Do you want to know what is true? What is real? If you're sincere in that commitment there's nothing stopping you. In fact you're probably the main obstacle on the path to real truth, and perhaps some of you need to face up to that.
You see, we come with all these hopes and fears and desires, and sometimes these stop us seeing clearly. Sometimes, we end up believing things despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And we do this for many reasons, none of them noble but some at least more understandable than others. Take for example the indoctrinated child, that tiny creature raised in a religious home and taught all manner of lies and distortions by well meaning but deluded parents. The thing to note here is that these parents aren't evil, but instead just a bit credulous and were probably also taught similar falsehoods when they were growing up.
Make no mistake, if you addle a child's mind early enough you can cause it real harm. And isn't religion a kind of brain damage when you stop to think about it? How often does it cause grown adults to hold views we might find quaint in children, yet in mature people seem silly and infantile and absurd? This is why I give religion no respect, and why nobody else should. It's an unnecessary hurdle in the way of real knowledge, a great big boulder on the highway. And here's the really odd thing; those most avidly infected often claim insight into some ultimate truth, yet in reality the views they hold suggest that truth, if we're to use the term meaningfully, is something they actively reject. I'd even go further; I'd suggest that all religious believers are truth averse. I'd suggest they despise truth, shrink from it. Why else would they refuse to allow the light of reason to illuminate the way?
I value truth above all else, and my pursuit of it is as impassioned as ever. So to extend respect to those who revile it to me is wrong. That's not to say that people shouldn't be free to hold whatever beliefs they choose; but it should be made plain that infantile beliefs should be treated in adults as we treat them in children. A pat on the head, a gentle smile, and loving instruction for them to go and play with the other infants.
I want to know how the world is. I wanted to be wiser tomorrow than I was today. And I intend to stand against any and all who would get in the way of that.