On Some Lebanese Atheists

Pope Francesco I

My best friend is an atheist. And he’s awesome at it. You know why? Because of all the times we’ve discussed religion, which is very often and on so many occasions I’ve lost track, he has never insulted a religion. He doesn’t believe in them, as is his right, but he knows it’s not right to trash them left and right and ridicule every single person who believes in those religions in which he does not believe.

The most famous slogan that gets thrown around a lot goes like this: “Religion is like a penis. It’s fine to have one and it’s fine to be proud of it but it’s not fine to shove it down my throat.”

This is a saying that I not only believe in, I also believe it is of utmost necessity. I also believe the aforementioned statement should be affixed to become the following: “Your personal beliefs are like a penis. It’s fine to have one and it’s fine to be proud of it but it’s not fine to shove it down my throat.”

Some Lebanese atheists – and some atheists around the world to be fair – fall into that category by becoming exactly like the religious people they despise: people who do nothing but shove their beliefs down people’s throats. And they believe it’s okay to do so.

The white smoke erupting from the Vatican Chimney was more exciting than Christmas morning for some Lebanese atheists. Habemus Pedofilus was the first thing I saw being floated around. Digging deeper, it turned out the pun on Habemus Papam (We now have a pope) was the least “creative” of attacks against Christianity.

And it’s not only the Church that’s affected. Whenever an Islamist does anything out of the ordinary, which is much more common in these parts of the world than anything Church related, that Islamist’s entire religion and sect become fair play.

As a non-deeply religious person, I understand how difficult it is to be as such in this country and in this region. I only need suggestions to pray more in order to start having my anxiety rise. I understand that atheism in this part of the world is still considered a taboo, less so in Lebanon obviously. But ridiculing people of the opposite bank isn’t how you make them float towards you not necessarily to become atheists like you but to at least accept you as their equal counterparts in a society that doesn’t even want to acknowledge your existence.

With every offensive tweet, Facebook status, proclamation that makes some Lebanese atheists proud of themselves for all the snarkiness they exude, there are many more atheists who are done a disservice and are damaged in the process – atheists who welcomed the new Pope’s arrival with congratulating all their Catholic friends because they are truly and sincerely happy for them, regardless of how silly they think their Catholic friends are for being as such.

Those atheists, like my friend, have their image tainted by the sporadic vocal atheist here and there that feel it is their divine (or not) right and goal in life to bash every single religion and religious person who is still wasting precious oxygen.

You think religion is the root of all evil? You have every right to. You don’t want to be religious? I’ll be the first person to champion for that right. You don’t want religion shoved down your throat? Avoid it. You can ask me for tips on how to do so. You want to try and persuade someone that going atheist is the way? Be their guest.

There is an approach to how you communicate your message across and some Lebanese atheists are failing terribly at it.

Speaking of the pope they ridiculed before even knowing who he was, pope Francesco I is an Argentinian who rides the subway, doesn’t like personal help, is a good cook and has visited a hospital in 2001 where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 terminally ill people with AIDS. He lives with one lung and is 76 years old. He is obviously against same-sex marriage and abortion but did anyone really expect otherwise?

Pope Francesco makes me, and many atheists with whom I had brief discussions after his grand reveal, hopeful that things might change for the better in the Vatican. But don’t let some Lebanese atheists hear anyone say something along those lines. Their blood becomes halal. Or maybe something Darwinian.

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22 thoughts on “On Some Lebanese Atheists

  1. Very well said! The pope touches his own children jokes have become ridiculous, disgusting and not funny at all and they keep doing them as if they’re as good as bread and butter.

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  2. Religious ppl are proud of their beliefs and they hammer facebook and other social media with it (shoving down everybody’s throat) by posting their nonsense about God or Jesus or their saints. So why can’t atheists post their beliefs as well.
    Once we reach a utopian era where theists would keep their beliefs to themselves then and only then you have the right to ask Atheists to keep quiet.
    Meanwhile, live with it and adapt to the fact that the world is turning Atheist faster than ever.

    Reply
    • Kazamaza, I am an atheist myself (or agnostic as I prefer to specify). And, as much as I understand and share your frustration about religious people hammering us with their beliefs and what is “non-sense” to us, as much as I don’t understand why you would want to do the same!
      The author is not asking you to keep quiet or not to share your (non) beliefs, but actually not to bash every symbol religious people deeply believe in and keep criticizing them to no avail. Not sure what you are trying to achieve by doing this, besides frustrating them (the same way you actually get frustrated by their posts!). You are supposed to be the scientific and rational party, remember this!

      Reply
      • Precisely. I am more or less agnostic myself as well and this is basically the point: just because religious people do it doesn’t mean it’s okay and it sure doesn’t mean that atheists doing exactly the same thing but under a different context is something that somehow makes sense given the circumstances.

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    • What those religious people do is horrible and I’ve pointed out many times how silly those “like for Jesus or Mohammad or whatever/Keep scrolling for the devil” posts are. And ridiculing those posts is different than ridiculing a person’s entire belief system just because you disagree with it. In a way, those atheists are doing exactly what the they bash the theists for. Same crap, different God or lack thereoff.

      I don’t believe the rise of atheism is a bad thing and I actually called for it before here: https://stateofmind13.com/2012/11/09/the-rise-of-the-middle-easts-atheists/

      Reply
  3. As an atheist I feel like I have to thank you for this. I was disgusted by what other atheists were saying yesterday. Just because silly religious people do it doesn’t mean we should!

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  4. I am not frustrated. I just make it a point that if they do it then I can do it add well. I can assure you that of all the friends I have they all come to realise their silliness and stopped such acts ( while keeping their beliefs). None of them became an atheist and that was not the aim in the first place.
    As an Atheist I respect anyone’s opinion to blv in anything, but there is no way I can respect the belief itself. You know, as an analogy, you might love your BMW and I respect that but there is no way I am loving BMW and I will continue making fun of your BMW even if it offends you.

    Guys, freedom of speech is essential here. Whether it is using reasoning, absurdity, comedy or whatever other means. So “the pope is a primitive clown for an Atheist, a human for an agnostic and an almost saint for a theist”. I think this statement is funny and I like to share it as MY opinion.

    Reply
    • you are missing the point. No one said you are not allowed to criticize and point out when things are not supposed to be in a certain way. But there’s a difference in how that is pointed out as well.
      You can say: I don’t like your BMW for the following reasons or you can say what a cheap ass retarded good-for-nothing German car owned by an even worse egocentric person.

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      • Habibeh, ppl that are fanatic with their love to BMW will not accept criticism nor rational discussions. You should know that about religious ppl as well. So sometimes you have to use a sledgehammer method instead of poking them on the shoulder.
        Nevertheless, pointing out your opinion about a ridiculous belief (acceptable thing) is not the same as humiliating the individual who is allowed to have this belief (which is not an acceptable thing).
        Got the point this time?

        Reply
        • My issue in what you are saying is that you are acting exactly like evangelists do (preaching the Word of atheism) while I believe evangelists (and the likes) are the main ones you are attacking here.
          I am ok with sometimes using comedy and ridiculing the silly stuff religious people come out with, but you don’t need to disrespect them or the very symbol they believe so much in. So I believe we do meet on this point, I just disagree that you need to make a “crusade” out of it 🙂

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  5. He also thinks homosexuality is a “machination of the Father of Lies” in a country that legalizes same-sex marriage. So, the hope folks had he’d be new blood, new outlook, hope for the many people the church disenfranchises, fades with the election of this Pope, who I love for riding the subway.

    His statement on the legislation that OK-ed same-sex marriage in Argentina

    “Let’s not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

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    • I’m not sure how anyone expected any new pope to be elected would have disassociated views when it comes to same sex marriage and abortion from his predecessors. The Catholic Church is not remotely at a point where such a Cardinal exists or would even get elected if he exists. Moreover, same-sex marriage and abortion are not high concerns among clergy at the moment – the reason many voted for Bergoglio (sp?) is because he is a conservative reformist who tends to change things and shake them up without making the system crumble: he is the byproduct of the clash between conservative cardinals who want to keep things the same and those who want an entire upheaval. Not sure where Raï fits in that.

      So yes, to me, a Pope who asks – according to The Guardian – people not to visit Rome to see him and donate the airplane ticket to the poor is a pope that gives me hope things could change, even if it’s small things like riding the subway because the main hurdles for the Catholic Church are not issues that many leftist and liberal politicians across the world are confused about but issues that undermine the church itself. At least that’s how I see it.

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  6. @agnostic, So you are against caricaturing religious figures and against the Salman Rushdies and against Einstein’s outspoken atheism and….? Are you aware of what you are saying!

    In a democracy and with freedom of speech, you are allowed to say what you want and in any way you want it, no matter how funny or offensive it is. People will judge and will either praise you or despise you, this is the choice YOU make and will determine whether you will get fame or die a lonely death.
    Not all people have the courage to say their mind as bluntly as can be and I urge you to stop being from this type of ppl and stand out for your beliefs (Theist or Atheist it does not matter).

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    • Kazamaza, it seems you don’t really understand the real meaning of democracy then. Of course I am for people stating what they believe in (Rushdy, Einstein…). I am just against people trying to convert everyone else to what they believe (or do no believe) in. You are saying yourself that you hate the hammering religious people do. If I follow your reasoning, you need to let them be, and stop criticizing them, because of the freedom of speech you are defending.

      What I’m trying to say, is that everyone (atheists and theists) could share their beliefs, and even criticize the others beliefs if need be, but should not do their utmost to offend the others just for the sake of it.

      Got it?

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  7. People ypu don’t have to fight among your selves for us stupid believers. we have no problem accepting insults and ridiculous statements not for anything just because our believes tells us to accept that. We are not going to argue who is right or wrong because the answer to that would come to every individual in the end of his lifetime. So please respect each other and stay United in your cause.
    Thank you Agnostic for your positive attitude. Peace and Love to all.

    Reply
    • Hi @Catholic. We are not fighting. We are just discussing how harsh and funny should we be making fun of religion.

      Reply
  8. Atheism is widely regarded as a synonym for “free pass to be a smartass” on the internet. Apparently people don’t see the problem of turning people’s core values into cheap jokes, because freedom of speech.

    The response is of course, I don’t have to censor myself so I don’t hurt your feelings. As a believer in God it is extremely hurtful, even when it’s not my own faith being insulted, but again we come back to the argument, why should he care?

    It’s true that I have a responsibility to not respond, but how do you explain to a person so full of himself/herself that being an asshole is not OK.

    Reply
    • Just accept it man.
      Your religion (any religion) is a source so rich in sarcastic material that it would be hard not to make fun of. Atheists happen to just love that and unfortunately you can do nothing about it.
      So live with it.

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      • _Your religion (any religion) is a source so rich in sarcastic material that it would be hard not to make fun of._

        Just because some of it’s followers happen to be dumb doesn’t mean you get to look down on anyone who isn’t an atheist, which is what making fun of religion essentially conveys.

        Look I know I can’t do anything about it, but I just wanted to put it out there.

        Reply

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