Chosen peoples and their holy wars

Heathen, infidel, gentile, pagan, unbeliever, apostate, ungodly, godless, unholy, heretic, blasphemer, doomed, damned, cursed, condemned, satanic, of the devil, etc., etc.

That's the sort of abuse you'll hear from the mouths of religious bigots if you decide, in the name of all that is decent, not to heed their hocus-pocus.

Religious bigots and fanatics assume they have an unquestionable monopoly on knowing what is right and wrong, true and false, natural and unnatural.  Some will go as far as to claim they're actually chosen by God. Seeing yourself as one of God's favourites means that God doesn't favour others as much as God favours you. That means you either have a bloated opinion of your own excellence and a very low opinion of your God!

Such belief in your own God-given superiority leads to the conclusion that you have the divine right to treat others as inferior. Trouble is that some of those others may have chosen to consider themselves chosen by another God. If they do they'll see you as lesser mortals in the same way as you look down on them. That's when the «My-God-can-beat-up-your-God» syndrome sets in and people feel justified in harming each other in the name of their respective Gods.

This religious ignorance is childish, arrogant and destructive. It's arrogant not just towards the ‘lesser’ mortals but also, if you’re a believer, towards whichever version of God is involved. In most religions no mortal is permitted the arrogance of claiming exclusive rights on matters supposedly divine and immortal.  

It's through such unilaterally declared divine right and superiority that humans find ridiculous justifications for committing attrocities like the holocaust, the Vietnam war, the exploitation of Latin American and Arab peoples in the hunt for profits, the killing of innocent civilians in suicide attacks, the bombing of innocent civilians in Lebanon and Gaza, etc. ‘Onward, Christian soldiers’, ‘Gott mitt uns’, ‘holy war’, ‘crusade’, ‘jihad’, ‘God's chosen people’, ‘promised land’, etc.  There are no bounds to the destruction caused by the bigoted abracadabra-hocus-pocus hooligans of holy violence . Give us a break!

Fanatic fundamenalists (e.g. right-wing Christians, Jihadists and Zionists) should remember that the only guarantee for religious freedom and respect is, as Akbar the Great (1542-1605) realised, the separation of state and religious powers, and, as both Ghandi and Atatürk demonstrated, a secular society. [1]

That’s just one good reason for becoming an atheist today. It's no use leaving matters of morality and ethics to the unilaterally self-appointed hijackers of divine right and retribution. We have to reclaim those values for ourselves as human beings, not just from religious bigots and fanatics but also from the foul perversions of capitalist consumerism, including its insidious propaganda (‘advertising’) and its own cynical brand of hocus-pocus about the Holy Market.

We got fundamentalist Muslims,
We got fundamentalist Jews,
We got fundamentalist Christians
To blow the whole thing up for you.
But as I travel around this big ol' world
The one thing that I most fear
Is a white man in a golf shirt
With a cellphone in his ear.
    Tom Russell: Who's Gonna Build Your Wall? (2007), verse 3.

1. ‘The religion of Islam will be elevated if it will cease to be a political instrument’ (Atatürk, 1924; Wikipedia article, footnote 25).