"But it gives my life meaning"
It's not enough that we simply raise empirical challenges to these iron age beliefs saying, "Jesus didn't really rise from the dead" or "Muhammad didn't really fly to heaven on a horse." We must also give no quarter to this falsehood that religion can give peoples lives real meaning. The truths about our identity, experience, and the future impacts that our decision will have on the world around us are much deeper and more profound than any culture or religion. They are, in fact, deeper than EVERY culture and EVERY religion. Because these truths don't just "give meaning". They are, more importantly, actually meaningful.
Your logic doesn't hold:
Just because Santa doesn't exist, doesn't mean belief in him can't give lots of Childrens lives hope and meaning over Christmas.
It's this kind of dogmatism that is actually dangerous to atheism. Let people have their religion, their superstitions and their rituals - it gives them comfort.
There's plenty enough bad about religion to focus on without trying to trash all of it at once which simply won't work. Focus on the abusive behavior and child mutilation.
Religion does more harm than help. All the fights and conflicts my Witness parents have had could be traced to the false religious teaching that woman is inferior to man. My dad never allowed my mom to be dynamic with respect to her potential.
Just because Santa doesn't exist, doesn't mean belief in him can't give lots of Childrens lives hope and meaning over Christmas.Isn't the truth about Christmas far deeper and more profound than a belief in Santa? The fact that loving parents buy their children gifts? The fact that good will and the spirit of giving come from us and not some magical being - isn't this more empowering?
The same is true of religion. The truths about our lives are far more meaningful than any religious claim.
I don't see any value in lying about Santa. Christmas is a most enjoyable family occasion, even when stripped of all the falsehood and religious connotation.
Similarly, life is no less enjoyable without belief in an afterlife, in fact it becomes more precious and valuable.
We must also give no quarter to this falsehood that religion can give peoples lives real meaning.
And who the fuck are you to tell anyone what they must or must not do?
Yes indeed Jwfacts!
Life does become far more enjoyable when we actually live in each moment and value it as precious. Those who simply look toward some future utopian fantasy fail to enjoy today's day of life.
Religious people should be allowed their religious beliefs that give their lives meaning.
And, as for the rest of us, we should be allowed to criticise and ridicule religious beliefs.
In the West, we all have freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, and freedom of speech.
It cannot be overemphasised just how great this is ...
Sam Harris once said: "If I told you that I thought there was a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in my backyard, and you asked me, why do you think that? I say, this belief gives my life meaning, or my family draws a lot of joy from this belief, and we dig for this diamond every Sunday and we have this gigantic pit in our lawn. I would start to sound like a lunatic to you. You can't believe there really is a diamond in your backyard because it gives your life meaning. If that's possible, that's self-deception that nobody wants."
There's plenty enough bad about religion to focus on without trying to trash all of it at once which simply won't work. Focus on the abusive behavior and child mutilation
It takes all kinds. Some people can be persuaded away from their harmful beliefs and practices by being shown that they aren't necessary to give their lives meaning, and some people can be persuaded that their lives can be endowed with meaning another way once they realize that the current source of meaning stems from fundamentally harmful beliefs and practices. Saying that one shouldn't make a point that favors a lack of belief in a deity because it's somehow the wrong way to talk people out of their belief is, in my opinion, a completely indefensible position to take.
I agree that we should let people have their privately held superstitions as long as they don't impose them on others, but I fail to see how pointing out just how unnecessary those superstitions are will somehow weaken the case against belief without evidence.