tolerance is the acceptance of that which we do not like, but cannot change

the evangelicals were something to be annoyed with … until they claimed my friend as thier victim.  so in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "Of course,  you know, THIS MEANS WAR!"
Those of you who know me well, know that I have been a confirmed athiest since I was 5.  The stance I take is that claims must be supported by evidence.  there is no evidence indicating the existence of a creator/god/goddess/or dieties (plural), and I think it improbable that there is one (or more than one).  And even if the universe was created by an organism, there is an equal possibility that it was created by some kid in a high school physics class or it’s "a bloody snowglobe" like Desmond says (or that Nike Commercial with the Buffalo snowglobe…).
You can think of it like N-Rays.  Blondlot, a respected physicist, thought he had found a new form of energy.  When Robert Wood, another respected physicst, removed a prism from his apparatus, and the same patterns appeared on his film, Blondlot had to accept the fact that his N-Rays were just an artifact.  He proposed a mechanism for an observed phenomenon, and it was proven false.  The relationship to faith is such: faith is believing in something in the absense of evidence, or presence of countervailing evedence.  There is no evidence for the existence of a deity or deties, and there is some evidence against the existence of deities in the sense of the religions that do exist (namely mutual exclusivity, internal inconsistencies, etc.)
The reason I cannot follow Grandpa Bob’s sage advice and just accept the existence of religion and faith is that faith precludes the search for naturalistic answers.  If you can use a supernatural answer, then science completely breaks down.  Science is predicated upon searching for the truth-not abandoning the search and just slapping the label "god said so" on it to close the argument.  Just because you can’t see Russel’s teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between the earth and mars doesn’t mean it isn’t there (it’s only a philosophical teapot…).
Religion (apart from faith) has its own terrible parts.  following the teachings of self-serving and/or mentally ill individuals (I can’t tell which would be worse) is not necessarily conducive to the construction of an ethical society.  The bible prescribes death for homosexuals, demands that the jews commit genocide (including the slaughter of the other group’s animals) and all manner of other horrible things.  Not eating cheseburgers because it’s not kosher is illogical.  wiping out rival tribes is immoral.
Morality should be based upon utilitarian ideals–the creation of a just, sustainable, and positive society should be the goal.  not adherence to dogmas.
When Marx claimed religion to be the opiate of the masses, he was right.  Faith curiously acts upon the same neurological pathways as opiates.  So people high on god really can be considered high.  Not a good situation (especially when [name deleted] has a history of mental illness).  When those jehova’s witnesses come to your door and say they feel the presence of the holy spirit, they’re feeling either an illusion or a form of epilepsy.  the same feelings can be induced by magnetic fields in succeptible individuals. 
Will I go ballistic at the bourgeois christmas party, unmasking santa and declaring those who believe that jesus was more than a schizophrenic (or crafty self-interested carpenter or just unwitting cult figure)?  no.  I will be polite.  But I shouldn’t be.  I should go grab [name deleted] and send her to a convenient psych ward, with George W and George Mayer (my high school chemistry teacher who was dismissed for being overly evangelical).
I’m so pissed off right now–my friend was stolen by some crafty jesus people and an illogical book (no not the bible, The Case For Faith).  I want my old logical scientific friend back.  I can’t the 135 million americans who are tuned in timothy leary style to the evangelical channel, but I sure wish i could save one.
-please note this will be updated in the future-

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