I want to say a few words about the absurdity that is atheists participating in so-called “interfaith” activities. Some of you may remember that a few months before the 2010 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, we had a “Parliament of the World’s Religions” being held at the same venue. I don’t mind if believers gather to talk, eat cake and sing schmaltzy songs about how much they love supernatural beings, instead of bashing each other’s heads in for once, but please leave me out of it. These folks stand for everything I despise. Belief without evidence, without questioning, and a disdain for, and often outright rejection of, science as a way of gathering knowledge about the world, in favor of the blind faith of religious belief.
There’s this word. “Faith”. The brand of non-belief and antitheism that I stand for is one that values truth and evidence and therefore rejects faith, it is one that acknowledges science as the best way of understanding the world around us, as opposed to seeking answers in religious texts.
The argument most often used in favor of atheists partaking in interfaith meetings is I guess twofold. For one, it is seen as a chance to get our voice heard in circles where it would not usually be heard, and two, people acknowledge the obvious, which is that religious people can sometimes do good things, and by joining interfaith activities we may be able to get something good and useful achieved together.
Well, I must disagree. There is a fundamental difference between believers and us antitheists, and that is that we value truth, and we expect, and demand truth. And faith and religion are just not true, never have been, never will be. They are the neck collars for those with a weak spine, the dummy for the infant, the bottle of booze for the middle-aged, the imaginary safety net for those in fear of falling, you get the idea. Why on earth would I sit down with a bunch of deluded fools and listen to their fairy tales ? I don’t have a belief, I don’t want to ever believe anything without evidence, there are no atheist gods, no atheist temples or churches, no atheists in robes who collect money from me every Sunday demanding marital fidelity from the pulpit while screwing the neighbor’s wife, and most importantly, there are no projects, no activities, no good deeds, that can not be achieved without holding a religious belief.
There are plenty of things that believers and nonbelievers can achieve together, this is really trivial, people of different faiths work with atheists, pagans and moon worshippers in every workplace in this country and around the world and achieve goals together all the time, my own workplace is full of evangelicals, Muslims and Jews, and we have worked together for years.
But in my view it is essential that antitheists and gnu atheists make it absolutely clear that there is no basis for commonality when it comes to interfaith meetings, where faith is that what qualifies you to be on such a panel or forum. I don’t have faith, I reject faith, it is a precious lie that people tell themselves and others (sadly often their children), and it clashes fundamentally with my view of the world, and my method of gaining knowledge about the world. Faith means taking the Blue Pill and remaining in the Matrix. Atheists have chosen the Red Pill instead. These are profoundly different concepts, and we nonbelievers think that those who take the Blue Pill are wrong. So why sit on a panel with these people and sing Kumbaya ? Not me.