There is a double standard in America. In almost all things, people will demand rationality, empiricism, evidence, and logic of others. Rational individuals are expected to carry themselves with a certain amount of accountability for their beliefs and behaviors. Any subject can be approached with reason, criticized, and judged, except for one: religion.
Not only does religion receive its own unique little protective bubble where it is allowed to exist free of criticism, it's often regarded as admirable if you operate in your religious faith in a way that is wholly contrary to evidence and reason. This has created a force of untouchable destruction in our society. Values voters can arbitrarily make decisions about others people's lives, and religious fanatics are driven to blow themselves up in crowded areas.
But despite this, those that do choose to operate on rigorous reason are, at best, misunderstood in this country, and often despised. Admittedly, very few on these boards are likely to hold this opinion. But what they do say, on the other hand, is that militant atheists (I'd take issue with labelling somebody on a fucking debate forum
a militant atheist because of the nature of the god damned environment) are just as bad as evangelical Christians.
Personally, I can only conceive of two reasons behind such a statement. The first is that people wish to appear enlightened and above the fray, despite the facts of the situation. The second, and what I'd estimate is the most common reason, is utter ignorance - willful or otherwise - to the facts. Here are some things that the people that make claims about "militant" atheists need to consider:
1. This debate is not two equally-weighted sides. The existence of any meaningful gods is not just as likely as the inexistence of those gods.
2. Personally, I don't care what a person believes. I really don't. I know many of you reading this are positively laughing at it, but I don't. What I do
care about, however, is when people start making claims about my reality, your reality, all of reality that they cannot substantiate in any way whatsoever. This is the necessary action of a religious person. They are always
making claims about everybody's reality if their god or gods have any meaningful power or ability because that's what religion is all about.
Even then, I only really care when they voice their beliefs, otherwise how else am I going to know? But, thing is, none of you making the accusations likely know me or any of the other "militant" atheists outside of the context of these boards in which discussion and rigorous review of stated opinions is accepted and expected. So what the fuck's up? Why do you feel so offended when a person holds just one more belief up to a standard of evidence on a board in which literally everything else is approached exactly the same way?
I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs. Maybe you should grow a thicker skin, maybe you should learn to defend your position, or maybe, just maybe
, you should learn for yourself that you can't forever overcome the problems with your religion or spirituality by incessant rationalization and running from these debates.
Just because we hold spiritual beliefs to the same standard as everything else doesn't make us militant. Just because we confront these issues on a forum dedicated to intellectual debate doesn't mean we're proselytising atheists. Just because you can't handle criticism of this shit that American culture says we can't touch doesn't mean we're the same as evangelicals.