To Whomever It May Concern:
When you ask me to respect religion because people believe in it, I want you to remember something. I want you to remember that long ago your ancestors were not Christian or Muslim. They had their own culture and customs native to their heritage. Through military conquest religion spread itself through the Old World, and those distant relatives were faced with a choice: either accept Christianity/Islam or die a painful death. This was how most major religions today achieved their position of respect.
After Europe had been fully indoctrinated, the papal Doctrine of Discovery gave the authority to all good Christians to conquer the native peoples of the New World and claim that land for God and the Church. Millions died mercilessly and were even tortured by Christian heroes like Christopher Columbus.
Now, thousands of years later, when we no longer have to respect these beliefs upon pain of death, we are told that we should respect religion. We are told by those within even the non religious community that we should show respect to these ideas that have gained a place of vaunted privilege in our societies which are built upon the graves of any who dared question or challenge the authority of divine providence.
You think you are being rational. You think you are being reasonable. What you are really doing is propping up the last leg of human slavery to bad ideas and providing intellectual cover for religion to keep a place of honor and respect it never earned.
Please, stop protecting religion in the guise of false humility. Be honest and firm with your beliefs and never expect anyone to respect your ideas unless they earn it, and always be willing to be wrong. That is what it means to be a free thinker.
Timothy Havener (via The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science)
“People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.” – Charles Fort
“Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.” – Bertrand Russell
“If many object to the idea that human identity emerges gradually during development, they’re most definitely going to find the idea of soullessness and mind as a by-product of nervous activity horrifying. This will be our coming challenge: to accommodate a view of ourselves and our place in the universe that isn’t encumbered by falsehoods and trivialising myths.” – PZ Myers
“From the conclusion of this [Revolutionary] war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, ’til our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.” – Thomas Jefferson