As an atheist and a member of groups which interest me on FaceBook, this form of communication brings you in contact with people of many different creeds, colours and religions. Religion, now there's a subject that fascinates me, because as an atheist I rarely venture into the Lion's den so to speak, but when you make a FB "Friend", you have no way of actually knowing who this or that person is.
Some are very relaxed and comfortable with their religious stance and are equally happy to befriend an atheist such as myself. I regularly espouse on my timeline my disdain for religion, but can of course separate the religion from the person.
One particular post I published to my timeline evoked the usual comments from my like-minded atheist friends, as we regularly marvel at how seemingly very intelligent people follow, but not just follow, but follow blindly their religion, Christianity in this case. The common and apparently only argument that is fired back is "I know what I believe"! This of course is not an argument, more of an entrenched position from where these people feel safe in their ignorance. Amusingly another defence for their belief is that the atheist is offending them with their views and that they shouldn't be so ignorant! Hmmm I often feel I could explain that ignorance is not being prepared to educate or enlighten ones self, but then things would just spiral into what appears to be common on Facebook, that of the full scale verbal war. On one particular group because some were set against a particular point of view being loudly espoused by one individual, this person got so highly strung as to then retort "I hope you all get cancer"! He hadn't been abused in any way and the discussion was about the cost of buying a dog! He obviously was incapable of being told he was wrong. I imagine this may be more to do with today's generation of youngsters who are allowed anything they want and have never been told "No".
Back to religion. I am regularly told that I am being prayed for. Because I don't like to offend, I neglect to tell these people that I find their religion highly offensive and I'd rather they didn't. I'm big enough to suffer these mild indiscretions on my timeline. During the thread a post of a 'meme' was taken offence to by some of those FB friends who are religious.
It's like this; I created man and woman with original sin. Then I destroyed most of them for sinning. Then I impregnated a woman with myself as her child, so that I could be born. Later, I will kill myself to save all of you from the sin I gave you in the first place.
Now as I tried to diffuse tensions within the thread, I pointed out that if you break the entire meme down into its constituent parts then not only is it not funny, but neither should it be offensive as every part of it is what a Christian should believe! Only to an atheist should humour be found in this, absurd paragraph! So in reality they are not offended by the paragraph but more that we atheists find it amusing! I was once told "The truth shall set you free". Well it does, but not in the way those who generally espouse this common Christian phrase would think. When you awaken to the quite blindingly obvious fact that religion (of any kind) is for one purpose and one purpose only and that is control. Control of the masses. That's it in a nut shell. Yes some draw comfort from the belief that they will live for eternity in heaven. Who wouldn't want to live forever? I sometimes hear from those who do believe, "Better safe than sorry". Seriously! The whole basis of their belief system is better safe than sorry!!
We, non-believers are constantly being told that "God is love". Hang on a minute, God in the Old Testament was responsible for genocide on, well, a Biblical scale. Firstly the flood, where he wiped out everyone on the planet except for Noah and his family, then to help Joshua out he collapsed the walls of Jericho killing all inside, then whilst Moses was leading 'Gods chosen people' across the Red Sea, he then drowned the entire Egyptian army! This is not a God of love, this is a God of vengeance. Then to top the lot IF you decide not to believe in him, then he won't just let you die and that's the end of it, but you then have to burn in hell. Not for a day or two, but for eternity. This is not a God of compassion this is a God of hate.
So when believers say "well you have to have faith" and "I'll believe what I want to". How is it then possible to take them seriously, when they cannot even address these very simple examples. Oh and these are not the only ones. Jesus rose from the dead. Really! Well in those days this was almost a daily occurrence, take Lazarus for example, and then of course Enoch. He was considered to be such a good bloke, he didn't even have to die. So a man with sin (as Jesus hadn't yet died for mans sin) was taken up into heaven! So there is a sinful man in heaven!
Again I find it incredulous that in the 21st century with all the education and scientific proof that religion is still with us. Okay, I can accept that in the religions of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and various others from poor third world countries where education is still more of a luxury, that it will take much longer before we see the back of all religion and it certainly won't be in my lifetime, and then those who wish to wage war will have to provide a more truthful reason for wanting to eradicate a neighbouring nation.
As far as my FB friends who then begin to distance themselves from me as they realise that my belief that there isn't a god is far stronger than their belief that there is one. What does this say about such people that they can only befriend those who they believe can be converted to believe the same as them. No wonder this world is in such a mess when peoples of differing religions refuse to even attempt to see another point of view! Or at best at least put up a better argument than "I know what I believe and that's enough".
Finally when I hear "I'm offended because you should show respect for my beliefs". I will never respect religion in any form. I will respect the person, but do not expect me to respect an imaginary figure who has complete control of your entire life.