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The Dangers of Broad Brushes

20 January 2013, 18:00

If you have a religious gripe, there is one sure place you can express it- MyNews24. Whether you’re a devout Christian or an atheist, if you’ve got something to say about belief, or lack thereof, it would appear that News24’s user section is where it invariably ends up.

And while your thoughts may end up there, the party doesn’t really get started until you’ve had one of the regulars praise or lambaste you. Hell, if you’re lucky you may just nab yourself a badge or two if you happen to tick enough people off.

And that’s just the thing; the vast majority of the religion articles do tick people off on either side of the fence. A pro-religion commenter is incensed by an anti-religion’s comments, or the other way around, and the gloves are off with the original article’s message quickly forgotten. From the fence where I sit, it’s cheap entertainment if you’ve got nothing better to do.*

As 99% of the articles in the religion mud-slinging contest focus on the Monotheist vs. Atheist smackdown; it means about 98%** of those articles center on a ‘why Christianity is good/bad’ theme. And I get that; Christianity has been the leader of the religion pack for a while now, so it would make sense to lop the leader’s head off to win the battle. But, as it turns out, that battle strategy is flawed.

You see, when an Atheist proclaims that they oppose all religions (just so that the others besides Christianity don’t feel left out and to be all ‘PC’ I suppose), it almost always boils down to the anti-Christian rhetoric that they attempt to apply across the religious smorgasbord; a tactic that is flawed. Case and point, The dangers of religion.

The article kicks off by giving Atheists a pat on the back for opposing religion (read ‘Christianity’) but encourages them to try a few new battle tactics. Fair enough, it’s nice to spice things up every once and a while. So just what are these lesser-used ammunitions guaranteed to pierce Christian, sorry, religious armor?

Apparently countering pro-religious commenters with issues of “group mentality, true appreciation, child indoctrination… and gratitude,” will rip multiple five rand sized holes in their beliefs. However, this ammunition is about as effective as soggy toilet paper for one simple reason, and it’s a pretty ironic one too.

Atheists are the first to scream that the religious are all blinkered and narrow-minded, but Atheists are guilty of the same offense as they seem to base all the arguments against religion on one religion- Christianity. They forget the first rule of battle: know your enemy.

The anti-religion brigade seems to be so focused on eradicating religion that their focus is narrowed in even further on just one religion- Christianity- when in reality there are plenty of religions out there. So while the majority of Atheists feel pretty confident they can tear holes in anyone’s religious convictions, the truth is they’re only trained to rag on Christians.

Trying to tar and feather every religion with the same broad brush as the author attempts to do in The dangers of religion just doesn’t work because while the points are easily applicable to Christianity, they just don’t apply to all religions. So I challenge any Atheist to go the extra mile, open a book or website, and argue against the beliefs of a Hindu, a Pagan, a Buddhist, a Sikh or perhaps a Native American based on the beliefs themselves. Who knows, they may just learn a touch of respect or a dash of tolerance in the process.

*For the record, as assumptions will be made, I consider myself to be a religious Pagan. I’m on the fence with my popcorn as I’m not anti-religion, but I don’t believe in proselytising either. If you want to believe in something, then great; if you don’t, then that’s a choice I totally respect too.

**all percentages are pulled from an arse or a hat, you decide which.

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