I'm surprised by the number of atheists who say that we shouldn't even tell believers that there is no god, for fear of hurting their feelings and disrespecting their faith.
Well, screw your faith. I have absolutely zero respect for it, whatsoever.
And I have good reasons for it.
If you met an adult who still believes in Santa Claus, regularly goes on elf-spotting trips and honestly thinks that unicorns are real, on top of that indoctrinates their children to do the same or else they'll suffer for all eternity, and even aspires to interfere with the legislative process to make sure everyone follows Santa's commandments, you'd think that this person is not only stupid and deserving of ridicule, but probably even dangerous.
In terms of being a baseless, non-falsifiable, and rectum-derived claim, belief in gods is no different than belief in fairies, unicorns or flying teapots.
Treating gods as so massively different from then as to be exempt from criticism and ridicule, would be intelectually dishonest.
Faith is not a virtue. By definition, it's a suspention of critical thinking. Something like this is not worthy of respect.
My sexual orientation is continuously being called “an abomination”. I'm regularly being threathened with hell and eternal damnation. My marriage becomes basically nonexistent as soon as I enter the borders of the country of my citizenship.
It's all because of religion. My family's homophobia is religiously motivated. Polish anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and anti-euthanasia laws are religiously motivated. ISIS, Inquisition, Al-Qaeda, Rohingya genocide were all religiously motivated.
It's not just some set of ideas that you have in your head to make yourself feel better. It's a system of abuse that affects me – very personally, very substantially, and very intensly.
I'm angry. I'm fucking furious.
I might afford the luxury of not caring about religion anymore, but when I was a vulnerable child, religion was straight up abuse for my developing brain. Constant fear of eternal damnation, constant awareness of someone being there to read my mind and observe my every move... It look me long, painful years to recover from that abuse, to find freedom of though, to find and embrace my own identity.
And most importantly – it's not just me. Milions of kids are going throught the same abuse every day – some get a lighter version, some more hardcore version – but it's the same abuse.
Religious parents mutilate their children's genitals, because they believe that god wants them too. Some deny children life-saving vaccines and blood transfusions, because god.
Kids are even getting raped by pedophile priests – and don't even dare telling me that the impunity of those criminals has nothing to do with our attitude of treating faith and religious leaders differently, in a privileged way.
And it's not just children being hurt by religion. Adults are unable to get married because of religion. Or unable to get divorced. Or deprived of bodily autonomy over their uterus. Deprived of their rights as women. Deprived of choice about ending their lives in a humane way. People are killed mercilessly in the name of religion. Animals are being killed in cruel ways because god prefers it that way.
All of that happens in the name of religion, right now, in the 21st century!
It's not fucking harmless. And I have every right to stand up to all of that.
There's no reciprocity
I'm an atheist with hardly any ties to mythology left in my life. And yet, not a single day goes by without having to listen to some bigot imposing their religious morality on me, without reading a news about a bishop influencing politicians, without seeing footage of yet another religious war.
If it's “disrespectful towards someone's sincerily held beliefs” to try to convince people to your point of view, or even to simply state what your (lack of) beliefs are, then religion does not “respect“ my atheism.
It can't work just one way. If it's socially acceptable for religious people to proselytise, then it should be even more acceptable to call them out on their bigotry and to call their unscientific mythology what it is.