In my teen years I was an outspoken atheist. When debating people I would take the position that, not only are gods a silly idea, religion as a whole is bad for humanity.
Even when talking to other atheists I would often get this answer: “What if believing in God is helping these people lead happier lives? Why does it matter if it’s real or not? They’re not hurting you.”
A fair point. And one for which I did not have a good answer. It was offensive to me that we would simply accept that people were deluding themselves, and then indoctrinating their children to do the same. All in the name of happiness? It seemed dystopian, but I lacked the wit to explain why.
A few weeks ago I found the answer I’d been looking for, and I couldn’t be sadder about it.
They’re not hurting anybody, you say? These people who reject all evidence, all science, all reason, in favor of fictitious stories that validate their beliefs? These people that we’ve respectfully allowed to delude themselves gave us Trump.
But so what if people believe a rich cretinous demagogue is going to fix all their problems. They’re happy, and besides, who are they hurting?