This isn’t directly comedy-related but has the support of so many famous comedians that I thought it was relevant.
So what is the British Humanist Association?
“The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity” https://humanism.org.uk/about/ It is about defending the rights of atheists across the globe, rather than aiming to spark debate.
Two obvious comedians for me that are supporters of The British Humanist Association are Tim Minchin and Ricky Gervais. They both, with varying degrees of eloquence, respond to a backlash of regular abuse from people who disagree with what they believe in. I find it funny that to proclaim you are an atheist is somehow distasteful yet to follow a religion is commonplace. I know hundreds of people who are atheists, and they are pretty nice if I’m honest.
I love Tim Minchin because he is firstly hilarious, but also because he remains eloquent when anyone would have the right to punch the perpetrator in the face. Communicating through his songs means he is often actually listened to, something I wish the rest of us could have, yet he is still entertaining and doesn’t get carried away. Basically, the man is a genius and his material really reflects what I am about to say in this post.
What upsets me the most about being an atheist is the fact that it is assumed I must be cynical and ignorant to other beliefs when, in fact, I feel I am quite the opposite. For a large portion of my childhood, I identified myself as a Christian (arguably without knowing too much about it, as a result of being a child). I went to weekly church services and a Church of England primary school which undeniably influenced me heavily. Naturally, at the age of twelve or thirteen I began questioning the world as I knew it, and, with the help of discovering Tim Minchin and having an RE teacher that I didn’t particularly get on with, I outwardly rejected religion for the first time. So here’s the thing: I have listened to the religious side of view. I am currently studying Religion at GCSE and plan on studying Philosophy at A-Level later this year. I am not ignorant, and it is, ironically, ignorant to assume I am.
Yes, I am bitter. Yes, I feel as though I was unfairly manipulated at a young age. Unfortunately, yes, at times I find it hard to remain unbiased because my views are so strong. But I always try to be respectful (or just keep my mouth shut). And this is what offends me: talk about religion, it is tolerated; talk about atheism, you are insolent.
I am in no way anti-religion, many of my friends are religious, my mother is religious. But I will not tolerate people assuming things about me as a result of my beliefs: that is discrimination. I am not trying to force my views on anyone else because that is exactly what happened to me and my views were subsequently distorted.
Of course, this only applies to a small group of people, and this post will not change anything but I thought it was worth a try. Please let me know if you agree or disagree, or if you have anything else to add. Sorry this is a little bit of a ranty post but I find the topic fascinating and would live to hear other peoples’ views.