A justified question, even if it’s a bit disruptive of a meaningful discussion, oozing in subjectivity, and a tad offensive. Why don’t we all just shut up? What makes atheists such whiners and naggers; those people who will ruin every dinner party with their incessant talk about Darwin, the God question, the latest “news” concerning the stupidity of the Vatican, why secularity should be maintained in government, and more of that utterly useless and unnecessary stuff?
Well, I guess mainly because it’s not considered unnecessary by those outspoken and frank atheists. Perhaps because the world is still ruled by religion and it is turning out to be a self-fulfilling prophesy; or maybe because the issue of God’s existence is not of little importance considering the fact that in some countries laws and policies are still being executed based upon (some) God’s way.
There are two groups of people proclaiming said question to atheists: agnostics and theists. I don’t think I even have to discuss agnostics, considering the fact that it’s weird that they even have the guts to ask that question. Why does an agnostic care what atheists are doing? If one group is apathetic towards the big questions, it’s the one inhabited by agnostics. Now, theists on the other hand present an ironic case here.
What does a slightly-radical and thus plainspoken atheist want? For religion to stop existing, hence shutting up those who preach and believe it. In fact, many atheists ask themselves, “why don’t theists just shut up?” And I’ll tell you why they won’t: because for a religion to succeed, in a fairly political manner, there has to be a large group of people behind it, supporting the religion and converting people to their ways. A personal religion, one that only exists within a small and confined group of people, doesn’t work because each religion preaches that they know how to save the world of evil and how everyone should lead their lives. How does one go about saving other people from the fires of hell, or from a life of mischief and meaninglessness? Well, by converting these people, naturally. By force if that needs to be done.
Missionaries are the foremost representatives of this converting business, trying to inject their beliefs into the gooey logic boards of others. Oh, sure, some of the missionary groups also try to “help people,” but most of them have only their own interests at heart.
To illustrate this, I have an example set out for you. This is all a terrible aside, but important enough not to put it in the footnotes. A while back, a large missionary ship (“zendelingenboot” in Dutch) left from the Dutch port of Scheveningen towards Africa (where else, Hawaii?).1 Their main goal was to help the people and provide support. Nothing wrong with that, you say; well, let me finish my story, will you?
You would think they would be providing these people food, water, or at least something useful, but no — what these three-hundred-and-fifty missionaries brought along on their big, expensive, luxury ship was just plain stupid: books. That’s right, nothing to eat, just books. And no self-help books either, or books about agriculture, economics, (international) law or politics. This big ship was filled with books about Jesus Christ, God, religion, the Ten Commandments, how to live your life according to His way, et cetera.
Confronted with the question whether or not it would be more helpful to bring along some food for these people, the staff came up with the stupefyingly moronic explanation that as soon as these people would embrace God, they would get unlimited fortune, plenty of food and the cleanest and purest water. Naturally! Because embracing God was such a big help to all the millions of Africans already converted to Christianity!
Not to mention the fact that all the books were in English. Now, I’m betting a lot of Africans are English-able (especially the cityfolk), but do you know what is also a hot language in Africa? French. Apparently those who speak French don’t have to be saved via these holy books — these Frenchies are apparently already doomed to the eternal hellfire, so why care? As are all the other people on the continent who aren’t able to speak English or any other major language, I guess.
Why don’t they, the theists, just shut up? Is it helpful that they’re talking about their religion every time they encounter a non-believer? I would say that it’s pretty pointless, considering it’s one big fat lie, but looking at it from the perspective of a theist, everything I am saying is one big fat lie.
So why do atheists do it? Perhaps we’re doing it for all the same reasons the theists are doing it. To win over some souls, to build a large supporting group, a secular army if you will, to bring about global secularism. Just like theists, atheists are also in the business of converting; only in contrast to the theists, atheists aren’t pushing their restrictions of life onto other people — they’re doing quite the opposite, by ridding people of their need to pray, to obey a crazy man wearing a tiara in the Vatican, and to exonerate them from a made-up and specious afterlife.