The articles that appear on this site are quite diverse. They range from something as serious as our country’s mining industry to something as trivial as food or clothing. Between all of this, one can find numerous articles based on a very contentious issue: religion.
Often, the goal of these articles, or doctoral theses in some instances, is either to convert or disprove. Frankly, if this is the case, the author, irrespective of belief, has set themselves up for failure. Ultimately, a believer will stick to his beliefs, an atheist/agnostic will remain undecided and an antitheist will continue the tireless barrage of anti-religious argumentation.
To the theists: we know you believe in an all-powerful God. We also know that you accept your faith or God as being absolutely true. We have heard all about your personal experiences with God, but you will probably never, if ever, convince someone who does not share your view to change it. Besides, religious texts outline quite clearly who is responsible for spreading or sharing the faith. In Christianity, for example, it is the Holy Spirit. I thus challenge theists not to try and take on this role – just stand back and let others be. The biggest mistake theists have ever made is trying, through their own efforts, to convince someone else that they are religiously ‘wrong’.
To the atheists (or ‘agnostics’): we know that you are fence-sitters. You lean towards theism or antitheism arbitrarily based on particular influences or factors at a given time. We know that you are very meditative, often pondering about life and how everything came to be. However, the constant indecisiveness and oscillating movement between philosophies is enough to make anyone seasick. My challenge to atheists is thus to become decisive – pick a side!
To the antitheists: we know you think that religion is the ‘opiate for the masses’. We know you view all belief systems not based on evolution and particle physics as fairy tales. We also know that theists cannot do anything to prove the existence of their deities. We have seen the ever-changing figures pertaining to the number of scientists who hold naturalist, as opposed to theist, beliefs; rates which drift violently around the 90th percentile. On that note: did you know that 97% of statistics are made up on the spot?
Thus, it is only logical to conclude that anyone, whether a theist, atheist or antitheist, who sets out to change the views of someone else holding a fundamentally different belief is a fool. Nowhere is this truer than on the internet. All you are doing is stoking the fire whilst receiving the praises of those on your ‘side’. Frankly, you can believe you are more correct in your belief system than Isaac Newton was in calculus; this does not make it correct in someone else’s mind.
Importantly, if I may ask, what has it all to do with you? If someone thinks we are descended from an amoeba, then why are you bothered, theists? Or, if someone holds dear the notion that God created the world in six twenty-four hour periods, how is your life affected, anti-theists? Maintain your own views, ignore those of others and stop trying to convince everyone that you are right.
In all likelihood, this article will have received a lot more attention than my previous two (and, equally likely, a long list of comments – perhaps I will get one of those News24 awards now). My previous two articles deal with real problems which affect everyone in a variety of ways. We should be looking at these issues, such as employment equity or nationalisation, to name the two issues I wrote about. If this article does receive more attention than my others, it says a lot about the priorities of you, the reader.
Finally, a question: how does everyone have so much time for such fruitless debate? Hence, my advice: unless you are employed to write pro- or anti-religious articles all day, rather focus on something that is relevant to everyone… such as, for example, learning a bit of economics to understand why the interventionist policies of governments around the world, and not free market capitalism, has failed. I recommend Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.
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