If we want to see the world become a happier, healthier, more enlightened place, we religious skeptics need to become much bolder and more candid -- much more aggressive in speaking truth to superstition and Iron Age religious fantasies.  A world in which "revealed" religions have withered away, replaced by science and reason and an enlightened 21st Century moral code, would be vastly superior to anything that has ever existed.  Skepticism and free speech are the keys to making that a reality -- as has already happened, to a large degree, in various European countries...the countries with the world's highest standards of societal health, as it happens.  

Please note that I am NOT suggesting that we restrict anyone's right to practice the religion of their choice.  I'm simply suggesting that we should practice our own right to free speech, and revoke the free pass that religions have often been given.  I'm talking about having honest conversations in all available venues.  This is the only way things change (without bloodshed); the only way societies advance, intellects become more enlightened, and the moral zeitgeist moves forward.  

Here at Daily Kos, I've seen a very disturbing tendency to squelch any criticism of religion.  (One religion in particular, it seems.)  This is really alarming in a venue frequented by progressives, since free speech is the very foundation of democracy and civil society.  Without free speech, you get Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia or Saudi Arabia.  Surely those are not models we want to follow!  

Part of the problem seems to be that, when someone makes an honest, easily-verifiable criticism of a religious ideology, commenters here at DK immediately accuse that person of attacking the people who identify with that religion, and accuse the critic of being a "hate monger" or "bigot".  This is totally irrational, not to mention dishonest.  

If progressive societies are to thrive, we need to be free to criticize religious ideologies, no matter how many people consider them to be divinely inspired.  Conservative Christians regularly criticize my progressive, pantheistic worldvew.  So what?  I'm free to criticize their worldview, and may the best ideology prevail!  That's how it works in civil societies.  It seems to me that the community at Daily Kos needs to take another look at the issue of free speech, and stop banning progressives who present legitimate concerns regarding religious ideologies and their natural consequences.

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