A Healthy Dose of Reality
For all the complaining theists do, you would think that atheists have taken to burning them at the stake. But the reality is that the majority of atheists are quiet and pacifistic, trying to indulge a "live and let live" position. Most atheists are not anti-theists like myself, and while they may detest the actions of the religious world at large, they do not speak. They embrace pacifism and the apathy associated with it. They would no more stand in defiance of the religions tearing civilization apart than they would stand in defiance of a tornado. Such has been the case for well over 2,000 years, and why shouldn't it be? I mean, in many instances even the act of speaking could get them imprisoned, or even murdered. But I have to tell you, and many won't like hearing this, that you're part of the problem, not part of the solution.
The truth is that our continued apathy and pacifism is a more detrimental force against our freedom than any religion could perpetrate against us. Our silence is allowing us to be walked all over by them. Our "live and let live" approach has failed us miserably, because it isn't a position we share with the opposition. We are up against people willing to strap bombs to themselves to murder us and any others who do not follow their chosen delusion. We are up against people willing to murder their own children because a holy man says they're witches. And if you don't get this, then we are doomed to fail in gaining equal ground and true freedom. You may believe that by simply being an atheist you have escaped religion, but I assure you that this is not the case. You've escaped nothing as long as they still stand united and strong against all of us.
Pacifism and Apathy
Many people think of pacifism as just an embrace of nonviolence, and indeed most pacifists are nonviolent, but it goes deeper than that. You see, pacifism is truly the embrace of passivity or apathy. It is the idea that it's fine for you to do your thing and I'll just do mine. To indulge this idea in total means to allow those who wish to act in ways that are detrimental to you and then say, "It's cool bro. Just do your thing." Men such as Mahatma Gandhi are touted as pacifists, when in reality they are activists who used rational discourse as tools of war against oppression. Gandhi himself once said, "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." This statement shows that Gandhi understood something very important - you must be true to yourself above all else.
More than that however, it shows that Gandhi understood that some things can not be addressed through peace alone and that there may come a time when others have left you no choice but to meet their violence with an equal measure of your own. But we are fortunate because I don't believe we've reached that impasse in our struggle yet. I believe that there is still plenty of time to redress our grievances through rational discourse. But only if we stand and speak and let our presence be known and make our voices heard. We must be the sounding bell for freedom and equality. If we do not do this, the time may come that it is no longer an option. And that is not something I believe any of us really want.
A Last Resort
Violence should always be a last resort. I am not calling for violence in any way against anyone. Like most people, I want to live in peace with my fellow man. I want to raise my family and find some semblance of happiness on this long hard road called life, and I don't want in any way to infringe on anyone else's freedoms or happiness. But I am aware of something that many just don't seem to get. You see, I didn't pick this fight. Atheists in general, for all of our ridicule and derision of religion, did not start this fight. It began a very long time ago and it was started by the religious when they decided that atheists were only good for burning, hanging, or other forms of torture and murder. The blood and bones of heretics are the paving stones which mark the road religion has traveled from the past to the present. And any atheist who stands in defiance of religion is merely acting in self-defense.
Of all the religious ideologies out there, the ones we must most closely guard ourselves against are the Abrahamic religions. Now some will say that surely Islam is the most dangerous and most deserving our attention, but I would remind you of the warning which Hitchens gave us - "Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse." This statement must not be forgotten. We cannot forget that only 500 years ago Christians were just as brutal as Islam is today. To do so would not only be a grievous error, but also a disservice to those whose lives were stolen unjustly in the name of Yahweh.
A Final Thought
I cannot stress enough that this is not a call for violence. This is merely a wakeup call to those who have embraced total pacifism and the apathy it breeds. We must speak now, while rational discourse is still an option and a peaceful resolution may be reached. And we must recognize that some men cannot be reached through peaceful means and can only be overwhelmed by letting them know that we will not sit idly by and watch them set the whole world ablaze.
So I'll leave you with a simple but strong statement in the form of a conversation between two fictional characters that carries a very deep message.
"Alfred Pennyworth: With respect Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that you don't fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: So why steal them?
Alfred Pennyworth: Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." 
(The following song is the namesake of this blog, and describes my feelings on the matter very well)
Photo Credits: Joe Flood