I Don't Need to Apologize
This post might be inflaming and goading, but I assure my reader, I write it with the intent to educate regarding the difference between belief and fact, faith and science, religion and ideas. As a bit of background, I'd recommend reading my previous post on tolerance and respect, the difference between belittling someone and belittling their ideas.
Atheism is an interesting position because there is no apology needed for an atheist's beliefs. The Christians may need to apologize for their beliefs on slavery or bigotry toward the LGBT crowd (they rarely do, but that's another issue) or the Muslims may need to apologize for their barbarous treatment towards women, but there is no belief within the confines of atheism or even beliefs that follow from atheism that needs to be apologized for.
For instance, in conversation with a Christian, my beliefs belittle his god, because I
- do not believe in said god and
- if said god existed, he's a megalomaniac and no worthy of worship.
This may appear to be insulting, but it really isn't. Most forms of "insult" towards a particular faith have their origin within the faith itself, thereby admonishing the faith itself.
An example might help: by most (all?) Christians, slavery is deemed wrong, but on the flip side, the Bible promotes, advocates, allows for, and speaks no ill of slavery, which is contradictory and an embarrassment to the Christian when pointed out. However, the highlight of such a belief is often taken as an insult, a misrepresentation of Christianity, a condemnation. Yet, I need not apologize. Why should I apologize for your stupid idea?
Christian--own up to the fact that there is discrepancy and abuse inside of Christianity. Do not bury your head in the sand and then cry "Foul!" when such a moronic, ironic belief is pointed out. Be proactive and show that Christianity is not what the Bible teaches any longer (by this I mean the present day Christian has to cherry pick parts of the Bible and cannot believe it as a whole).
Furthermore, I caught myself recently in conversation apologizing for similar circumstances. I painted a metaphorical picture of the Christian God, of his demands and claims. The picture was repulsive and not entirely intentional; it was to prove a point, but not to deride and poke fun at the Christian God (that might come later).
So, no longer will I apologize for handing back to a believer, an astrologer, a dupe, their own beliefs, castrated and exposed for the ridiculousness that it is. It is criticism much deserved and needed to clarify and open the eyes of the following.
In turn, believers (Christian and others) need to quit being so easily bruised by the defamations of their faith if such a slander is justified. It is part of the commonplace that inspection and critique of ideas encourages the free exchange of knowledge, not the plea of persecution and the shying away from critical thinking. Critical thinking, even by its very name, will at times be critical. It may wound one's feelings, but get over it if the critique is right.
Some further thoughts (December 7, 2016):
I mostly call for a critique of religion and beliefs unapologetically for the simple fact that religion and beliefs are ideas, which are fair game when it comes to free speech. Letting someone force another to back down or apologize for such criticism is a suppression of free speech. Where criticism would go too far is to slander the individual, disrespect the person, or deride the person. Also overreaching speech could include a misrepresentation of a person's beliefs with the intent of a straw man argument or to satirize it.