I’ve been collecting snapshots of “things that surprise me” since I’m back in France, and this image remind me of something thats been on my mind for a while: please stop asking me to “respect your religion”, unless you’re willing to “respect my atheism”.
To be absolutely clear, I truly, really and absolutely don’t give a fuck what your religion is. I will respect you by default as a human being, and continue to do so as long as you’re not an asshole to me or people I care about. I will engage in philosophical or historical debates on the nature of faith and the teachings of your particular flavor, and probably enjoy it. I will even entertain discussions of how humans are (not) inherently religious, or how religion is the only way for us to have morals (hint: I disagree).
I will most certainly fight against anyone bullying, attacking, raping or killing you for your beliefs, but I will despise you if you exhibit the same tendencies towards others. I will rant against anyone conflating your social, ethnic, national origin with your religion, or thinking that you must apologise for the stupidity of your coreligionaries (hint: I wont apologise for Richard Dawkins). But I will also reserve the right to make fun of sociopathic assholes who use religion to prey on the weak and compensate for their small penises.
I am, deeply and committedly, an atheist. I am lucky to be born in a country where it’s not a crime but, even here, I keep hearing people tell me “you can’t really be an atheist, you’re just agnostic” or “you’ll believe when you get closer to dying”. Maybe I will. And maybe when I die the Flying Spaghetti Monster will let me ride in his magic teapot. But here, now, I am an atheist, and that makes me no less of a human being.