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Subject: I've created (or tapped into?) a monster! ( 47 of 63 )
Posted by Kathleen Adams

My, my, my, haven't you all been busy while I was away! And what a facinating discussion it's been, too.

Looking back at what I've inadvertently wrought, I like to point out just a few things. First, I never, ever posted with the intention of converting anybody. My original intention was to let Mr. Adams know that, contrary to the warning contained in his link to the American Atheist interview (by the way, Mr. Adams, I am looking forward to reading the additions), the interview is not offensive just to "fundamentalists," but is, in fact, offensive to almost any religious person. I am, oh, so far from being a fundamentalist, and I'm telling you, there is some low-down stuff in there. So if Mr. Adams truly wants to warn religious people away from this section, he ought to reword that warning. So, really and truly, this all started more as a criticism of one aspect of the site rather than an argument about the nature of a belief in God.

Just to summarize my original point (so that it doesn't get completely lost in the many, many, many words that followed it), what is offensive (to me, at least) is not a statement of non-belief in God or a higher power or whatever you want to call it, but inaccurate and unflattering generalizations about people who do believe. In other words, saying what one believes is fine; categorizing all those who believe differently as (fill in the negative adjective of your choice: lacking in education; sinners who will burn in hell; etc.) is, OF COURSE, offensive. How can it not be? Of course American Atheist ate those comments up, because they allow atheists to feel nice and superior and smug. It's exactly the same thing when intolerant religious people enjoy affirmations about how much better they are than people who have other beliefs -- but that doesn't make it right!

Second, and much to my surprise, a number of people took my criticism of the warning to be an attack on their beliefs, and nothing -- but nothing -- I said seemed to make any difference in that perception. It just goes to show that one doesn't have to be fundamentalist or religious to be a bit, shall we say, touchy. I don't want to offend the non-believers among you, but some of you responded with vitrol that was completely unwarranted given my carefully worded posts (and thanks to Irritated for pointing this out). It is not right to try to punish me for whatever sins may have been committed against you in the past or that you think might be committed against you by religious people -- at least, not until I start acting like I'm going to commit those same sins. And yes, I do believe that trying to make people feel stupid or inferior for not sharing one's beliefs is a sin. There are a lot of things I don't know about God, but I am darn sure He doesn't like smugness one teensy little bit.

Third, is there a chance that at least some of you who are not religious could perhaps learn to accept that at least some of us who are religious have strong reasons for our beliefs, even if you don't happen to agree with those beliefs? Can you learn to not automatically go into Attack Mode when somebody mentions that she believes in God? I'm sorry, that's really not fair, because not all of you did. But an awful lot of you seemed to be doing your best to discourage me from ever posting another message again (not that it worked, as you'll notice), and that's not right. I'm thick-skinned, and you're not getting rid of me so easily, but I'd hate to see another, more timid poster chased off of the site by nasty remarks. This site should be enjoyed by all fans of Douglas Adams, not just those who share his atheism.
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