February 22, 2012

Why Do Atheists Waste Their Time Thinking About Religion?


If you write an atheist blog, I can almost guarantee that you have been asked some version of the following question:
If you atheists are so against religion, why do you waste your time thinking about it or even blogging about it?
Like me, I suspect that you find this question a bit tiring after awhile. I find that my list of responses has grown so large over the years that I sometimes lose track of them. Here's just a few:
  1. One does not need to agree with something to be interested in it. I'm interested in all sorts of things I don't agree with (e.g., serial murder, schizophrenia, etc.).
  2. Unfortunately, my lack of religious belief in no way prevents me from being affected by religion. I live in a thoroughly religious culture where many people would like nothing better than to impose their religious beliefs on me. Not agreeing with them does not shield me from their behavior.
  3. Religion has many negative effects on the society in which I live and touches my day-to-day life in many ways.
  4. Being an atheist in the United States makes me a member of a tiny minority living in the midst of a massive religious majority. I would have to be suicidal to make no effort to understand the majority.
  5. Many atheists hope to reduce the impact of religion on the society in which we live. How could we possibly hope to do so if we did not devote some time and effort to the subject?