December 26, 2011

I Get Email Telling Me I Belong to a Religion

'Tis the season for great email, so here's one (unedited). You know I'm a sucker for references to "you people."
You should be made aware that anyone who desires to spread his or her belief structure is an evangelist. Believe it or not, YOU belong to a religion. I'm not sure if it's just that you are more like "Christians" than you care to realize(like that's the only religious belief structure out there or something) or if you're just bigoted, but you're blinded by that so badly by it that you completely fail to see where you stand. You are the thing that you want to resist so much. And don't bother with the "We believe in science" thing. Science neither proves nor denies the existence of any deity of any kind seeing as how science relies IMPLICITLY on collected data to validate its findings. To tack a belief structure on to science is nothing short of religion. I put you peopl! e in the same category as the religious nuts that knock on my door and tell me I'm going to burn if I don't believe what they do. Think about it you religious nuts.
Using this author's apparent definition of evangelism, all teachers are evangelists because they seek to spread a belief system. Granted, it happens to be a factually-based belief system, but this author does not appear to be interested in such distinctions.

The most fascinating leap is how he gets from evangelism to religion. Evidently, he regards them as inseparable. Many religious people have little interest in evangelism and many who would fit this author's definition of evangelism are not even remotely religious.

Those who understand the meaning of atheism will not confuse it with religion, although it must be acknowledged that there are some atheists who seem to want to create a new religion. But what about the accusation of evangelism? There are certainly some atheists who embrace the evangelist label; however, this does not make them religious. All this means is that they have something in common with some religious people: the desire to evangelize.

How about me? Am I guilty of wanting to spread a belief system? Absolutely. And the heart of the belief system I'd like to spread is the idea that reality is preferable to fantasy and that beliefs should be based on evidence. Of course, this fails to meet even the most primitive definitions of religion. So no, I do not belong to a religion.

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