The main reason as I see it is that religion is everywhere and the religious proselytize it constantly. I have been told by Christians that their moldy tome exhorts them to spread the word of their faith. Whenever you see a public meeting starting with prayer, they are proselytizing. Whenever you see someone praying in public, in direct conflict with what their tome dictates, they are proselytizing. If you seen a nativity scene at a church, or read in the paper about prayers being requested for so and so, or a deceased person’s obituary claiming that they have gone to heaven, Christians are proselytizing. They may not see it as such, but it is on public display and promotes their belief system.
When you accept faith in place of science all inquiry by science is stunted, sometimes halted entirely. Why search for answers to questions about origins of life and its proliferation once you’ve been told “God did it”?
There are monied special interests attacking the curricula of high schools and colleges on a daily basis attempting to insert faith into science. Agencies like the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis. In addition there are many fundamentalist groups working feverishly to install their particular brand of belief upon the schools.
Evolution is depicted as “just a theory” by these groups using general public understanding of the word theory and ignoring the fact that the Theory of Evolution is just as secure as the Theory of Gravity. When a scientist says “theory” it is totally different from the public understanding. To scientists a theory has to withstand intense scrutiny for long periods and is always susceptible to new information. Evolution has withstood this scrutiny for over 150 years. It stands as the best explanation for the myriad life forms that have arisen over many millions of years.
Let’s look at those millions…. a million years is one thousand thousand years, 1,000,000. A billion is a thousand million years, 1,000,000,000. The human mind finds these huge numbers impossible to imagine. There has been ample time for evolution to work but the human mind is incapable of grasping the numbers.
Atheists argue against the proliferation of ignorance. They fight to insure that the coming generations of young minds are aware of what is real and what is imagined. They argue against the continuation of ignorance spawned by a nomadic tribe in the depths of barbaric times when the most simple scientific principle was unknown. They attempted to explain phenomena without the benefit of science… they used their imagination to explain events.
Christians claim their ancient tome was inspired by god. Yet, it was written totally as one would expect a human being of the time to write it. Full of errors and contradictions and obvious insertions by the rulers of the time in order to control the people. It is a patchwork of different writings by writers whose identities cannot be verified. It has undergone many rewrites, editing, and even had books excluded because those particular books did not teach what they had decided was true.
It amazes me that this book, the bible, is still used and promoted. We know so much about our environment, our beginnings, how things work, and yet…. a very badly written book still commands many into action. How like a virus this religion is. As insidious as any computer virus it lurks in wait to oppose science and drag us back to the Dark Ages.
This adequately explains the difficulty atheists face in the struggle to dispel this grip of ancient times. Once the virus of religion is instilled, once the person has been indoctrinated, it is difficult to inject reason to eradicate it. The virus has many safeguards and provides enormous incentives to the infected to perpetuate it. How difficult would it be to explain to someone they will not be seeing Aunt Petunia again in a rosy afterlife? How do you articulate the fact that when you die you are gone, your body will rot, and your consciousness will never see the light of day again? How do you tell a dying relative who is afraid of death that there is nothing beyond this life… especially if they have already wasted this life in steady service to a bogus belief system?
Christians are not persecuted. They never have been. They have been resisted… which occasionally ended in their deaths, but that is their own doing as they had insisted that their way is the only way and that you will either believe or die a thousand deaths.
Atheists, on the other hand, have faced persecution from the religious and still do today. Very few atheists have been elected to public office because the religious have demonized them. Many non-believers have made it to public office by pretending faith, by providing lip service to religion. I contend that no religious should hold public office and they contend that no atheists should hold public office. Their numbers are greater as a result of the very successful parasitic virus of belief. Nevertheless, humanity will never become civilized until the grip of religion is broken.
As an atheist I know of human origins. Science has provided the best explanation to date. That explanation is more grand than any presented by the religious crowd. A sentient conscious being arising from much more primitive forms is a greater miracle to me than a deity snapping humanity into existence with his mighty fingers. The magnificence of the accomplishments of human beings is a sight to behold. I only weep that humans might have been much more advanced had religion not held humanity back like some nightmarish anchor.
Looking up at the sky at the stars above, reality, is much more splendid than the prospect of spending eternity worshiping and placating some vain and terrible deity. I hope for the day I can see the wonders of the Grand Canyon, created by slow erosion over many many years. I have already seen the wonder of this world’s oceans while serving upon a Naval ship. Ever walk a pine forest? There’s serenity!
Enjoy life… it’s the only one humans get.