It's that season to confront the Christians especially but not exclusively. We can use our right to Free Speech to share our ideas and experiences.
But what was the original purpose to give the right of Free Speech to the lowly citizen of this new country, the United States? I don't know if the idea to give all citizens the right to Free Speech originated in the U.S, but I am sure the founding fathers intended for it to have a purpose in our government.
I think that it was to facilitate change. I think it was their weapon against the propensity of religion to create a Theocracy.
But have the non-religious used this weapon to its full potential? I say no. If they did, would ALL our political leaders be afraid to pronounce their non-belief in any god? Even goes as far as lie to the public and profess a belief in the Christian god?
I say we need to use our right to free speech. But I say we use it responsibly and respectfully. Here is a rule of thumb that I use without even thinking about it. Talk to the ideas that a person, using their right to free speech, puts out to the public for your consideration. Do not talk about the person.
Here's an example: There's a preacher man who is the leader of a small church. He spews out bad idea after bad idea. There are loads of people who he has fooled. And that number is growing very fast. He has a talent that will earn him lots of money.
Now here comes a concerned non-believer to speak against this charlatan. The non-believer has their rational ideas and counter evidence against what the charlatan is saying. How does this non-believer convey what she feels so strongly about?
She has many choices among which are the following examples: sarcasm, attack, pleading, angrily, sad, etc. And then there are the things those choices can be turned to bare on.
She can use attack and have the attack bare down on the honesty of the charlatan. "That man is lying"; she could say.
How would his followers take that sort of attack? Would some of them attack her to show their loyalty to him? Would they attack her because they believe she is the liar? Would some of them realize that she is telling the truth? All those and more are possible.
Now let's say she used sarcasm to show that the fear of Hell will make you do things that you wouldn't do otherwise.
The sarcasm might be seen as an attack, but not an outright attack. Would the idea then be more apt to stick in some of the believers' memories? Would some of them attack her? Would some of them believe she is a liar? Would some of them see the point she is making?
Compare these two scenarios: attack vs sarcasm. If and when some of those believers become non-believers, what would they state helped them become non-believers? Would some say that pointing out that he is a liar helped them? Would some say that seeing what the fear of Hell was doing to them helped them? What kind of opinion would the new non-believer have of her if they only witnessed the attack? What if they only witnessed the debunking of the fear of Hell?
The rule of thumb to talk about the idea, not the person is ingrained in my brain. I think it should be ingrained in your brain too.