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Today I had a debate with an atheist friend who’s very lenient towards religion, and says that religion is a very valid need of humanity. He says: “Nowhere you hear the word ‘god’ more than in a cancer ward. When people who are lost in a frozen land, seek a shelter, why do you try to take that shelter away from them?” And then he accused me of disrespecting and humiliating theists, and ignoring people’s legitimate need for a shelter.

But the truth is, if that shelter is actually non-existent, and it doesn’t protect you from the icy storm, but you think it does, it only kills you faster. You’re better on the run, aware of the danger. But other than that, I actually think attitudes like this are disrespectful.

Many claim that in order to “respect” the believers, we need to refrain from debating them. I think to refrain from debate is disrespectful. It implies that person cannot handle criticism and must be shielded from the truth like a child. That we need to sugar-coat our own ideas so it can be understood by their lesser minds. No. Believers deserve to be treated as intellectual equals, to have the chance to hear your uncensored and honest version of truth. Point is, the so-called “nice” atheists don’t even realize how condescending their attitude is.

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An Iranian researcher, writer, and teacher who is an ex-Muslim atheist currently living in one of the theocracies in the world, Iran. Interested in literature, philosophy, and political sciences, especially...