I was looking up random youtube vids and came across one from the show “the atheist experience” where a christian caller gets dropped for being horrible:
This got me thinking about tolerance and censorship and religion and whatnot. I’ve been censored by christians many times on xanga (blocked from revelife’s featured blogs, ironically for criticizing their censorship of innocuous comments, blocked by many religious and conservative xangans) and I’ve also called into apologetic radio shows both internet and real broadcast shows and been cut off and talked over and had many a call dropped for simply making sense (not insulting or prank calling). This made me wonder if christians get the same sort of treatment from atheists, so I wanted to (if that is the case) walk a mile in their shoes. I know christians get blocked by atheists now and then on xanga, sometimes unfairly, but I was wondering about call in shows which tend to be a bit more professional than some 15 year old on the internet. So I searched xanga for “atheist christian censorship” “christian cut off” “christian dropped call” etc (without quotes), and this was the closest I could find, a jew who was losing faith getting their call dropped from a christian program for asking honest questions (the host sounds like they’re about to have a nervous breakdown at the end of the call):
I recently was accused of being afraid of christianity and I tried to explain that I’m really not, aside from thinking christianity’s institutions are harmful in various ways. In the same sense if I lived in a muslim country where I could be lynched I would be afraid of islam as an institution even if I could thumb through the koran without it’s contents frightening me or causing me anxiety in the least. It’s the same with christianity, I blog about religion because of the effects of religion on society not because I get a panic attack thinking about maybe there really is a god. I don’t.
And the reason I don’t is that I don’t use atheism as a life preserver. Nobody’s ever convinced me that without atheism life would be terrible and I’d lose my moral sense and my sense of meaning or purpose. My worldview (of which my atheism is a tiny, tiny part) isn’t, in other words, based on fear. Not to generalize about all believers but that fear, that anxiety that so many feel must be a heavy burden to bear. I look at websites like conservapedia or fundamentalist forums where they create their own little pocket of the internet to insulate themselves from the rest of it and I just don’t relate to that mentality at all. It makes no sense to fear other ideas or being wrong, to me being wrong is a joy (assuming my error didn’t injure anyone) because it means I learn something new and improve myself. I look forward to being proven wrong.
So why are so many people afraid? I think maybe at least for some it’s like any other phobia, if someone’s a germaphobe who washes their hands 20 times a day it’s not really about germs, it’s about feeling helpless in some other area of their life and obsessing about something they can control to compensate and give a feeling of security and control. I think even if there is some kind of god or even if it’s the god of the bible a lot of religion is just the same sort of psychology, it’s people using the bible or prayer like a germophobe uses hand sanitizer, as something to hold onto to cope with something else in their life or something left over from childhood.
This realization gives me mixed feelings because on one hand I feel compassion for people who do this and see that a lot of even really obnoxious fundamentalists are perhaps on some level just deeply wounded people, and on the other hand it’s discouraging because it means blogging about logic and evidence is a waste of time for these people. That sort of thing only appeals to people to whom religion is not a coping mechanism, who do not see their religious beliefs as a crutch to get them through their day or as the one thing that gives them a sense of who they are, but as something incidental to themselves or to whom faith us such a burden it’s a huge release to just drop it. But to people who see faith as necessary the only way to help them is to find one of them and befriend them and spend the next several years, day to day, helping them with whatever the real problem is until they’re healed and strong again. And it breaks my heart that I will never be able to do that for a million people.
I wish it were just a matter of logic or evidence.