The Great Courses

(Another) Letter to the Religious on this Page

May 7, 2013 at 8:16 AM
5 years ago

This post originally appeared on the TTA Facebook page.  It was so popular, the letter has been reposted here.  The "safe haven for atheists" aspect of the letter speaks more to our social media pages than the main website, but the larger message about the proselytizers stands.  -Seth


Dear Religious People On This Page:

I feel the need to, again, make sure you haven't accidentally landed here instead of Answers In Genesis. (No doubt some of you were puzzled at the lack of sing-song platitudes, guilt porn and Ark Encounter concept photos.)

Now that you're here, I'm seeing a measure of confusion as you attempt to understand this page and its users. If I may be so bold as to represent TTA as a whole, allow me to clarify some of our positions.

  • A tremendous percentage of us came from religion. "Explaining" it back to us is equivalent to telling a veteran cyclist how to work the pedals.
  • We think it's ridiculous when you post requests for healing prayer, especially as you receive treatment by trained medical professionals. Remember that your omnipotent, all-loving God allowed the cancer, the house fire, the head-on collision, and while you continue to lob your petitions for heavenly assistance, the paramedics were on the scene in about five minutes. 
  • We don't hold that All Belief Systems Deserve Respect. You don't get preferential treatment just because you hold a cherished opinion or faith. When we examine your beliefs under the white-hot light of science, history and reason, it doesn't make you a victim. You're not oppressed. You won't be pitied because this environment sharply affects thin skin. Nor are we required to give audience to the evangelical verve that accompanied you into the room. This is a haven for the skeptic.
  • "It makes me happy" is about as impressive an argument as "I don't have cooties." Ignorance may be bliss, but it's not going to win you any favor here. 
  • You had a personal experience? That and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. 
  • Communion. It's creepy.
  • We think it's ridiculous that you'll visit half a dozen car lots, test drive 15 vehicles, check Blue Book and accident history, read Consumer Reports for vehicle ratings and argue with the salesman before owning a car, yet you've owned your infinitely-more-important religious worldview without even knowing who wrote the book of Genesis.
  • If you hold to a deity that carved mountaintops, relieves cold symptoms and makes rainbows while allowing the violent drowning deaths of 230,000 tsunami victims, perhaps it's time for a priority check.
  • Teaching impressionable children to fear Hell is child abuse. You should be ashamed of yourself for betraying the trust of our youngest and most vulnerable. The nightmares that many of these children will carry into adulthood are on your shoulders.
  • Atheism isn't a religion. It's not a church. We don't believe in any gods. We don't erect temples of worship to Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan. We don't place science books in hotel rooms (although that's not a bad idea). We don't threaten eternal torment for the rejection of atheism. We don't assert that atheists are required to surrender 10% of their income to the atheist cause. And if we qualify as a church because we're a gathering of like-minded individuals, can you please tell us where we can apply for immediate tax-exempt status?

This is a page for atheists and those genuinely curious about non-belief. If you have genuine questions, fine. If you've come to preach, promote or proselytize, your message won't fall upon deaf ears. They'll fall upon ears (and eyes and minds) that are wide open, alert, clear and long weary of superstition's unpleasant whine. We're not required to give you audience or credence, and I've committed to make TTA a safe haven for freethinkers seeking a place to belong.

Thank you.

Seth Andrews

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