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Live and Let Live?

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

In the March 2017 edition of Freethought Today, the monthly newspaper of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, there was a letter from Russell Gregory of Pennsylvania which caught my eye.

Mr. Gregory wrote, “Imagine if everyone believed in that adage ‘Live and Let Live.’ No one would have any desire to change a single person. In fact, everyone would show great respect for each person’s belief. There would be no attempts at conversion,” etc.

At first blush, Mr. Gregory’s utopia sounds great, but as I thought further on the issue, I began to find serious problems with it. First and foremost, what about the children? If no one questions the religious, they will simply continue to indoctrinate their children with their superstitions, as they always have.

Those children will be left severely deprived of knowledge of how the world really works. They will be naïve, overly trusting, gullible, and believe that one’s feelings can actually prove things about the world. They will believe faith (belief without evidence) is a virtue, and that the Bible is a sound resource for moral grounding. And remember, this is a book which says homosexuals, blasphemers, non-virginal brides, and disobedient sons should all be executed. Some of those children will suffer serious self-esteem issues as they label themselves “sinners.” And many will carry a debilitating fear of hell throughout their adult lives.

Also, those beliefs we are all supposed to respect will be influencing the voting habits of the religious, affecting referendums on abortion rights, gay marriage rights, death with dignity, etc., which affect us all. Similarly, the religious will be voting for those candidates who would love to push our country in ultra-conservative directions to fashion a society molded by their Bible beliefs. As Sinclair Lewis wrote, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

When no one speaks out about the falsehoods and foolishness of religion, it maintains an exaggerated respect of the sort which enabled the Catholic Church’s cover-ups of child sex abuse world-wide (and Protestant churches, too), and cover-ups of the atrocities of the Magdalene laundries in Ireland, and similar abuses.

When no one speaks out about the falsehoods and foolishness of religion, it maintains an exaggerated respect of the sort which enabled the Catholic Church’s cover-ups of child sex abuse world-wide...Over-respect of religion has also led to blasphemy laws in seven countries in Europe, 10 in the Americas, and at least 34 in other parts of the world; laws which override freedom of speech and imperil anyone with the courage to speak the truth about religions. There are even 25 Muslim dominated countries which make apostasy (changing one’s religion) a crime, sometimes punishable by death.

And should anyone really respect the religious beliefs of the Saudi Arabian rulers (and many other Muslim countries) while women there are treated like children or chattel? This is misogyny at its worst. Should we not speak out against such tragic injustice?

When it comes to religious beliefs, “Live and let live” sounds great until we consider the consequences. Make no mistake, all religions are mere superstition, and superstition is the single greatest impediment to man’s understanding of how the world really works, and his control over the dangers of that world. I believe that religion does more harm than good in this world. Let us not forget that even today people are being killed over religious nonsense. To speak out against religion is to speak for social progress and the common good. When it comes to religion, “Live and let live” be damned!

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