self-righteous bigot

“Bigot” is one of those words that I’ve always associated with truly nasty people. The type of people that will hate others just because of a different culture from their own or sexuality or any sort of irrational hatred you can think of. Bigotry of the type I just described is often correlated with high religiosity. Their holy books and clergy have told them there is one true way god wants them to go about life which makes it easy to see anyone that doesn’t follow their way of life as wrong and sometimes as far as evil. Of course, I need to insert for any religious reading this that not all religious are very close-minded and intolerant of people different from them, I’d just like to point out that in many types of religious thinking (especially Abrahamic) when one thinks they know what god wants it’s easy to hate the things they firmly believe that god doesn’t want.
Over the past few years of sharing my atheist views with the world I’ve been called a bigot many times. The word has lost a bit of the edge it used to have of when I just related it to nasty irrational thinking. I will admit I’m intolerant and hateful of some religious beliefs, but I have better reasons for my abhorrence than just “god told me to”. The thing I hate the most in this world is needless suffering, and I think it’s plain to see that religion is connected to a lot of that. Also, often despite my cynicism of the human race, I want to see the best for my fellow humans. Another way of putting it is that my hatred of religion comes from a place of an intense concern for humanity. It feels a little futile to explain this to people that jump to calling me a bigot because they’re just relying on name calling instead of picking apart my arguments anyway. Many of the religious persuasion, or the “just spiritual”, or even some agnostics, associate the word “atheist” with bigot quickly and refuse to explore the various ways in which religion is damaging to human civilization and progress.
It’s easier and feels nicer to call an atheist a bigot than to think of the ways in which people are needlessly suffering thanks to various awful religious beliefs. According to this way of thinking, some Christians and some Muslims they know are nice and there are some pleasant things they know of associated with religion so atheists are complete assholes for criticizing those faiths. The defenders of religion who call atheists bigots get the satisfaction of feeling like they’re standing up to a bully. The typical explanation I’ve come across for why religion isn’t so bad and atheists should just stop with all the criticizing is that anything atheists think of as bad from religion is just people using religion in the wrong way. The classic “no true Scotsman” defense.
Every time there’s an Islamic terrorist attack or Christian parents that refuse their child medical care in favor of faith healing or anything else you can think of where people got maimed or killed in the name of religion, it’s still unbelievable to me that people can stick to their guns on the “religion isn’t so bad” argument. People hardly do awful things without provocation, and believing they’re doing what god wants of them is one of the strongest driving forces for the religious. They often don’t think of what they’re doing as even close to awful. The Islamic terrorist most likely thinks the violence and death they’re bringing about is what their god wants, and the Christian faith healing parents have been told their god is strong and can do anything they pray for if they just believe so they think they’re doing the right loving thing. Both examples had been brainwashed by their ideologies and inevitably caused harm thanks to their brainwashing. In both instances, the suffering could have been prevented if they weren’t brainwashed. One way to fight brainwashing is to encourage people to think for themselves and to question everything, and as an outspoken atheist that’s one of the things I’m trying to help foster.
Shutting down criticism of religion by labeling atheists as bigots may make the defenders of religion get that lovely standing up to a bully feeling, but they’re the ones being the bullies and contributing to the longstanding notion we have in society that religion is sacred and to be unquestioned. I thought to talk about this because I noticed a comment on my “militant atheist” video where someone said, “Militant atheist is another way of saying self-righteous bigot” and it gave me a good giggle. As I said before, I am a bigot when it comes to religious beliefs that harm my fellow man, and I guess it’s self-righteous of me to think it’s best that people don’t endure mental and physical harm because of things in some holy books. So, call me a self-righteous bigot all you want, I don’t mind, I’ll still point out how detrimental religion can be.