this doesn’t stop Atheists as a whole judging all Christians by the actions of a handful of extremist idiots.

The same is true of the Atheists. People judge us purely on the rabid anti-religious people who claim all churches should be burned down.

Basically, the situation we have is that 99% of atheists are happy just to live their own lives and don’t actually care what their neighbors believe. 99% of the religious are just plain old, ordinary people who go to church on Sunday. However, thanks to a sensationalist press, people believe that Christianity wants science stamped out completely and that if something contradicts the Bible, it shouldn’t be taught in schools… while on the other hand atheists secretly worship Satan, want to destroy religion all together and burn down churches.

Things like Ben Stein’s movies are just more fuel for the fire.

I mean, who is that movie actually for? Atheists won’t go to see it and the religious are just being told something they already believe.

It’s just more ammunition for a pointless battle. The extremists on both sides will hold it up as proof, or just more made-up bullshit respectively.

Here we have a guy claiming to ‘prove’ God exists and that Creationism is correct. Unfortunately, to anyone with half a brain, both of those things are impossible. You simply can’t prove the existence of God any more than you can disprove his existence.

All Ben Stein is doing is giving extremists something else to fight over. Basically he’s jumping on the bandwagon, being just another idiot like that TV pastor who claimed that because a Banana is so easy to peel and fits into a human hand perfectly, it’s solid proof that God exists. When that was on TV, the religious extremists jumped up and down claiming atheism has been dealt a ‘death blow’ while the pseudo-atheists launched into more hate speech while holding up poisonous fruits as proof that God didn’t exist.

Then, the 99% majority on both sides shook their heads and wished everyone would just shut up. The religious majority didn’t need an extremist asshole making them all look stupid and the atheists didn’t appreciate being represented as psychotic anti-religious zealots.

What it boils down to is that this whole argument is as pointless as it is futile.

It’s pointless because it doesn’t matter what people believe, except to the person believing it. People are people. Being religious doesn’t automatically make you moral and being an atheist doesn’t automatically make you immoral. There are good people and complete and total bastards on each side. It’s essentially like having a major debate over which color is the ‘best’. In the long run, it just doesn’t matter.

It’s also futile because you’ll never convince a religious person or an atheist to ‘switch sides’.

Essentially, it’s battle in which you’re fighting faith with evidence and vice versa. They’re polar opposites and each side’s arguments just don’t apply to the other side.

In other words, the religious are saying “Forget the facts and figures, have faith and just believe.” but atheists won’t believe anything that can’t be proven.

The Atheists are saying “Look at all this evidence that suggests you’re wrong” and the religious answer “Who needs evidence when you have faith?”

In conclusion, religion or the lack thereof is a personal choice. You can talk about your beliefs but ridiculing people when they don’t believe the same thing you do is simply unacceptable.

Unfortunately, thanks to the extremist minority on both sides, ‘religious’ and ‘atheist’ are slowly becoming nothing more than labels that we use to differentiate ourselves and claim superiority.

Attempting to not sound to ‘touchy-feely’ here, but ‘religious’ and ‘atheist’ is basically becoming like ‘black’ and ‘white’, ‘citizen’ and ‘immigrant’. We need to realize that we’re all just people. We’ll always have differences, but differences shouldn’t be used as reasons to attack each other.


OzzyC said...

Proving God's existence negates the idea of faith. Once something is proven, the need for faith disappears.

Julie said...

I agree with ozzyc. If there are people smart enough out here to prove one or the other-then prove it -end the hatred issue and focus on bigger and better. It's like you said-kinda-who cares what anyone else thinks or beleives? Whatever I choose to believe is my choice. Not theirs.