It was Friedrich Nietzsche who suggested
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.
I was once a monster myself and am determined not to be one again.
Recently I reaffirmed my faith in God. It lay dormant for a long, long time. During that time I aired the bitterness I had accumulated over the years since I kissed faith good-bye.
Well, that's the thing. The bitterness. It grieves me when I look back over the years and think of the hassles I gave "people of faith" (God, how I used to hate that phrase and now I am such myself) during my self-imposed exile. All because I was bitter. I felt God had let me down.
I meant well. I thought I had laid down a load and was trying to help others unburden themselves. Only they didn't feel a burden. Oops.I thought I was fighting monsters but instead had become one myself.
Something I've noticed: It seems to me that the most difficult nonbeliever there is to deal with is the one who used to be a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian. They can morph into monsters, mean-spirited and overbearing. I did.
Besides the sheer discourteousness of a gratuitous attack on a person's religious beliefs, there is the fact that such an approach is almost totally useless. Such attacks only cause the faithful to dig in deeper and promotes return hostility.
Even though I have returned to faith in God I still have an intense dislike for fundamentalism. I honestly believe it is the bad face of religion. Fundamentalists can be monsters with their faith. A worthy goal, it seems to me, would be to help these folks along to a less monstrous approach to spirituality. I doubt that can be done by viciously attacking views they hold deeply and sincerely.
Yes, religion does have an ugly side. But so too does nonbelief. Faith can transform itself into an ugly and abusive cocksureness, but so can reason. That is the monstrous aspect of the matter. From either end I think it is necessary to fight the monster without becoming one.
I like to think the monsters are much in the minority. Love and reason should prevail. Arrogance is totally out of place here.