What is it about some atheists wanting so badly to debunk religion? Refusing to believe in a higher power is fine, but I don’t understand the urge to pry other people from their faith. If something makes people happy and helps them order their personal universe, what business is it of anyone else, even if the foundation of those beliefs are fallacy?
Almost everyone has had that stomach-lurching experience of being trapped on a plane or in a three-day work conference with someone who, three seconds into the conversation, brings up the name of their diety, and then continues to do so while the listener squirms and frantically searches for a conversation-changer that never comes. Not many people relish that conversation. These fanatics, far from being the walking advertisement for their faith they no doubt believe themselves to be, turn away at least as many listeners as they attract. Militant atheists are like this as well. Like religious fanatics, these atheists know how best you should live your life, and what you should believe. Religious and atheistic fanaticism share a trait common with most (if not all) forms of fanaticism, the castigation of those who hold heretical beliefs.
When someone is accosted by a religious fanatic, it can be unpleasant an unwanted. Consider, however, that the fanatic, no matter how bizarre his or her beliefs, is in most cases, acting with what in other circumstances might be considered noble motives. This person believes that the information he or she is sharing will save a life. Does this justify an unwanted testimonial? It does not. I’m not sure it even mitigates it.
Still, the point is worth considering, when you consider what benefit an atheist thinks he or she is imparting when debunking religious beliefs. The atheist will tell you that he or she is freeing the deluded individual from the shackles of superstition and introducing him to the world of reason. This idea is not entirely without merit. However, as is true in so many cases, if the religious individual is happy with his or her faith and not actively doing harm to anyone else, attempting to undermine the foundation of this faith is cruel and unnecessary. In this way, proselytizing atheists are like a sad little kid who’s found out that there really isn’t a Santa Claus and can’t wait to ruin the fun for everybody else.