My Other Big Complaint About Religion

I know I just said that I had one favorite argument from the Christopher Hitchens piece, but I forgot the second one that is closer to the end:

For this reason, I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could. Very generous of me, you may say. But will the religious grant me the same indulgence? I ask because there is a real and serious difference between me and my religious friends, and the real and serious friends are sufficiently honest to admit it. I would be quite content to go to their children’s bar mitzvahs, to marvel at their Gothic cathedrals, to “respect” their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate merchant, or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition—which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion is ultimately incapable of doing. As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments that I have touched upon.

(emphasis mine)

Whenever I get all hot-headed and pissed off about conservative politics, I often have more than a few friends say, “Jason, you sound just like they do.” And while this may be true (and I loved it when someone called me an evangelical athiest once), although I may sound like them, in the end I don’t act like them.

Conservatives and the religions behind them want to say, “Jason, as a gay person you cannot married and if we had our way (those damn courts!!), having sex would be illegal and we might even kill you.” I would never do that. While laws outlawing homosexuality are not uncommon or even that “extreme” in today’s politics (a city manager in Largo, Florida was fired for wanting to have a gender-changing operation), I would never think of or suggest that Christianity or any opposite-sex marriages should be outlawed or punishable by the law.

A goal of religion is to create more religious followers. They are always going to be trying to do things to convert people like me. Athiests don’t do that. Sure, I get in a lot of heated and maybe offensive debates with people, but I honestly and truthfully believe the situations are different. Am I wrong?

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