Metaphor: Religion is like smoking
There's a lame-ass critique of so-called 'new atheism' by some right-wing blogger (link: http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/10/preaching_to_the_choir.php).
It is not the article itself, but the thoughtful comments below it that I found interesting. I highly recommend reading them (reading the article itself is optional, if only for the context it provides). Check them out.
Here's one comment in particular that sparked my imagination:
My view of religion is like my view of smoking: if you must do it, do it in the privacy of your own home and not in public places, keep it out of my face, don’t do it in front of my kids and don’t try to get the government to further your habit or buy your cigarettes. (Now if we could only get the balls up to tax churches like cigarettes, what a happy day that will be.)
I don’t see why any theist can be rightly unhappy with that solution.
What struck me is that only 20 years ago, smoking was very common and pretty much everyone had to put up with it in silence, whether they were smokers or not.
Slowly, surely, the tide changed. People started to become aware of the risks of smoking. They made smoking sections in restaurants. Put up no smoking signs everywhere.
Over time, it became less socially acceptable to smoke. Now, in many locales, smoking is banned in restaurants, even bars, etc.
What's more, there's a social stigma against second hand smoking. This is what sparked my imagination and inspired this post.
Not only is smoking bad for YOU, it's also bad for the people you expose to it. It's bad for mothers to smoke around young children, even. Looked down upon. Shameful.
This is a good metaphor to explain how we find religion harmful. Not only is it harmful to YOU, whether you like your addiction or not, but it is also harmful to the people you expose to it. "Okay, enough of that preaching. I don't like your second-hand religion. It's harmful to my mental health. If you need religion, do it in the privacy of your own home or church."
We should have No Religion signs with a cross through a Cross (it can even have rosary beads attached, making it look like a cigarette with smoke coming out of it), etc.
We can make Surgeon General's stickers to put on holy books. "WARNING: Reading the Bible can cause serious long-term delusions and be harmful to your mental health!" "WARNING: Second-hand religion is harmful to children!"
What do you all think?
(Again, I highly recommend reading the comments to the article I linked to. They contains some pretty good condensations of why so-called 'new atheism' is important, and I think these comments represent a shift in consciousness. More people are speaking out against religion. Thanks Bill Maher!)