I feel this topic (which has been sitting on my computer for some time now) is a suitable one in light of recent rebranding. To preach or not to preach?
Ever since I left my Christian faith behind me and became an agnostic atheist, I have had a huge moral dilemma in my life – should I try to ‘convert’ theists to a more freethinking way of life? The problem is this – having left Christianity, I now feel I have achieved some kind of enlightenment. I’ve realised that I now believe what I want and life is pretty much how I want it to be. Now I have discovered this, I feel I want to help others achieve the same freedom of thought and help them gain freedom them from the semi-brainwashing that some religions seem to employ.
However, I’m also a great believer in leaving people to think what they wish and being accepting of people from other belief and faiths. I am privileged to know people of many different faiths, and I realise my friendship with them would get nowhere if I were constantly attacking the religious wall of blind faith around them. However, am I morally obliged to help them towards what I see as true freedom of thought? The agnostic atheism wager says that we must all try to make the world a better place. Well, wouldn’t it be a better place if everyone was free to think for themselves without being dictated their morals and rules by religious leaders?
So the question is, do we live in harmony with our religious neighbours, knowing that many of them are constrained by their religion? Or do we do our best to ‘help’, perhaps in a Dawkins-esque preacher type approach, or even (as an extreme example) by employing a strategy not dissimilar to evangelists to get our point across? I’m sure many people here would agree that evangelising is one of the most annoying aspects of religion that affects our everyday lives. However, if we genuinely believe that it is the way to make the world a better place, is it our duty to preach to others in a way that we ourselves dislike to be preached to?
I remember when I was a Christian I would simply try not to think about the contradictions and obvious fallacies in the Bible because I firmly believed that it was doubting God and as a result, an evil thought. Now I wish the same freedom I now have for others. I myself am split on this issue and so giving my friends gentle nudges in the direction of atheism is all I allow myself. However, I can’t help questioning whether this really will make the world a better place.