The scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun’s bosom. It imparted to the wearer a kind of sacredness which enabled her to walk securely amid all peril
The wonderful irony must be the precise reasoning behind the symbol of The Out Campaign. The themes of pariahdom articulated in the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s timeless novel mirror the mentality many atheists face today. The decision to reject a personal god (or the concepts of god/religion altogether) is typically viewed in the same damning light that poor Hester suffered due to her unchristian behaviors. Unfortunately, it is the rejectors of these foolish fairy tales and archaic paranormalities that are deemed the weird ones. Funny that those who come to religious decisions based on direct studying of the evidence are the ones looked at strangely.
My personal atheism was born in the Holy Family Catholic Church where I made my first communion and was eventually confirmed. Doing nothing more than going through the motions, the odd chanting and medieval rites were haunting and bizarre to this curious youth. The nonsensical hocus pocus certainly never jived with me and, though I cannot be sure of an exact date, I declared my atheism not long thereafter. Proudly, I have been out for some years now.
Though the inherent fallacies of all religion would only come to interest me in later years, the phoniness of the claims combined with the obviousness of religion’s man-made creation were apparent. At the time of my decision, I wasn’t aware of the seemingly infinite contradictions present on every page of the bible. Further, the atrocities of the crusades and the various torturous inquisitions had not yet been stumbled upon. The propagation of the religious right’s political bungling also have little consequence to someone who cannot yet vote. Lastly and personally, the untold amount of sex abuse perpetrated by the sinfully wandering hands of Catholic priests had yet to boil over into the public sphere. (Luckily for me, I never spent enough time in church to be a victim, though someone affiliated with the aforementioned church was eventually charged during his stay at an unrelated Catholic establishment – Archbishop Stepinac High School.)
So, religion seemed like a bullshit story to me from the onset. Further inquiry into this mysterious folklore not only strengthened my feelings but unwaveringly convinced me of inherent evil openly subjugating unquestioning followers. To study religion is to study a perverse series of evils spoken by god through fallible human mouths with the direct purpose of controlling upstarts and lining pockets with blood money.
Religious apologists prattle on about the good things for which religion is responsible and I will grant a few, however, no pro/con list will ever resemble anything that presents religion in a positive light. The cons outweigh the pros by an infinite margin and the negative impact of ancient superstition impedes the progress of the world on a minute to minute basis.
As the days pass and religion slowly makes less and less sense to even the most devout believers, it’s forced to adapt (dare I say evolve?) to keep course. Vatican II was an effort to modernize patently unpalatable nonsense in the Catholic liturgy. Scientifically and historically literate believers are now forced to uphold Darwinism and dismiss the unsubstantiated historicity that the bible claims. With ever minimizing ground to stand on, religion is forced to cast a wider net and lay claim to randomly selected causes they hope will bolster the togetherness of their flock. Hence the bigotry directed toward homosexuals who only wish to have equal rights and the intense desire to give a voice to the voiceless blastocysts microscopically gestating in utero. Both of these asinine causes are championed by ignorant Christians who clearly have nothing better to do than becloud the governmental process with half-understood scripture.
Religion has been a inarguable plague on this Earth since its inception. From the execution of Socrates to today, zealotry of the holy order has inspired barbarism and worked actively to roadblock potential growth across myriad fields. Suicide bombers and Christian creationists alike purposefully backtrack because they believe they hold the key to the unanswered questions of the universe. There simply is no basis for these claims.
To be religious in 2011 is to long to live in a time of gross misunderstanding of the world. Religion was invented to explain away mysteries for which there were no available answers. Religion was invented to provide comfort to those people fearful of what has yet to come and to define what came before. Religion was not revealed; religion was invented.
For these reasons and untold more, I am an atheist.
Unlike the ideologies of Christianity and Islam: I will not say “you should be too,” though clearly I think this.
An atheist only asks for one to examine the available evidence before making such a grave personal choice. Anyone who does this will wear their scarlet letter pridefully and will join others like me in taking up the cross of destroying religion for the good of all humankind.