According to the common usage of this phrase, I am a “Militant Atheist”. Here’s why:
- I speak out publicly about my critical view of religion and spiritual belief.
- I maintain an atheist blog. le gasp.
- I will engage theists in discussion and debate about theology.
- I vehemently support the separation of church and state.
- I love science so much, I’d have its babies.
- I use sarcasm and ridicule to illustrate why I think certain things are, indeed, ridiculous.
- The most violent thing I’ve done in the name of godlessness is to gleefully throw a bible into the recycling bin.
Why is this a bad thing? Why should I be quiet simply because I lack faith in mythological creatures? Why do we give religious people a free pass to express their loud, evangelistic points of view and then shy away from expressing our own thoughts?
The word “militant” should not be assigned to someone like me who at worst is loudly expressing opinions and ridiculing the irrational.In the words of twitter user @HHeliBebcnof:
A militant Christian blows up abortion clinics; a militant Muslim hijacks airplanes; a militant atheist argues with people.
I don’t stone you for being a Christian/Jewish/Hindu/Wiccan. I won’t burn you at the stake for being a witch. I will never kill in order to please a lack of deity. My lack of spiritual belief doesn’t make me want to hurt you. My lack of belief doesn’t tell me to bomb a building or damn someone to eternal torture. If I ever do something violent, it’s because I’m an ass–not because some imaginary friend would like it.
The term “militant atheism” needs to be utterly rejected by skeptics and atheists everywhere. If anything, call us Proud Atheists or Pain-In-Your-Ass Atheists. But don’t call a peaceful, intelligent movement a name that equates it with acts of violence, hatred, and bigotry. It’s easy to slander your opponents–to poison the well in order to make yourself the good guy. But cheap shots don’t make for a winning argument.
Check out a discussion on this topic at deconversion.org. Watch two great videos about “militant atheism” after the cut!