You seem puzzled and shocked by the recent change in Atheists and appear to be mystified and confused because we have stopped being deferential and 'respecting' your right to be above questioning, and politely exempting you from the need to justify your beliefs and the claims to power and privilege you have traditionally exercised, unchallenged, for many centuries.
You appear to be affronted by, and indignant at, our sudden perceived 'rudeness', as though we are like surly servants who have suddenly refused to be servile and have declined to be at your beck and call.
This letter is my attempt to explain why this has happened. I speak for myself though I hope my fellow Atheists agree with me.
You may have heard it called 'New Atheism'. It is really just the same old Atheism but now without the polite and considerate deference to your sensitivities and your strange allergy to questions like how?, why? and what? to which you had for long been accustomed.
You see, we have realised you were simply taking advantage of our politeness - not so much because you saw it as your right to deference and to be immune from having to justify yourselves, though you undoubtedly did see it as your right - but because you saw it as a weakness in us to be exploited. You exploited our polite consideration by making us feel guilty for asking you these very reasonable questions.
We no longer feel guilty for upsetting you with questions which you should be able to answer if your reasons are honest, but which you self-evidently can't answer, hence your frequently loud indignation and cries of foul. You may not like it; you might kick and scream like a spoiled trustafarian Sloan Square brat, but you are now required to justify your claim to power and privilege; it is no longer yours by right.
Events like the 9-11 attack on New York, the 7-7 attack in London, the 3-11 attack on Madrid, the faith-based initiatives in Palestine, Sudan, Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Chechnya, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, East Timor, Bali, and many other points of conflict in the world, have shown us that religion is not a force for peace in the world but a source of conflict. The only 'peace' religion knows is the peace of total surrender and abject submission at the end of the war it has waged on those who dare to stand up to it.
We have come to see that you give permission to the extremists in your midst by sanctioning 'faith' as a means to determine truth and lending respectability to the idea that all truth can be found in an old book of primitive myths, barbaric tribal morality and forged and falsified Bronze and Iron Age legends, and to the absurd notion that a suspension of critical thinking and analytical skills is to be admired.
And you see, we remember the way you behaved when you held complete power over us and we have resolved to never allow you to do the same again. We refer to this period as The Dark Ages, before the Enlightenment began to open our eyes to the possibilities you were denying us and the fallacies you were using to justify your abuses.
We remember how you unleashed a murderous purge on rival beliefs and even rival sects of your own belief once your particular sect had gained total power within the remnant Roman Empire as it entered it's terminal decline, destroying any evidence that your own sect was based on systematically forged and falsified records.
We remember how you killed anyone who showed the slightest doubt or dared to question your handed-down dogma and how you promoted to positions of power and authority only those who signed up to your lies and deceptions and who conspired with you to foist your invented 'faith' onto the ordinary people.
We remember how you supported and validated a repugnant feudal system in which millions of people lived as slaves with their very lives at the disposal of the land-owners you gave authority to in return for privilege and patronage and protection and tolerance of your greed, debauchery and gluttony whilst those around you died of disease and starvation. We remember how you told the people it was God's will that these parasites ruled over us and God's will that we lived lives of abject misery and hopelessness because we could look forward to something better, like an unctuous trader in a bazaar selling us a pig in a poke and scarpering before we asked for our money back. Although, as you knew, we would never be in a position to ask for our lives back.
We remember how you unleashed murderous attacks on distant people on the pretext of liberation when your own position was under threat, or to whip a truculent people into line by imbuing them with paranoia about a distant enemy. Or simply to fill your coffers with war booty stolen from its rightful owners on the pretext of confiscation as punishment for sin. We remember how you threw young men into battle to die horribly whilst you cheered from the sidelines and rejoiced in the depths of the blood that flowed through the streets of Jerusalem and other cities, from the safety of your palaces, abbeys, castles and citadels.
We remember how you indiscriminately murdered tens of thousands of people in southern France because some of them dared to refuse to pay tithes, dared to question your dogma and preferred to follow a different one, just to secure the southern borders of a despot whose support you wanted.
We remember how you sold indulgences to the rich and powerful so they could buy exemption from the need to behave decently towards their people, and so they could live debauched and violent lives of greed and selfishness and be free to exploit those with whom they dealt unfettered by the need to behave humanely or treat others with the dignity that should have been their due as human beings.
We remember how you organised pogroms and persecutions and massacres against Jews, often just at the time a powerful ruler was being asked to please pay back the money he had borrowed from them, often under conditions they could not refuse, or simply to secure popular support for your favourite local despot.
We remember how you sanctioned and organised the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent women in frequent periods of witch paranoia usually as a distraction for something else which was threatening your power and privilege or to help out an unpopular despot who was having trouble controlling his underlings.
We remember how you blessed and sanctified the frequent wars of conquest, selling your blessings to the highest bidders or those who held out the promise of a share in the spoils and we remember how you created a Hell on earth for very many people throughout much of the last 2000 years with the disregard for human dignity of the homicidal psychopath.
We remember how you normally provided the advance guard for colonial imperialists by exporting your superstition to backward and ignorant people, selling them the same lies that you had sold us, with the same false promises, in return for handing over power over their lives, their countries and their natural resources to those with whom you were hand in glove and to whose ruling classes you cravenly capered.
We remember how you gave moral authority to the slave traders who treated whole races of people like animals the easier to buy, sell, breed and kill them at will to earn the profits for the people who paid you for this service. And we remember how you stigmatised, demonised and damned to Hell those who tried to end slavery, and then those who tried to bring equal civil rights to those who had eventually gained their freedom.
And we remember how you keep the descendants of those slaves in positions of economic and social inferiority by telling them the old lie that it is God's will and they will have jam and freedom tomorrow in return for the stale breadcrumbs and subservience of today and we remember how you have sold credulous people the deeply repugnant idea that the best thing that could possibly happen is that everyone is killed in a war to end wars which only your small sect will survive so they can have everything for themselves. We remember how you sold this unspeakable greed, selfishness and hatred for our fellow man as a good thing and a moral crusade.
We remember how you sell hate disguised as love; division disguised as unity; racism and plutocracy disguised as economic freedom and superstition and lies disguised as science.
We remember how you lie to our children and brainwash them with the fear of Hellfire and the guilt of 'original sin' and use that fear to keep them in servile ignorance and deluded into believing that ignorance, superstition and cowering compliance are preferable to questioning, learning, reason and self-reliance.
We remember how you relegated women to subject, sub-human, under-class status for most of history and regarded them as brood mares to be used and abused with impunity by men, and how you demonised and damned those women who stood up for themselves and their fellows and demanded the right to be treated as fully human with full human rights and full access to opportunities and justice. We remember how you used threats and guilt to prevent women exercising their right to control their own fertility and to plan their families and so liberate themselves from a life of drudgery and dependence.
We remember how you opposed every extension of human right to all socio-economic classes; how you opposed every extension of the franchise; how you opposed every move towards liberalisation and inclusion and freedom from discrimination for minorities and how you could always be relied on to find just the excuse the vested interests needed to justify their denial of democratic rights to whichever group it suited them to deny them to.
And we remember your frequent abuses of the power and authority you have held over vulnerable people, especially, but not only, children, and how, when you have learned of these abuses you have conspired to keep the perpetrators from justice and free to continue their abuse and how you have withheld information from and obstructed the authorities who were investigating these abuses.
And we remember how you lied about condoms and AIDS and so hampered attempts by humanitarians to bring relief from famine, poverty and sickness for much of the third world.
In short, we remember how you abused every little bit of power you had and how you continue to abuse the little power we have still to take from you. We remember how you have almost never (or only very rarely and then only because you have demanded a monopoly on 'charity' which you have often used as a cover for your other abuses) been a force for good in the world but have almost always been a force for bad; for reaction, for repression, for division and discrimination. And we remember how you shamefacedly posed as the guardians of our morals from your position of moral bankruptcy and how you demanded the right to tell us how to live our lives.
We have now realised that all the arguments you have traditionally deployed in defence of your superstition and to justify your power and privilege have been refuted and falsified and that science has never found a single scrap of evidence for the supernatural you defer to or the magic being you tell us inhabits it and from whom you derive your authority.
We have discovered that your claims are fraudulent and the disreputable claims of the confidence trickster and the charlatan.
We will no longer stand in polite deference and allow you to continue your abuse of the human race on the pretext of the fraud you have systematically perpetrated against humanity. They have done nothing to deserve you and we need to be rid of you. The future of humanity depends on it.
We accept that some of you do some good in the world and that a few of you perform great acts of self-sacrifice out of love for your fellow man, and thank you for it, but we regret that you do so little to expose and oppose the harm that so many of your co-religionists do.
Begone! Go now! I wish to have no more of you.
p.s. Should you mend your ways and resolve to be decent, productive and useful people, you are more than welcome to be part of the brighter future which freedom from religion will bring. You have nothing to fear from Atheists when we are the majority and hold the power that you once abused. You will have the same rights and privileges as other people, no more and no less. We will accord you the same respect as others and with the dignity which is your right as a fellow human being - a dignity which was so conspicuously lacking in your treatment of other people, especially those who dared to disagree with you and stood up to your bullying, and which would undoubtedly be lacking again were you ever to regain the power you once held.
You have nothing to fear from us because the very last people we will behave like is you.
Sunday, 17 February 2013
An open letter to Christians.