I am frequently told by atheists and religionists alike that my brand of firebrand atheism is too overbearing, too disrespectful, too brutal, too insensitive, and that it does nothing to appeal to religious people who might otherwise de-convert from their particular strain of insanity and become rational atheists.
I would like to take a moment to explain my approach to religious criticism. I do not write for the pleasure of believers. I do not care about de-converting the faithful, although, judging from messages I have received in the past, I have accidentally succeeded in this regard on a number of occasions. When it comes to convincing believers that their lives are being spent on lies and false promises, and that they have no real or rational reason to squander their precious existence on the delusions of our ancient and comparatively ignorant ancestors, I always think of the wise words of Thomas Paine:
To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.
I do not write to persuade, I write to alleviate. What do I mean? I mean, I do not write to convince believers that they should become atheists – I write to alleviate the psychological pressure and relentless oppression suffered by non-believers who are forced to suffer the insanity of their religious surroundings. The last thing such a person needs to read during their brief parole from their religious prison is polite pandering to the ideological warden that keeps them in a cage patrolled by family, friends, and the society at large.
No. What these people need to read is brutal honesty and unapologetic mockery concerning the hellish matrix that keeps them veiled, erased, fearfully obedient and psychologically suffocated. So, please stop asking me to build bridges with wilfully ignorant believers, because I do not write for insane adults who choose to believe and behave like children – I write for sane adults who are sick of being treated like children, by such children.
Michael A. Sherlock is an atheist author and the founder and
co-chairperson, Human Rights for Atheists, Agnostics and Secularists.