People will ask me, when they discover that I’m an atheist – because I’ve said I am – if I’m a militant atheist. It seems to be the go-to adjective used by those that complain about how atheists are destroying our way of life.
As far as I know, I don’t know any atheists I would consider militant. Do they advocate? Yes, I do as well when I can, but I think using that word does nothing but drive a wedge between people who otherwise would be willing to discuss issues as each see them.
I’ve never advocated for the end to religion, although it’s obvious to me just by looking at the news, how religious belief affects some people to the degree that they will do whatever it takes, whatever they believe their holy text is telling them, to impose their belief on everyone else around them.
Believers think they know what’s best for society, because whatever god they worship, has told them so through their text and through their various congregations. Not all believers, I want to make that clear, but just as some may think that atheists, or at least some of us, are militant, some of them might be described similarly.
I have noticed some atheists use the term extremist for those, and yes, there are those whose views I wonder consider extreme, but I think painting an entire religion, Christian, Muslim, etc,, that way does a disservice to both atheists and those believers.
Why we tend to view each other these ways is that this is what we’re exposed to on a daily basis. We won’t see John or Jane Doe atheist being interviewed on TV unless they are out carrying signs, protesting some particular government action. The same with believers . It’s not good for ratings to have reasonable people on TV, those of us that are willing to talk without malice, don’t garner the eyeballs and of course do not further fuel the controversy that is being proffered.
I’m not saying that people should not be vocal in whatever they believe is right, just not to the degree where our only goal appears to be creating division in society. There are many reasonable people of faith and atheism that are capable of debating issues that affect both without becoming combative or aggressive toward one another.
I don’t consider myself militant about anything that has to do with atheism, or religion for that matter. We can do a lot more by talking than throwing stones at one another.