For Humanist Network News
Dec. 15, 2010
I heard a question the other day that really bothered me … I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this:
Why do atheists target Christians when Christians do many good things in the world?
Yes, it’s true that a lot of Christians do some really wonderful things — they give money to charity, volunteer their time, travel overseas to help with disaster relief, etc. (A lot of atheists do those things, too, for what it’s worth.)
So why go after Christians?
Because for all the good they do, so much of what upsets and angers me are problems that Christians either caused or made worse.
I think gay people have a right to marriage, just as I do. But too many Christians are doing everything in their power to block that right for a variety of reasons that have never made any sense to me.
I want children to get a proper science education. But too many Christians want to see non-scientific ideas like Intelligent Design shoved into public school curriculums. Countless hours and dollars have been wasted trying to fight that unnecessary battle.
I want students to be well-educated when it comes to sex. If they want to remain abstinent until marriage, that’s fine. If they don’t, they should know how condoms and birth control work. But too many Christians want to prevent students from learning that information.
I believe people should be able to choose their own religious (or non-religious) path. But too many Christians choose to indoctrinate children with their own religious beliefs at a young age instead of exposing them to a variety of beliefs. How many young people never really get exposed to their choices when it comes to religion.
I think women should be able to decide for themselves what happens to their bodies, whether they want to have a baby or have an abortion. But too many Christians want to make sure no woman ever has that choice.
I know a handful of prominent Christians have said some awful things in the past. They continue to do so. But too many Christians remain silent every time that happens because they don’t want to ruffle any feathers.
In many of these cases — and there are so many more — the Christians in question often don’t think there’s a problem with what they do.
Hell, they’re proud of being obstacles in the name of what they consider to be a more righteous path.
Do Christians do some good things? Yes. Absolutely.
But I can’t focus on that when so many Christians are to blame for some major social injustices that I witness on a regular basis.
Hemant Mehta is the Chair of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) Board of Directors. He has worked with the Center for Inquiry and also is an SSA representative to the Secular Coalition for America. Hemant received national attention, including being featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, for his work as the “eBay Atheist.” Hemant’s blog can be read at FriendlyAtheist.com, and his book, I Sold My Soul on eBay, (WaterBrook Press) is now available on Amazon.com. He currently works as a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago.