So who's really intolerant, Mary?
I read with amazement the opinion piece 'Atheist bus more like a bandwagon on highway to hell'. (Irish Independent, November 24).
Mary Kenny condemns atheists for simplistic arguments which mainly rely on personal abuse against Christians. Yet in this one short article, she proceeds to describe atheists as cold, immoral, deeply unpleasant, intolerant and directly responsible for almost every calamity to have befallen this nation over the past 25 years, short of the current recession.
I myself am an atheist, having spent most of my life as an active Christian. I try to live as moral a life as I can and I do not need the promise of eternal reward or the threat of eternal damnation to do so.
I do not believe Christians are "stupid" as suggested in the article and I certainly do not resort to name-calling when discussing religion. My rejection of Christianity was due to my weighing up of the facts and deciding that the evidence did not adequately support the extraordinary claims made.
My arguments in favour of disbelief don't come from a sense of intellectual superiority but rather from my own experiences as a Christian, beginning when I first found out that the four Gospels were written anonymously many decades after the events they describe. And in all likelihood the authors were not Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and were indeed almost certainly not -- and never claim to be -- eye-witnesses to the life of the historical Jesus (a detail understandably not publicised by mainstream Christianity).
From this I began to more closely look into the development of early Christianity, and each scriptural contradiction, altered Gospel passage and forged epistle led me closer and closer to disbelief.
I have no problem with people believing in God if they so wish. And I do realise that such an uninformed, narrow-minded and intolerant article is not typical of the attitude of the average Christian, most of whom realise that religion should be used as a set of moral guidelines.
However I am disappointed that there still exists the attitude that human morality is entirely dependant on God. That some people can have so little faith in humanity and indeed themselves, is saddening.