Is it necessary to discredit religious or theistic belief?
This question is mainly for atheists, or more accurately anti-theists, but I would like to hear from everyone.
Religious and theistic beliefs have been mixed up in all manner of undesirable thoughts and actions all throughout history. Some prominent atheists use this as a reason to argue against religion and theism, because they regard atheism as part of the path to greater civility.
However I’m sure we all know theists whose beliefs are not harmful in the slightest. We are lucky enough to have several here on Fluther. While theistic beliefs may not be true (please leave this point for another thread – I’m trying to cover new territory here), surely arguing against the harmless forms as part of the whole is pointless.
Why argue the existence or otherwise of gods, rather than the effects that some forms of belief cause? Can we not gain wider support if we instead argue, for example, the right of every person to exercise personal preference, the right of a child to a balanced education, and the moral depravity of honour killings? It seems we are wasting our time on the issue of gods vs. no gods, when instead we could be teaching people to be moral despite their beliefs. Most Christians I know are good people, despite some of the despicable passages to be found in the Bible. I am quite sure intelligent, open minded theists would support such arguments.
Would it be more beneficial to spend time spreading ideas of ethics and morality, or is there a particular reason why it is important to discredit religious belief in itself? Does everything come down to actions?
Apologies for the length. I hope the question is clear enough.