Atheists can be so insensitive!

PZ Myers has a great post up today over at Pharyngula where he reminds us that it's okay to mock religion, because it's fucking ridiculous:
Religion has at least two weaknesses. One is that it is empirically false, and all of its specific claims are either pointless and unverifiable, or have been falsified. Another, though, that we neglect at a cost of diminished effectiveness, is that it's hilarious. It's a prime target for exposure of religious folly; it's the soft, ticklish underbelly of faith and we need more people to exploit it.
PZ is one of those "attack dog" style of atheists, alongside others like Christopher Hitchens and Jerry Coyne. I can relate, as I enjoy a good laugh, and I've been chastised by theists for not being sensitive enough to their lunacy. Although I think it's important to have substantive conversations about faith and religion from time to time, I've never been one to shy away from mocking the absurdity of it all either. And why should we be? A common thread among apostates like myself is that we're baffled at the ridiculousness of the things we once said, did, and believed.

And PZ has a great point. Why should we be sensitive to people's desire to cling to irrational beliefs? The comedian Tim Minchin said it best in his beat poem "Storm":  
Science adjusts its views based on what's observed; faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved
What theists fail to understand is that "faith" is not a valid means by which to attain knowledge. Reason is all we have. What has religion added to our knowledge of... well, anything? I challenge any theist to name a single insight into our nature or existence that could not have been made by a secular philosopher, or to name a single natural phenomenon for which the best explanation used to be scientific, but is now religious. Religion is, as Sam Harris has said, a failed science. There's a place for serious discussion, since religious belief does have some serious implications; but we shouldn't hesitate to remind the faithful that their beliefs, and indeed their entire basis for understanding the world, are ridiculous.


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