So, I found this comic strip in my Facebook feed.
While I agree with the basic sentiment, I’m not so keen the extreme spoon feeding aspect of it. It’s not very nuanced, subtle or sophisticated. An atheist might like it because he agrees with it, but it’s not going to convince anyone to abandon religion, any more than clever posters convince anyone to stay off cigarettes or drugs.
Religious belief is a drug too, and like a drug, it can only be stopped with a strong emotional trigger. You quit smoking because you coughed blood that one time and it scared you witless. You quit the heroin because your wife intervened. You leave the church because it taught your family to disown you when you came out as gay. You stop believing in God because your whole family died in a series of senseless accidents, your prayers and kindness having fallen on deaf ears.
Religion is like your favorite car, sports team or consumer brand, times a hundred. It’s an emotional commitment. It becomes a part of your identity. Giving it up is painful and humiliating. Anyone attacking it is pushing your buttons. Nobody ever got anywhere by pushing all the wrong buttons.
Give religious people a honorable, pleasant way of leaving their religion behind, something better than the church, and they will come in droves. I’m a long-time non-believer and even I can see that churches are great gathering places, and that religions offer some very powerful creeds for young men to swear allegiances to; some greater cause to believe in.
Atheism is a very lonely place in comparison, because it is defined very specifically as the lack of belief. Very few people will rally around not believing in anything. Humanism and their organizations are somewhat better, but pale in comparison to the euphoria, happiness and unity offered by the more free-spirited churches. You just can’t beat emotions, they are at the core of the human experience.