Monday, February 7, 2011

Evangelical Atheists?

Read an interesting article recently where the author was declaring his contempt for evangelical atheists...sort of poking fun as well as annoyance at their actions which parallel some community-based religious activities.  It started me thinking (always a danger)...

First, I must disagree with the use of the word, "evangelize", as it is specific to attempting to convert non- or un-believers to faith in the gospels. It has no logical application to his description of some atheists' actions; certainly they are doing just the contrary. The word that seems most appropriate is "proselytize." And Athiests, and believers in all faiths attempt that all the time.

There is a difference between "informing" and "proselytizing." If I am in a conversation with another and an act of mine is based on religious belief, I may explain that portion of my belief as an explanation of my act or actions. That is informing, and if the other individual asks more questions, my answers continue to be informative, not proselytizing.

On the other hand, if I or any other person injects or creates the subject of religion into a conversation and puts forth his or her religion as necessary for a good life and a successful "hereafter," if he or she tries to "convert" me (as evangelical Christians, Muslims, and proselytizing atheists do) then I do get annoyed. On the edge of unacceptability is the one time declaration of one's faith. I have known some who do that and then do not raise the subject again. I find that to be actually quite informative...about the person as well as their faith...even though they might have chosen a more appropriate time to broach the subject.

But...and here is the main is not just atheists who are guilty of is all religions. And, if you want to think broadly about it, the same goes for political ideologies, nutritional advocates (read: vegetarians, organic, etc.), and recyclists...and I am sure there are many others.

Proselytizing is annoying. And it often becomes a harassing fanaticism that is more than objectionable. Those who take part are to be avoided and ignored...not for their persons but for their attitude that they and only they are qualified to command all others in the path by whatever name. Some, like the Islamists, are to be feared and watched; others, like the vegetarians and food police, are to be defended against in the name of personal freedom; and atheists and religious groups are to be asked nicely to either go away, or excuses made to leave the group being assailed. But contempt is a word that carries an aura of personal distaste, and my annoyance is with behavior, not with judging the person.

No comments: