What is the harm of church? After all, most people who grow up in Christian households don't feel the need for apostasy and many continue on in the tradition of their faith. They enjoy the solidarity, interconnectedness, and relationships that they build within the confines of church and see no reason to abandon it. In most places not called The Bible Belt, this is the extent of religion in America--It acts as, at most, a psychological deterrent against death and at least as an excuse to get out of the house and meet people.
A few weeks ago some troll posted a message branding us as (sarcastically) "fiery apostates" for railing against religion. Basically the point was to mock strident atheists who go out of their way to study, debunk, and denounce religion because, as this Christian apparently saw it, religion isn't that big of a threat.
In a way, he's right. I never grew up in a very Christian household. I kind of did, but it was never shoved in my face. It was one of those things that lurked in the background of political discussions or discussions about life's circumstances and of course as a family we didn't like evolution, but those things are mostly peripheral. The point of having a family is to foster a loving environment and I had that, religion or no religion.
But for many people, my case is not typical. For many people, religion does act as a mind-forged manacle and shackles constructive thought. Many branches, like a lot of Mormon sects, resemble cultish behavior and prey on the vulnerable minds of children, most of whom literally believe in Santa Claus until the age of 12 or so before they start questioning his existence. And mostly, for me, it is the predation of defenseless minds that irritates me the most about religion and always has. Religion in general has many benign attributes, but ultimately it comes down to wish thinking and I personally despise wish thinking.
The other issue is that even in a benign setting such as Sunday School where little children learn about the Beatitudes, there is always that element of authoritarianism. There is always that obedience that church leaders extract out of the young and then project some type of social pressure on people who (how dare they!) consider apostasy because that is where their mind takes them. And that is mostly what we like to provide on this blog--A forum that encourages individual thought. Obviously there are many other topics discussed, but the overall message here is to think for yourself.
The other point I'd like to make is that atheism is not inherently evangelical. I don't enjoy talking about religion because my parents forced me to go to Sunday School (which they never did), but we just like talking about it. I personally find it insanely interesting. I'm not going to go out of my way to publicly question your personal superstition, but the minute you enter the arena of ideas, be prepared to experience some backlash. Christians in general tend to think they are being picked on by militant atheism when in reality they are experiencing blowback from not being even capable of considering other points of view. And this is the true and toxic nature of religion; it encourages blind obedience to authority figures who have not earned their status while at the same time promoting absolute certainty about what the best course of action is for humanity at-large. It is inherently a one-size-fits-all system and it is inherently totalitarian. That is why I rail against public religion and unfortunately, that is the form most religion takes.