Why Religious Believers Are So Desperate for the Atheist Seal of Approval
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And they seem genuinely surprised when this approval isn't forthcoming. It seems to have genuinely never occurred to them that, since atheists have carefully and thoughtfully examined religion before rejecting it, this examination probably includes their religion as well.
The Not-So-Special Snowflake
Which brings me to my second point:
Many believers don't want to acknowledge how ordinary their religion is.
They don't want to acknowledge everything that their religion has in common with every other religion. They feel the same revulsion and bafflement that atheists do at religious hatred and fraud and willful ignorance... and they don't want to be identified with it. They think their religion is a special snowflake -- and they really, really want atheists to recognize its beautiful and unique crystalline structure.
So when atheists say, "Nope, sorry, your snowflake looks like all the other snowflakes"... these believers get very upset. They get very upset when we point out the striking similarities between their religion and the hateful, fraudulent, willfully ignorant religions they so rightly reject. They get very upset when we point out that their beliefs are just as inconsistent with evidence, their arguments just as weak, their goalposts just as slippery, their assumptions just as unfalsifiable. They get very upset when we point out that we have, in fact, heard of their version of religion before, or at least ones very much like it. They get very upset when we say, "Yes, I've heard that argument before, about 100 times, I could refute it in my sleep, here's exactly why it doesn't hold up, in fact here are links to a dozen other atheist writers who have also pointed out exactly why it doesn't hold up."
And they get very upset indeed when we point out that their version of religion is far from harmless. They get very upset when we point out that their version of religion, just like every religion, encourages people to believe things for which there is no good evidence, ideas that by their very nature can have no reality check... and that this, by itself, does harm. They get very upset when we point out that disabling reality checks leaves people vulnerable to oppression, fraud, and abuse: that it armors beliefs against criticism, questioning, and self- correction, and thus armors them against anything that might stop them from spinning into extreme absurdity, extreme denial of reality... and extreme, grotesque immorality. And they get very upset when we argue that their kinder, gentler form of religion gives credibility to the harsher, uglier forms... by giving credibility to the idea that disabling our reality checks is not only acceptable, but a positive virtue, and that it's perfectly reasonable to believe things for no good reason, just because we want to.
They don't just get upset. They get hurt... and they blame atheists for their hurt feelings. They often get hostile... and lash out at atheists for the appalling intolerance of arguing that they're wrong. (In an argument that they sought out. I know. It doesn't make sense to me, either.) And they get intensely surprised. They come seeking approval for their religion from the very people who, by definition, are the least likely to give it... and they get genuinely surprised when that approval isn't forthcoming.
The Bad News
So if you're hoping for the Atheist Seal of Approval for your religious beliefs, I've got some bad news:
It isn't going to happen.
We think your religion is philosophically inconsistent. We think your religion is completely unsupported by either evidence or reason. And many of us -- probably most of us -- think your religion fucks people up.