Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Monday, 7 January 2013

83. Internet atheists

^ Mr. Blue-MS-Spraypaint is a tool.

       If it wasn’t patently obvious from a few of my previous entries, I am rather unreligious to say the least. The last thing I want to do is rant and ramble about it, so to sum up – I am a godless heathen and think science is the way forward blah blah blah something about no afterlife, evolution rocks.

       But as much as an infidel I may be, I can’t deny that there are occasional positive aspects to religion. For one, the last thing I’d want to see is a homogenised global society where everyone believes in the same thing and acts in the same way; a world of constant agreement would stagnate quickly, leaving no room for humanity to develop. It'd also make my BSc in Anthropology even more worthless. On the other hand, there are a wealth of problems assorted religions have wrought upon the world too (and in some cases, continue to – I’m looking at you, Popey), so it's a mixed bag.

       Where we run in to trouble is when we assume that individuals (and by extension, their actions) are endorsed representatives of all people within a vaguely affiliated group. You know, sort of like how in the aftermath of 9/11, all of America decided that anyone Muslim was a bad person (and by extension, Hindus and anyone else vaguely Asian was probably a rotten egg, although that’s a rant about America’s ignorance / Fox news for another day). The implication is of course that no one person within a religious group could have any sense of individual autonomy and disagree with the actions someone else took in the name of their unfortunately shared culture. Sure, there are shared beliefs, but you’d have to be as sharp as a satsuma to think that all members of a religious group unquestionably think in the same way.

       And so I, finally, come on to my gripe – internet atheists. This particular brand of keyboard-warrior thinks it is their responsibility to constantly lambast any issue with a religion as indicative of any and all religions – and indeed, each discreet religious individual - as a whole. Yes, the Pope is a massive hypocrite telling the world that their priority is to feed the starving, whilst he sits in a gold gilded castle, festering with aged automatons and primordial ooze like a modern day Dr. Wily*. 

^ Artist's impression of the Vatican, circa 1988.

Does that necessarily mean that all religious individuals are horrible people with no sense of perspective or reason? No, not really. It does mean that the Pope is a joke, of course. But if you find yourself on a corner of the web populated by atheists, they have a horrible tendency to ramble on about how one person’s actions immediately showcase how ignorant and unfeeling the rest of the religious world is. Take Reddit - a usually quite great website, it sporadically bursts at the seams with self-righteous atheists bragging about their attempts to correct Christian thinking. Brilliant work, you zealot. You're like the drunk who tries to pick a fight at the pub to show off how handy with your fists you are, except now you're accompanied by a pretense of intellectual superiority.

       I’m not defending religion here – I think it’s ultimately a little flawed, but that’s just me. Who cares what other people believe, even if you’re a staunch atheist who lives and dies by evolutionary theory and the pursuit of science? As long as religious individuals aren’t forcing anything upon you or negatively affecting the lives of others, don’t actively seek out to do the same - by all means call them up on it if they are, mind. Despite the intellectual hard-on it may give you, it is not your job to “correct” their thinking. On the contrary, that only makes you as misguided and idiotic as the militant evangelists who originally incensed you in the first place. As you’re the only ones who really care about being vocal about atheism online, you make it seem like every other atheist is an over the top intolerant sap, hell-bent on converting others like a godless missionary. Contrary to popular belief, some of us aren't that intolerant.

       To be blunt, every individual, regardless of what they believe, has the ability to be a terrible person. Being an intolerant atheist doesn’t make you better than an intolerant Christian, you elitist hypocrite. An arse is arse, whether you’re religious or not.

*Bonus points to you if you understand this reference. If you don’t, this is how I picture the Vatican in my head.

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