Atheism and Evangelism

Even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights: the right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities, provided only that he does not try to inflict them upon others by force; he has the right to argue for them as eloquently as he can. But he has no right to be protected from the criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge.
H.L. Mencken

Given that religious persons feel motivated to save our souls by their own beliefs, and thus evangelize us, are they morally wrong, in following what they truly believe, an in trying to "help" us?

By the same line of reasoning, those of us who feel that some religious systems promote and induce unethical behavior, intolerance, ignorance, anti-scientific and anti-intellectual attitudes, theocratic tendencies, etc., may be ethically motivated to try to argue against these systems, or at least to reasonably present our alternatives to those willing to listen. Are we, therefore, evangelical atheists? Are we wrong, in following what we see as the truth?

Brian Flemming, of The God Who Wasn't There, is now behind a campaign to plant his DVDs, and generally anti-Christian materials, in churches for their Easter services. The aim appears to be to "hide" these things within churches so that worshippers on Easter Sunday will discover them, and hopefully watch/read them. This appraoch, in my opinion, crosses the line of ethical behavior and decency. I do not claim that my ethical framework is universal and absolute, but I think that when people want to gather together around a common focus, we ought to allow them to do so without antagonism. How would we handle unsolicited evangelists at a skeptics conference, standing up and preaching? Now, that said, I think that standing out in the parking lot [of the church, or wherever], holding a sign like this one, is completely innocuous.

What are your thoughts on the balance between promoting a worldview [or one aspect thereof, like atheism within the broader context of Materialism] and "going too far" in "evangelizing"?

Read this interesting take on positive atheism, and comment away.

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