Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
I have often been told I am religious. And that I have a religion. News to me because, as an atheist, I really don't possess anything that can be identified as a religious feeling about anything and I do not subscribe to any particular dogma. Still, this does not stop a certain stripe of theist, usually Christian, from claiming that my atheism is just as much a religion as their faith. Usually I will ask said theist to explain what my religious beliefs actually are, what holy books I believe in, what supernatural gods I might pray to and what priests or clerics I defer to on matters ranging from diet to sex.
The answers are invariably bizarre and betray a basic lack of knowledge about science and philosophy. I suspect that many theists simply cannot conceive of living without religion and so assume that atheists have equivalents to the beliefs they hold so dear. If they have a god, so must I. If they have a bible or a pope, so must I. So instead of the Bible, I am told I have "faith" in Darwin's The Origin of Species. I am often told that I "worship" Darwin, that I have "faith" that "nothing created something," and that I will blindly follow Dawkins or Hitchens or whoever. It's a through the looking glass view of atheism that more often than not just makes me giggle.
Maybe the most oft repeated criticism is that atheism is "militant" and just as irrational as the religion I critique. This too is laughable...well I used to think so anyway. Most atheists I know have little interest in "organized" or institutional atheism. Sort of defeats the purpose frankly. Which is why I have such a dim view of the "atheist churches" that have cropped up around the interwebs. Aside from being a contradiction in terms, the idea that I need a special place to gather once a week to be told what I believe and chat in front of others some mindless creed strikes me about useful and trying to play a DVD using a flash light. It is certainly fun to meet with my fellow heathens to chat about things now and again and humanist and free thinker organizations play a useful role in organizing charitable and community work. I even applauded the atheist bus campaign not because it has any chance of deconverting believers (In find attempts to convert others to be rather vulgar anyway.) but because it helps gives non-believers a public voice. But an atheist church? WTF, man.
Sadly, there has developed a strain of "atheism" that seems to thrive on the ridiculous. Recently, some Brits have decided they want to be "de-baptized" or un-baptized or use that red light thingy from Men in Black to have their baptism erased from their memories. They are even handing out baptism-free certificates. Most of these folks were like me and were baptized as an infant incapable of forming a single thought.
Now I quiet agree that baptizing a baby is barking mad as the babe has no means to decide for itself whether it wants to a join a chruch. But if you grow up and abandon religion, what does it matter? Some gruesome old celibate sprinkled water on your head, muttered a prayer and SHAZAM you were baptized. That is what we are talking about here: a bit of water and some mumbo jumbo, none of which the atheist believes has the slightest significance. It is not as if the Anglican or Catholic churches have some voodoo zombie control power over those who have been baptized. The pope cannot make you dance to his tune just because someone sprinkled some water on your head a baby. You were "un-baptized" the moment you stopped believing in it.
It just doesn't matter. Baptism might mean a whole lot to believers but to those us of who long ago left religion behind it has about as much meaning as the latest marshmallow addition to Lucky Charms (which is such a nasty cereal by the by. Blech!)
All this irrational blah blah blah about reversing baptisms just a waste of energy when one considers the far more important battles to fought.One is tempted, watching hese spastic attempts to erase baptisms to quote William Shatner from that classic Saturday Night Live sketch: "Get a life, will you!"