Why bother?

Often, I’m asked why I even bother; why don’t I just shut up and ignore all those religious idiots? After all, it’s none of my business; I really should care less about what people believe. As one exasperated fundamental Christian asked: ‘If you don’t believe in God, why do you keep talking about Him’? And isn’t belief in a benevolent God a good thing?

Of course, most of that is correct: I shouldn’t care about other people’s religion; mostly I don’t. Belief in supernatural beings can be benign. The problem is, however, when someone’s superstition adversely affects the freedom and well-being of others.

In 2004, a devastating Tsunami hit the Aceh province in Indonesia. A horrendous tragedy. Every rational person agrees that this happened naturally. In deeply religious (and therefore scientifically retarded) Aceh, however, those in power saw it as a sign from God that they weren’t pious enough. As a result, Aceh now has one of the most draconic, barbaric and misogynistic Sharia in place that punishes even trivial things like not going to prayer on Friday. It’s irrelevant if you are a muslim or not, by the way. You either go to prayer – or the stockades, awaiting your punishment. Sharia has outlawed cinemas, heavily restricts what – if any – music you may listen to. Women must no longer straddle a motorcycle, nor are they allowed to wear pants.

If you now think that perhaps I’m citing an extreme example to make a point – please recall that less than 50 years ago, children’s playgrounds where closed on Sunday, and dancing was forbidden on holy days – in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and most other European countries.

So the next time you ask why bother, ask yourself: how would you like ten lashes from the whip for skipping a service for the Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be his noodly appendages)?

That is why I bother.

And so should you.