WHY ARE BELIEVERS SO DEFENSIVE?
All you need to do is turn on network news and you'll soon be current on the “War on Christianity,” or if it's the word on the street you're after, sign up to any of the thousands of atheist websites or facebook communities and you will soon be up to your colander in tales of woe and grief. It seems believers are having a bit of a tough time in the Information Age.
Once upon a time, religious organizations could go about their "godly" business cloaked in mystery and shadows. No scrutiny could penetrate the hallowed halls. Stage-managed appearances by rock star popes, with occasional random canonization of popular folk heroes, gave the faithful a sense of participation in god’s ineffable plan.
Not long ago, our universe was noticeably smaller than our current theories suggest. Sure, we might not have been smack dab in the middle of all creation, but we were still special. We were still god's children...weren't we? Well, no.
Now I can understand it is a painful experience to have one’s cherished beliefs hauled out into the cold unforgiving light of reason. I get it. I get the lashing out. I get the grandstanding and mudslinging. Heck, when the only weapons you have in your arsenal are delusions, bombs and bullets. I can even wrap my mind around why you choose the bullets and bombs. I get all that.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE PESKY COMMANDMENTS?
Ah, there’s the rub! You’d think an all-powerful, omnipotent, and omniscient being would have had the foresight to insert a couple of caveats in such overwhelmingly clear instructions to his chosen people, wouldn't you? A little something like: Thou Shalt Not Kill (unless any of the following conditions are true: the person you want to kill has done something offensive to you or me but not if they are standing on a piece of the world you would like to stand on; they think your beliefs are silly, or, you really, really want to) Now there’s a commandment the devout can really sink their teeth into!
But alas, this is not the case. Several gods have created a situation whereby believers are unable to even justify their own behaviour with respect to the instruction manual with which they were so helpfully provided.
BELIEVERS CAN BE DOWNRIGHT NASTY!
Believers can be downright nasty! In my spare time I can be found in various internet debate forums concerning religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and I can say this from experience, although if you have frequented any of these places yourself, you probably know it already. Oh sure, they start off all puppies, bunnies, and flowers, spouting such pleasantries as “I will enjoy watching you burn in hell for all eternity!” But as soon as someone takes the trouble to point out the obvious flaws in their arguments – let's go with sadism for starters – they get all “##%#%++*!! You!” and other less than choice options of the available lexicon. Again, I think a little more clarity in the original instruction manual, would have been helpful. You know, something like love thy neighbor unless they … (You can probably fill in the rest.)
I think most true believers are frustrated by the shackles their gods have attempted to place on their behavior. “Where’s the wiggle room?” They cry. “What if they make fun of me?” They wail. “What if they won't get off that piece of land you gave me?” “What if they don't believe in you and your ineffable ineffabletude?”
Don't despair you brave souls! Your God has given you some options! You are actively encouraged to kill anyone who does not share your delusions. Better yet, if they actually speak out against your silly god or his big book of platitudes and pain, you have godly permission to subject them to any manner of cruel, inhuman tortures. And best of all, don't forget, you will have a wonderful chair at the right hand of your god, from where you can enjoy the eternal, unceasing torment inflicted by your all merciful loving creator as he torments for all eternity those who couldn't quite stomach his godly pap.
GOD IS WATCHING YOU KNOW!
One would think, with all those aces in the hole, you folks could be a little more relaxed when encountering some missive from one of us godless few. But no! Instead it's all “you're gonna burn in hell!” And “God is watching, you know!” Why do you take our lack of belief so personally? All we are really doing is giving you a little extra elbow room when you get wherever it is you're praying you will get to. You should be thanking us!
Maybe it's the mirror. Are you having difficulty absorbing the light of your reflected lunacy? That glare you're seeing is the light of reason. Does it burn? Over the millennia the conflict between your beliefs and reason has crescendoed periodically, only to be snuffed out at the hands of your righteous brethren. I know even now, some of you probably yearn for those bygone days of yore. Do you pine for the putrid stench of human flesh set alight on the pyres of purification? Shall we bring back the rack; the Inquisitors with their expressionless hatred spewing from every pore?
YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION?
Perhaps the good old days will come again, but I want you to know that here and now, my brothers and sisters will do everything in our power to ensure that never happens. No more returning to the pride of willful ignorance. Never again will we give up control of our lives and thoughts to those who seek to dominate through fear and pain. If it's a fight you want, this time we'll be ready! We come armed with the truth! We offer freedom from the domination of the invisible, as translated by the chosen. Sycophants to illusion will not hold sway. We offer freedom! In the end there has never been a tyranny of oppression that can long stand against the concerted tide of enlightenment. We fight for our lives. The very lives you deem of secondary value to the delusions of eternity you offer. You really have nothing to lose, while we stand to lose it all.