Run, Atheists, Run

One the things Israel makes me sick off is the constant religion / Judaism forced upon you. It is interesting how Judaism does not seek new converts from other religions(proselytize) but does work very hard at maintaining / strengthening the religious ( ~= nationalistic?) ties of Jews. (Secular ones, and in general) This also has to do with Judaism as a race / nation / community other than a religion / belief set, and with Israel’s security / national needs (as a country), but the end result is the same: similarly to many others, I get the wrong end of the ‘Religion Penis Rule’: 

Religion is like a penis. It's fine to have one. It's fine to be proud of it. But please don't whip it out in public  and start waving it around. And please don't to try to shove it down my children's throats.

I get no public transportation on Saturdays; My tax money (that’s ~50% income tax in Israel, mind you) is spent on God’s work, be it ultra-religious studying the Torah or settlers building Judea’s Third Kingdom; I get a country-scale load of guilt every Jewish holiday; luckily for an Israeli, I am straight and my female partner is also Jewish, otherwise my love life would be legally disapproved by the state. That’s fabulous.

I was disheartened to read the following on Quora:

http://www.quora.com/Atheism/If-Atheists-are-so-upset-with-the-laws-and-policies-of-the-United-States-why-do-they-not-move-to-other-countries

The answers themselves (and the ‘answer wiki’) are worth the read, but the general premise of the question is most interesting to me, since it echoes similar preconceptions (and indeed, the very same question) in Israel by conservative people. (I equate ‘conservative’ with ‘theistic’, but to hold the point, we may just observe the intersection of the two.)

Amusingly, the more conservative a person is, not only does he hold a conservative standpoint on the issues under contention (in our case, separation of church from state, etc.), but his very position on the legitimacy of differing opinions is also conservative. I.e., the more conservative your opinions are, the surer you are that you are right and the less open you are to accept other people as free to hold their own line of thought, account to themselves only, etc. In a nutshell, conservatives seem to think they hold a monopoly on to the “truth”, while liberals have their own version of the truth, but think others should do whatever they feel like (within some social borders, of course).

This may be an over-generalization, but I wonder how far it is from being valid by the very definition of being conservative, as least in the political sense. The core value of being politically (as opposed to personally) conservative is in telling other people that they have to live their personal lives according to my values.

The above-mentioned question saddened me a bit, because this is ever-present in Israel, and some Israelis (myself included) view the US as better-off in this aspect.

It seems nowhere in the world is perfect, and we must ever strive for personal freedom over those who would oppress us. (As an end note, I’d rather that in a place where personal freedom wasn’t the exception, but the norm.)