Thank you for the time you took to write the article (http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Why-Atheists-dont-think-very-highly-of-your-religion-20130109) and to respond to comments. I would like to offer a rebuttal to some points in your article, if you would humour me. My intent is to deduce your reason for writing this article.
You propose the hypothesis that religion is inherently linked into various geographical and social interactions which leads to people not having much choice in the matter. According to your article, these cultural subjections should be scrutinised and opposed. I would now like to extend your hypothesis beyond religion. Let us assume that you grew up in an Atheistic society, with Atheist parents and friends. It might be accepted that a person growing up in such a society would inevitably be an Atheist. As such, would you personally advocate that such a person was an Atheist, not through choice, but through society? Would you personally think that such a person was wrong to accept the choice society has made for him in this case? I would venture that, despite a knee-jerk reaction to say “yes, this is wrong”, the truth is that you wouldn't mind where his or her Atheism stems from.
You further pose the question, “what do you know about any other religion, have you had a relationship with any other God to know, to test whether this one ‘feels right’?” In this paragraph you propose the argument that after one has interrogated various religions; the only possible conclusion is to reject religion. My question to you is: did you investigate every possible religion before you became an atheist? I would assume that the answer is “No”. This leads me to the conclusion that you are not an Atheist through rigorous evaluation of every possible religion, but at some point (let’s assume you may have investigated a finite number of “mainstream” religions) you rejected religion altogether.
Hence, the question boils down to accepting the supernatural (in whichever form), or rejecting it on the face of it. I propose that the number of gods or Gods one rejects in evaluating religion has absolutely no logical connection to Atheism, as adhering to any religion entertains the possibility of the supernatural, while Atheism completely rejects it. It is interesting that you only put part of Stephen F Roberts’ famous quote in your article. Roberts goes on to state that people who believe in God (and here I assume he refers to a monotheistic religion) is as much an Atheist as he is, except that Roberts has rejected one more god. This hypothesis is however completely illogical, since a world that has even only one deity is completely different from one without. I wonder, for example, how Mr. Roberts would entertain the notion that he is as much a theist as I am, but I just believe in one more God than he does! Hence, accepting or rejecting the supernatural does not rely on the possible pool of choices, but rather a rejection of the possibility that it may exist at all. It is a choice.
Now, the conclusion I reach is that the article you wrote is not that of a benign philanthropist, but instead that you wrote it as an Atheist zealot, keen on enforcing your views (and your choices) on others. Of course, I am sure your intent was to offer the article from a “good place”, but the question I would pose to you is this: are you not doing exactly what you accuse the “religiots" of?
To return to a point I made in my second paragraph. Is it not then the aim of Atheism to remove religion far enough into the fringes of society (or altogether?) that Atheism no longer becomes a choice, but the only option available. And is this not the very evil that Atheism supposedly opposes: creating a society where certain views are enforced upon others or become the accepted, unchallenged norm?
I hold to you that Atheism is as much a choice as religion is and has as little to do with logic or free thinking as you seem to believe religions have. So why should religious people abandon their ways (supposedly then based on society and cultural aspects), to adhere to another system, built on principles that offer no better alternative?
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