After leaving Christianity, I spent several years connecting with other religious communities. One such was the Unitarian Universalists. Known for their inclusion, I was in the midst of a conversation with a long-standing member who was adamant about not being against anything, only promoting the assertion that all religions seek to address essentially similar ideas. I won’t belabor whether that statement is accurate, as the central issue was more concerned with being opposed to being against anything. When I brought up that being for free inquiry and free expression and the individual right to determine one’s own moral system, logically infers being against the opposite, i.e. moral dogmatism, authoritarian dictates and rigid hierarchical systems, I was looked at with a look that can only be described as dumbfounded.
Innumerable articles have been written about what may euphemistically be referred to as the ‘soul of atheism.’ There are the bewildering rantings against the so-called “New Atheists,” often based on a poor or deliberately mistaken understanding of what is stated and an emphasis on the mantra that such “New Atheists” are angry all the time. It would seem that after so long remaining silent, the mere act of finally speaking out must be construed as being angry. Frankly this says far more about the inherent felt superiority of the religious majority. When those in power want a minority to stay quiet, caricaturing their actions is an effective way to remove them from discussion rather than deal with their criticism.
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