I am an atheist and I have been since about 8th grade or so (I’m now in my twenties). Like many Americans I was raised as a Protestant Christian, specifically a Presbyterian though our local church was always fairly non-denominational in spirit and it later became a non-denomination church. I did not stop being religious because I dislike Christianity, on the contrary of all the major religions I think Christianity is objectively the best religion and the only real competition is from Buddhism. Two things drove me from faith, a dry spell where I watched way too much Stargate which basically ascribed all gods to alien lifeforms, and one particular Sunday School lesson where the youth minister laid out the following hypothetical: You can be a good Christian your whole life and if you believe Jesus is the savior then you will go to Heaven, someone else can spend their whole life ignoring Christian values (I’m paraphrasing what was actually said) and so long as they believe Jesus is the savior they too will get into Heaven. This really rubbed me the wrong way because, me being a tween, I thought it was unfair. In retrospect though the reason I became an atheist after hearing that lesson is because I thought it taught the wrong message.
Christian values, like charity, are good values and Christian morals are good morals. I still believe that and do my best to keep those values in my life. But that Sunday school lesson seemed to teach what I consider to be the worst lesson a Christian can teach – that it’s ok to ignore the values and morals of Christianity so long as you ascribe to the purely esoteric rules of faith, i.e. the rules which have no impact on your daily life. I still find it baffling that our youth minister gave that lesson because it is so counter-productive to me. We should be teaching people Christian values.
I remember once seeing a stupid anti-religious meme on the internet about the difference in how people are described by Christianity and science. The meme ascribed words like flawed, broken, sinful and so on to Christianity and words like limitless potential to science. It was stupid and silly and it bothers me. It bothers me because the reason Christianity describes humans the way it does is not to put them down as the meme implied to but to teach humility, another important value. At it’s core, with regards to daily life, Christianity is all about self improvement, the rules and morals ascribed in Christian works are a guideline to being a better person, at least according to Judeo-Christian ideas of what a good person is, and being mindful of our flaws aka humility is central to this process. And the idiot atheists who made that meme missed the fucking point. That may not be their fault, they might not have ever been exposed to Christian teachings. But I find far too many atheists are adversarial against faith, most notably Christianity as I will explain later, while in fact participating in a faith of their own – they just replace God with science and believe science will someday reach a point when we can explain everything.
I don’t share that sentiment. I may not believe in God but I do firmly believe that there will always be mysteries beyond our reach. Because I don’t really care about the esoteric stuff, I care about the way I live my life, and whatever my failings, I want to improve and to continue to be a good person to the best of my ability. Because that what I think the greatest value of faith is, a guideline to being a better person. With that in mind I want to explain why Christianity is good and why Islam is a terrible religion. TRIGGER WARNING: Islamophobia incoming.
Getting back to the end of the paragraph before last, I said Christianity is bashed by atheists far more than any other religion. I said that because A – atheists are most numerous in Western countries and they have less knowledge about non-Christian religions and B – due to their location many atheists are progressive types and progressives can’t attack Islam. This of course is the most retarded thing about progressives and atheists alike, they will slam Christians and Christianity for things like not approving of gay marriage but won’t attack Islam even after an Islamic regime puts a bunch of gays in an internment camp. Why? The full answer includes a lot of insane logical gymnastics but the basics are that Christianity is the dominant religion where these people live and it’s seen as safe to attack because it’s associated with the white supremacist patriarchy that apparently runs our western democratic republic that had a black president in office this time last year (Oct 2016). Also these people are morons who seem to think gay marriage and abortion rights are more important than things like the freedom to be gay without being killed. I swear to the God I don’t believe in that these are the dumbest people alive.
This brings me to Islam, the worst religion of the modern day. This is actually another problem, a lot of anti-Christians will try and paint Christianity as evil for because of things Christians did in the past or using Bible passages which mention slaves or other outdated ideas which in no way reflect Christianity as it is practiced today. To which I say who gives a fuck, Christianity had it’s Reformation half a millennia ago, why are you attacking it on grounds which are no longer relevant? And even if you did somehow justify this approach of judging religions on their past forms and actions Islam is still worse. The Crusades, those lasted a few centuries. Islamic empires were aggressively expansionist centuries before the Crusades and remained that way after the Crusades were over. Islamic armies killed and enslaved far more than their wicked Christian counterparts did in the past.
What really matters though is the present condition of both religions. Christianity is a largely tolerant religion and even in cases where it isn’t, like gay marriage, it has no power over the state. About the worst thing you can accurately ascribe to Christian thought is that they might declare LGBTQ+ people as unnatural or sick. Islam is a totally different story. Islam is a supremacist religion which promotes sharia law, jihad, raping non-Muslim women and forming child grooming gangs, child brides, honor killings (where Muslim families kill their own daughters for not being suitably submissive or faithful to Islam), female genital mutilation, polygamy, real patriarchy (not the kind ascribed to Western nations which only have established gender roles – which are changing as I type this), the killing of gays and adulterers, preventing women from leaving the house unaccompanied by a male guardian, preventing women from driving, preventing Islamic women from marrying non-Islamic men and the killing of Muslim apostates. Now some of these things vary by region, for example Saudia Arabia now lets women drive and Tunisia, a moderate Islamic nation, just let Islamic women marry non-Muslims. Also I don’t want to imply that the majority of Muslims necessarily do all or any of these things, a sizable minority do but “not all Muslims.”
However what’s really scary is how permissive of these things everyday Muslims are. In Egypt for example upwards of 80% of the population supports killing gays. That doesn’t mean 80% of people do the killing but the vast majority of the populace approves when the killing happens. Many Muslim countries have between 60% and 70% of the population supporting the worst practices of Islam. Even in Western countries it’s not unheard of for 40% of Muslims to approve of some of Islam’s most backward practices and ideas. Then we get to terrorism. Name a Christian terror group. Odds are you can’t, the only one I know of is in Africa and I’m blanking on the name. By comparison Islam has Al-Nusra, ISIS, Al Quaida, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, the Taliban and the Tamil Tigers, which cover all of the Middle East, parts of Indonesia and Western Africa. And those are just the ones I know off the top of my head, I know for a fact the list would be longer if I bothered to look, because I have before.
What I’m trying to say is that when you look at the data, the facts, and compare the results of Islam and the results of Christianity it’s not even remotely a contest. Islam and the nations where it is the majority religion are both riddled with problems,most notably violence. The most common complaint against Christianity on the other hand is that it’s not accepting enough of gay people. I don’t think Christianity is perfect, I think in some cases Christian ideas have led to problems like how woefully inadequate American sex education is, and I’m talking about fucking not genders (there are only two it’s science and the few exceptions are vanishingly rare like when you end up with XXY chromosomes). That being said Christianity has valuable lessons for anyone willing to listen and it can hardly be called a violent or oppressive force in the world.