I am a lucky atheist, lucky to be atheist and a lucky in life.

Before moving on, I don’t mean that as any belief in the mythical lucky faith-fairy waved a wand over me. I mean simply that my life has been better than some through the circumstances leading to my birth and since my birth. Luck is a culmination of events and actions, events and actions are not in themselves good or bad nor are they mystical. We read the good and bad into events and actions and call it luck. Some people make the foolhardy judgment that their reading of events and actions is a magic thing called luck, I do not. The human mind really can be a strange thing.

So how do I judge my personal journey as being that of a lucky human and a lucky atheist.

I am lucky but my life hasn’t always be luxurious, some may even say it still isn’t. I have certainly known suffering by first world standards, suffering that left me well prepared for most eventualities in life and made me who I am. I was born to a lower middle class family who became poorer in my in mid teens after a tragic accident but I am white and male so some of the prejudices of my sometimes undesirable economic situation have not impeded my ability to be happy, love and be loved and enjoy some comfort. My life has been free from some of the hate which may have come if I had been of a different sex, sexuality or race. At times I have lived in my car, gone hungry, been unemployed and been without friends and family at hand when most needed. I have lived without access to electricity or running water and when time in my life came and I found myself living in a dirty little inner city Chinese bolt-hole flat with my wife I was quite comfortable, almost luxuriously so compared to some previous living arrangements. Life has never been without its ups and downs and yet I am a very lucky atheist. A lucky atheist because the one form of discrimination, religious discrimination, that i have experienced has had minimal impact on my happiness and relationships.

I was born in the non theocratic secular country Australia in a state capital. In my younger years religious people existed and tried to push their religion on me and threaten me with mythical punishment but my home country is very atheistic. Cities also allow more interaction and like minded people were never impossible to find. Even in the 80s prior to mass computer ownership and new social media finding like mined people was still quiet easy. Nobody ever threatened to kill me or torture me for not believing in fairy folk in this country and legally risky for them to do so. Most discrimination was quite mild, generally hidden, people talking under their breath or making choices that effect me without my direct knowledge of it (not always well disguised, sometimes intentionally shown).

Australia is historically recognized as being a non religious country, a great many nonpracticing christians are noted in official statistics but in the street that translates as cultural christians. Cultural christians are people who fill out forms saying they’re christians because their parents said they were christians and they themselves have never been given to considering religion or a possible lack of religion. I have had people tell me they say they’re christian for the census simply because they see islam as a worse option. What they are in fact implying is having not seriously considered the evidence and willfully accepting the position presented in popular media. The real question is, why should we allow any unelected mythical belief and set of associated doctrines run our country? Cultural christians don’t really believe in god, they don’t talk about or think about gods, nor do they know anything of doctrine or philosophy. It could be called lazy but maybe it is just that their lives were never touched by religion in such a way as to make them think about it. At best cultural christians save god for feeling good when some dies or christmas holiday (and even the christmas church figure is dropping). Cultural christians when not filling out forms will often spend time taking the piss out of religion like a full blown anti-theists.

A country full of cultural christians is the country I grew up in. On the surface it looks great but cultural christianity aids others in retaining idiot beliefs and adds political weight to those with more radical agendas (and something for another post).

Other atheists in this supposedly technological, post enlightenment world, are not so lucky.

It’s easy to find people of religion screaming about how they’re not getting their “rights”, but when it comes to not having a religion, discrimination becomes a “religion only” issue. Many theists would prefer a person of a religious sect who were persecuting people of their sect over an atheist because at least they also have an imaginary friend. You will not find the same level of screaming from the christian community when an atheist is killed somewhere as you will when someone throws stones at a christian in the street. Oddly enough atheists will jump up and down about both, screaming about human rights not religious freedoms. The atheist will more likely demand religion or the lack of religion not be a significant factor at all.

If this simple yet mostly unrecognized discrimination can happen in Australia, a country with a secular government and secular education system, I hate to think what some of our atheist counterparts in far off lands struggle with. It takes nothing to find some christian or muslim demanding atheists all be deported from some country or another or killed, all without refutation often to the applause of many fellow believers. It has even been proposed before now that atheists should pay a special tax for not going to church as if we needed punishing for having a counter argument to the god proposal and under the ridiculous assumption we will be better people if only we attended church. If a atheist did the same thing the theists, demanded they pay a tax for going to church for instance, they would be up in arms about hate speech or race hate. So it is that the catholic church remains one of, if not the single biggest tax free property and business owners in the world, another example of benefit not extended to non believers.

To defend religious bigotry, hate and/or intolerance laws are used and abused in our more moderate societies and by theistic states, in the UN. Discrimination law is something that is continually being dragged through the mud for religious sensitivities. Muslims for one have gotten very good at demanding that any word said against their religion is race hate. Conveniently forgotten is that these people are normally Arabic muslims who are a minority group in their own religion suggesting any word against islam as anti Arab. Also forgotten is that a philosophical proposal is not a race no matter what race it may be associated with. If I were stupid enough to call science a race and denying it was race hate, they would soon demand science is a tool for discovering things or as they often do declare, a belief.

Human rights laws are not only being ignored in numerous countries, they are also being used and abused by religious people across the world. All to often belief or religion are argued to be human rights and people should be allowed to believe as they see fit. This is fine, thought should never be a crime, but put forward the proposal that atheism is a relevant philosophical position worthy of being spoken aloud and see where it gets you. In some places religion is a right given to people in law but the same people administering the law will refuse to acknowledge atheism as a valid religious option. Atheists rightfully declare atheism is not a belief, you can’t believe in not believing in something and as such not being a belief leads to discrimination. Again it is forgotten that religion is a philosophical proposition and atheism is a valid rebuttal of a philosophical construct, belief is simply a word given to people in acceptance of a faulty argument. There is no actual “belief”, no belief based on knowledge or evidence. Atheism and theism as simply philosophy.

Freedom of speech or freedom of expression as we have in Australia is also screamed load by believers who in the same breath declare atheism should be banned as it is stopping them getting their free expression. Atheists being denied a similar freedom of expression simply to protect the sensitivities of people with imaginary friends and never is it seen as a double standard.

At this point I’m still talking mostly of the first world. In many places people are still being killed under laws that protect invisible fairy folk from having their existence questioned. Without the fairy folk ever presenting themselves to put forward a case the defendant is sentenced, killed, maimed or imprisoned. If your neighbor sued you for denying an alien landing he had no evidence of, and without him ever having to present evidence in court of the landing, you were sentenced to death, you may find it noteworthy. Make the alien an imaginary friend and the neighbor a theist accuser saying you deny his friends exists and without justification we have to accept a different set of rules. Some people who are outspoken about religion (not always atheist, sometimes theists with a different view) get off light with long prison sentences in places we wouldn’t put a mangy dog. People with educations comparable or better than my own, with more wealth and financial security than I have, risk their lives every day simply for not believing in a god.

Escaping these countries seeking refuge is not always recognized as a valuable use of resources. Sometimes people prefer to stay in silence and not risk their lives and families. With thought laws in place and a need to communicate with people like ourselves, atheists endanger themselves and their families. Some states watch social media and employ religious policing very much like the witch hunting of old (or in modern christian Africa) to find and persecute people with unfavorable religious perspectives. For those who do escape it has been noted that life is not all up hill. Getting through Australia’s overly zealous refugee barriers for instance is noted as being easier if you claim to be christian and having any god at all get you a more favorable hearing than an atheist. Not having a religion is often viewed as strange and unusual and will get you bottom of the barrel placing even in secular countries. People can escape their home countries with people who consider them the worst kinds of person, apostates (ex-muslim, the worst of crimes), which increases their personal danger and we treat them like social pariahs on arrival for the very same reasons as the people they’re escaping.

Bloggers like myself, people with a story and a passion doing nobody any physical harm (and arguably less harm than religion does mentally), have been killed and imprisoned for simply denying a god in Middle Eastern and Asiatic countries. With so many religious missionaries continually voicing their need for rights, the cry for equality and religious freedom is never extended to non belief. News media can totally skip a story about an atheist being killed by a mob but jump up and down about a christian family being chased from their home. The difference being that one of these stories is regarded as news worthy, sensationalist if you will. Tell the world about pro-religious persecution and they will scream for blood while the non-religious persecution will simply shock a few people. With 30 minutes of news time to see your product you choose sensationalism every time.

So yes, I am a lucky atheist. As a lucky atheist I am often asked – and see it asked – why atheists feel the need to be vocal about gods they don’t believe in. Well as a lucky atheist living in a country where I can speak with relative freedom, I see it as my duty to see my children remain lucky and try to make more people in the world as lucky as I am. To do so I need to identify and address my opponent no matter how imaginary that opponent is. Having done so it is my duty to speak out and defend my rights and champion other peoples rights, not only identified atheists but all people. I do as an atheist have the right to defend atheists ahead of theists simply because theism is half our problem and theists have their own well funded voices spewing rhetoric. In fact theism must take a secondary place because it holds us back as a species and promotes separatism like nothing else. Nationalism, politics and money don’t separate people as religion does, religion separates people within these demographics based on mythology.

Without theism there would be no atheism to defend, theism requires a vocal opponent. I am lucky enough that it can be me. As a lucky atheist I hope my voice has the ability to drive change in the world and it is my duty to share my good fortune with others as best I can.

I am sorry for the rant like nature of this post, it was hard to trim out the passion in this post.

May your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.

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