Thursday, August 11, 2011

Believers have more of a right to be offended

I was lurking on a forum I like earlier today when someone asked whether or not it was rude of her to have an atheist-themed magnet on her fridge. Apparently a relative who is definitely not an atheist saw the magnet, threw a tantrum, and then threw the magnet in the trash and left. Obviously the vast majority of the people who responded said that the relative was a fucking loon, and it was beyond rude for her to react the way she did. Duh.

But.

A few people said that while the relative was out of line, the poster shouldn't have been surprised by the reaction because she was aware of her relative's strong beliefs. One responder said that the relative "probably" over-reacted, but that's because "people often get like that when they find their core beliefs being belittled."

How disappointing that this attitude has become such a consistent theme lately. Is it not a parallel analogy for me to say that walking into a home where The Lord's Prayer is proudly displayed belittles my core beliefs? Most believers would find issue with this idea, but I fail to see the difference. I believe in science. Strongly. I will not, however, complain to someone who displays something in their home that represents something that defies the laws of science. That would be rude. And what the hell do I care what they believe in? I don't care if they pepper their walls with psalms....

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begin sidetrack story

Years and years ago I lived with a guy whose brother was a recovering-cokehead-born-again. We lived in their mother's house and when she decided to sell it, the brother helped get it cleaned up. One day, he was downstairs painting the basement walls. I went down there for some reason and caught him painting scripture on the walls and singing hymns.

That's the only time I've ever done that cliched slowly backing away action.

Recovering-cokehead-born-again-brother is now a Catholic priest.

end sidetrack story


The point is not so much whether it's ok to display potentially offensive things in your home, it's that atheists don't appear to have the same right to get offended as believers do. I'm not actually sure what the best method would be to get across to people that atheism is not a passive belief. And that many atheists feel stronger about their core beliefs than some believers believe in god.

If anything, believing in God is more passive than atheism because believing requires less effort. I actually had to use my brain to choose atheism as my savior.



Oh yeah, I just went there.

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