I’m not really an atheist. I have a semi-regular belief in a vague higher power (outlined here.) But if we were drawing lines, I’d probably be with the atheists. I don’t really like organized religion, I don’t appreciate the word “God” on my money or in the pledge of allegiance, and I believe it’s a travesty that religious homophobia and misogyny are allowed to inform our laws. My belief in God is private to me, and it is not affected by the beliefs or lack of beliefs of others. I don’t understand how it could be.
Which is why I have a problem with atheists putting up billboards, especially billboards designed to offend religious people. I understand that religious people cast the first stone when it comes to public recruiting. Just the other day I came home to find some Jesus-themed litter tucked into my doorway. I used it to kill a roach and then I threw it in the trash. The problem I have with atheists following suit is the same problem I have with MSNBC setting its self up as the anti-fox. As a non-religious liberal, I was able to live under the impression that my side was simply more rational than the other side, that we didn’t need to sink to their level, because we were right and that knowledge would sustain us through our losses. I understand that not everybody would rather play fair even if it means losing. I just thought that the cheaters were on the opposing side.
Putting up offensive billboards in religious neighborhoods is a great way to get publicity, and its a great way to raise funds from angry atheists who were abused by religion and religious people and who want to get back at the communities that traumatized them. But its not a great way to be a good person, which happens to be my goal in life.
I don’t like making people feel bad for what they believe. People should be judged on their actions and not their beliefs. The idea that my irrational fears and superstitions are in some way superior to someone else’s irrational fears and superstitions just because mine are things I made up on my own and theirs are things they were taught by a religious tradition is ridiculous. Sanctimonious assholes, whether atheist or religious, left or right, conservative or liberal do not represent me or my friends.