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'Dogmatic, hate-filled atheists'

I've spent some time on an internet forum hosted by the Finnish Lutheran Church discussing the problematic birth control ban practised by a revivalist sect, and demanding that the church do something about it. It's actually more than a ban on birth control, it's a demand to use every opportunity to procreate. The average Finnish woman has 1.7 children, the women in the sect may have 10 or even more.

I've pointed out that the women in the sect are probably not much different from other Finnish women, who limit the number of their chidlren for many reasons, their own well-being not being the least of them, and that I think this is a serious human rights issue. My opponents are mostly Lutheran but not themselves members of the sect which operates inside the church. They've accused me of wanting to dictate how many children other people should have, wanting to weaken the church by having the sect separate itself from it and take its 150,000 paying members with it, hating Christians and being intolerant of different ways of life. And I thought I was defending women, because I think they shouldn't have to give birth every year and suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.

The most common accusation thrown in the direction of atheists, new, gnu or regular is that they're driven by hate and their thinking is dogmatic. No matter what we say we're for, be it equality, human rights, science education, LGBT rights or free speech, we're suspected of having an agenda other that the one we've stated. Usually it's an intolerant ideology with the objective to eradicate all religions and the naive conception that it would solve all the world's problems. And hate, of course.

If Richard Dawkins says he believes in science because it works, he's said to have a dogmatic faith in science, accused of forcing his beliefs on everyone or even distorting science to fit his ideology. If he wants the Catholic Church to be held accountable for covering up child abuse and exacerbating the AIDS catastrophe in Africa, he's said to have a deep seated hatred for Catholics and possibly the Irish and working class people, and that's the reason he's looking for anything to attack them with. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who obviously has some legitimate criticisms of Islam, has been accused of blaming everything that goes wrong in her own and her family life on Islam.

Even the reason for being an atheist has to be something other than we say it is. We must feel resentment towards our parents or our community or we just really hate God. Or our dogma is ”There is no God!” and that's why we can't even consider anything religious having any value. There just has to be some ideology we're all fundamentalist followers of, that's based on hate, scientism, intolerance, and some more hate.

I honestly see no such ideology. I don't think there is such a thing as scientism, there's no atheist dogma and I don't think atheists are very often filled with hate. There's anger, but the anger is directed at the unfairness, irrationality, cruelty, stupidity, immorality and hypocrisy that religious institutions and people are guilty of. I think it's outrageous that one can't criticize them without being called an intolerant raging bigot.

I generally believe people are for the things they say they are for, and that their motives are what they say they are, unless I have good reason to suspect otherwise. The faithful seem to always suspect an ulterior motive when it comes to atheists.

This thinking obviously reflects a general mistrust of atheists, but I think it also springs from the faithful's own dogmatism. They do it themselves all the time. They oppose evolution because of dogma but say it's because the evidence isn't there. They claim they support abstinence-only sex education because it gets good results, when they couldn't care less whether or not it works because the reasons for advocating it are entirely religious. They defend the Catholic Church no matter what, even when 200 deaf children have been abused, their calls for help not heard, and the abuser protected from the law. And accuse us for attacking Catholics out of hate and without good reason.

They say they are defending people's right to have as many children as they like and to freely choose to follow a religion, when in reality they're defending the right to indoctrinate and control in the name of religion. And if we dare to get angry or frustrated it just goes to show how hate-filled atheists are.


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