Originally Posted by DrunkenPorcupine
Why does someone have to knock someone who believes differently, just because it's different? As long as someone isn't forcing their beliefs (i.e. Christians enacting into law "moral" sexual practices) unto me, I have no problems with them. Why rag on someone for finding their peace or happiness?
I came from the other direction. I use to be an "apathetic atheist." As long as people did not try to push their beliefs on me, why should I care?
What changed me was my grandmother sending me all sorts of Christian apologetic material. I started to read more about religion and it greatly bothered me.
It is easy to see why I should speak out against the extreme issues. Some of these are laws and treatment of gays. Pedophilia in the Catholic Church. War in the name of religion (not so much of a cause but a rallying point). Horrors of history from the Crusades to killing people for not being the right religion to ritual sacrifice to killing children for being witches.
But then I saw some lesser issues. I saw that Christianity could support slavery (as well as support freeing of slaves). So any Christian can take any side in an issue, quote the Bible, and say they are morally good for doing so. I saw that someone could do something bad, and yet feel good about themselves because they could claim they are doing the Lord's work.
But the lines between the extreme harm and the minor harm seems to get blurred. Anti-gay laws rely heavily upon moderate, mainstream Christianity. This was the same pattern for people being against interracial marriage. Science is rejected and bad mouthed due to mainstream religious beliefs.
In the end, extreme religious fanatics are empowered by the moderates. They can point to them and saw, "See! We all believe in the same God. I just follow the holy book to the letter while they pick and choose willy-nilly what they want to believe." Any critique of the far extreme of a religion has to cover a critique of all of the whole belief system.
If we lived in a world where the extreme fanatics did not exist and everyone was a moderate who was ok with a secular government, I would go back to being an apathetic atheist again. Until then, I feel I must speak out while I still see injustice done in the name of religion.