When I ran the Pagan Pub Moot, one of the things I tried to limit was the amount of Christian bashing done by new converts.  It seemed (perhaps still happens) that most new pagans could only gripe about horrible Christianity is, while rejoicing that they'd found a tolerant religion. 

 

I hate hypocrisy, but I excused this new-convert phenomena.

 

Now I kept my atheism personal for a couple years before seeking community in the form of forums and the Atheist Nexus.  But now I'm here and while I appreciate that religion is irrational, there seems to me to be an inordinate amount of Christian bashing, blaming all the world's ills on that particular religion.

 

It seems eerily familiar, except atheism makes no claim to tolerate anything... it does seem to ignore the nature of humans.  The Crusades were not fought for God, they were fought because the princes and kings were getting worried about having a lot of armed men hanging around, so they got the Pope to declare an excuse to send them all away.  It was about power, fear, greed, etc, the standard human motivations.  If religion wasn't around to use as an excuse, something else would have done.

 

Find any war, any atrocity that was allegedly about religion and I could practically guarantee you it wasn't about religion.  Religion was the excuse, and in lieu of, another excuse or rallying point would be found.  Like patriotism.

 

Religion is silly, yes, but isn't is it silly and reactionary to blame it for all the world's ills?

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Of course broad-brush black-and-white statements like that are silly and reactionary. There is no one person, thing, organization or cult "to blame for all the worlds problems."

 

My opinion on religion is No Thanks and my political viewpoint is Grey.

Those pesky grey areas really make people uncomfortable. People go to a lot of work to get out of them.

I'm still sorting out my opinion on religion-- on the one hand, I view it as worse than silly. I think the attitudes promoted by even moderate Christians are harmful to the people they are inflicted upon, especially children. And that's not even about the Fundies who are actively against science and medicine and other things I hold very dear. I got fed up with Christianity long before I realized I was an atheist.

 

On the other hand, I don't care what an individual believes. I have a lot of very Christian friends (though thankfully, none that I am aware of are Creationists), a lot of very pagan friends, and a lot of agnostic/atheist/nonreligious friends. My pagan friends are, for the most part, the least tolerant-- on that, we've had a similar experience. But they're still my friends, and I don't try to talk them out of their beliefs, and if my very Christian friends found out I was an atheist and offered to pray for me I would understand that it came from a place of love and concern, even if it would annoy the crap out of me. 

 

I do not blame religion for all of the world's problems, but I do feel the world would be a better place without it. 

Isn't it funny how people who claim they are tolerant are actually only tolerant of others exactly like them...I remember one pagan friend bashing some movie character for carrying a rosary. "Fucking Christian!" This same person has some pagan charm in his car and like most of his pagan friends, always wears a big fat pentagram.

 

My feelings about religion: if it stays in someone's mind, it's none of my business. So what if someone has an irrational belief system. You can do whatever you want in your own brain. I only care about the external consequences.

The world will only get rid of religion when humanity as a race outgrows the egoism that demands we are the center of the universe, when we outgrow the Us vs. Them mentality.  It's not about eradicating religion, it's about growing as a species.  And we might not live long enough (as a species) to see that.

The Romans were pagans and they could be pretty intolerant--one of the things they persecuted the up-and-coming Christian religion for was "atheism"--because they didn't believe in the Romans' gods.

 

Religion by itself doesn't do much harm, but give it political gravitas and LOOK OUT!  I have no doubt that neo-Pagans will travel the same road when and if they are ever mainstream.  Why should they be different from every other religion in history?

But again, they didn't persecute for religious reasons, that was their excuse.  People of ANY or NO religion will persecute those whom they perceive as a threat.  There is a rather lot of historical evidence that the people in power in Rome did not believe in their gods, but recognized religion as a tool.  Without religion, another tool would have been used.  Ideology.  Patriotism.  Something.

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