On CNN Pierce Morgan interviewed Ricky Gervais about his views on being an atheist. Gervais explains that people who are not atheist should not be offended when he jokes about not believing in god. What appealed to me about this is not the atheist aspect or Gervais, that is how I found the video, but that is not what struck me about it. I find it baffling that this needs to be clarified. If you were to watch anything Ricky Gervais does you realize that he is never really that offensive when it comes to religion. Religious people aren’t really offended they just grab onto that phrase for dear life. They think that it makes them look poor and defenseless, when really they are the majority and we are the minority.
I can speculate as to what is really going on here. People are afraid and mad when people openly admit to not believing in god. Imagine being taught that not believing in god is the worst thing you can do, ever in your life. It is so bad that it never even crosses your mind that there might not be a god, that isn’t even an option. You have been taught that the BEST thing you can do is believe in god without question, even if it means dying saying he is real when you could have saved your life to deny it. It is that engrained in them. I talk about it so emotionally because that is what I was told my entire life and if that wasn’t bad enough I believed it. When I was younger I saw an interview Bill Maher did with Larry King. He gave his reasoning for being atheist, and what I got out of it was this: who is the better person? The person who is a good person because if they aren’t they will be severely punished with torture and fire, OR the person who is a good person because they just think they should be. It is understood that you will benefit from being good to others, just because you would want to be treated that way. Not just who is a better person but what makes more sense? That would scare anyone.
The issue is when a Christian declares that they are Christian they are actually saying; my religion is better than yours. People can take that offensively, especially religions like Hinduism, with people who believe that you can worship in whatever ever way you want, some of them are Christians. They believe in the same religion that condemns them to hell for eternity for being Hindu. When an atheist says they don’t believe in any of it they aren’t saying that, they aren’t making these attacks. In fact, that is one of the reasons I hate religion, things like that, the hating and the fighting. All over something imaginary, different religions poke and pick at each other. I as an atheist am not trying to pick at this disgusting scab that is religion, I want to put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding.
I am not offended when other people say they believe in god so why are they offended when it is reversed? I cannot speak for them but I have no fear in what I believe. There is nothing someone could tell me to change my mind. I am not afraid to defend my position or for it to be challenged, in fact I welcome it. Learning and questioning is important to stay grounded. Hey, please believe what you want, really it is ok we don’t mind. But please don’t lie and say you are offended when we say hey, we don’t believe what you do, because you aren’t. How am I supposed to argue against “offended”? It’s a cop out.