Ever heard the Christian mantra "Love the sinner, hate the sin?"
I favour an alternative. "Love the Christian, hate the Christianity"
I have to confess that this is the best I can do. I regard faith of all kinds as merely a personality quirk. I consider it akin to other compulsions such as smoking or cross dressing or Morris dancing. It's just something that certain people feel the need to do.
Here's my quandary, though. It's actually very difficult to be critical of faith without causing offence to the believer, for the simple reason that faith is all pervasive in some people. It informs every aspect of their lives from how they think to who they have sex with and under what circumstances. I view religion as a kind of bloated tapeworm, feeding off the life experience of its adherents and making itself more powerful and tougher to budge. From my perspective I know that I've offended a good many with my outspoken anti religious perspective, and I might as well admit that this isn't going to cease any time soon. I plan to continue to help faith addicts shed their skin whenever possible, whilst also lending my knowledge to those who remain on the fence. Above all, I want to be a voice that says simply, "You don't have to believe this stuff."
I think the last bit is incredibly important. Guilt is such a strong characteristic of faith. And let's not forget that the heart of its message is that we need to be saved, that we've done some terrible wrong and simply cannot rid ourselves of the stench of condemnation. I will stand before all comers and illuminate this false self loathing for what it is. Of course we're imperfect; of course we make mistakes and our motives are frequently mixed. But adding a God to the mix as some kind of solution is really no solution at all. It's down to us to learn from error, to respond to new evidence and life experience. It's for us and our fellow travellers to weigh and measure our words and actions. If we seek absolution in the form of some unseen, unproven entity all we do is project our inadequacy into the ether. I happen to think we need to own our failings, to look them squarely and soberly in the eye and acknowledge that we're capable of more.
Perhaps you're one of those I have mauled down the years? If so then I'm afraid I'm unapologetic. I challenge you because I really want to know whether you believe half the stuff you claim to? And on what evidence?
You see, I strongly suspect you're guilty of a scurrilous disregard for reason. More than that, I think when pressed you'll flounder when asked to explain why you hold the faith you do. I expect you'll feel a vague awkwardness when the subject of religion is broached, and that you will strain heroically to muster any kind of coherent defence. You may, as most do, decide that a change of subject or other avoidance strategies are required. I expect I'll hear you talk about how we're going to have to agree to disagree. Please note that this won't cause me to relent. You see, I really do think your religion is daft. Sheer comedy, in point of fact. And I really do assert that one of us is wrong about the nature of reality, and I claim that this person isn't me.