If This is the New Atheism…

…then I’ll stick with the old-fashioned kind.

I read the following in an atheist blog yesterday, written in response to the recent protests in Egypt. First there’s a link to the story, “Christians pelt Egypt minister as unrest fears rise.” There are hundreds of similar articles online.

Here’s the blogger’s response:

“I always thought Christianity advertised itself as a peaceful religion myself. But time and again we see things like this where angry Christian practitioners commit such violent acts. And sadly, history is littered with them. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and antisemitism are just a few fine examples. Here’s a great quote from author Sam Harris in his book ‘Letter to a Christian Nation’ “…faith inspires violence in at least two ways. First, people often kill other human beings because they believe that the creator of the universe wants them to do it… Second, far greater numbers of people fall into conflict with one another because they define their moral community on the basis of their religious affiliation…” Christianity is unfortunately a prime example of this behavior, particularly the second part of the quote. In Christianity’s view the only moral people are Christians. Everyone else is essentially a heretic.”

Atheists please. Even if you were religiously abused as a child by Christian holy rollers, this is harsh and inappropriate.  A group of people who riot in anger after the massacre of family and friends is hardly a case of “angry Christian practitioners committing violent acts.”

For their crime of refusing to become part of the dominant totalitarian religion, a religion that controls every single aspect of daily life, the Copts may as well be atheists. Finally a group with the guts to stand up to the iron grip of Islam, and all you can do is sneer at them for throwing stones? Those damn hypocrites!

It’s not like you’re going to praise them for NOT fighting back, they’ll still be ignorant Christians to you. But what would you have them do…assimilate? Is that what you would do?

It is the reaction of the Copts that has brought this to the world’s attention. Christians of Egypt have few rights, and face restrictions and intimidation in all aspects of their lives. So it is a source of encouragement to see religious intolerance exposed, anger raised, and the world take note. It wasn’t always this way in Egypt, the assaults on Christians have risen dramatically in the past 20 or 30 years.  Maybe the momentum of this attack will somehow be the catalyst for open dialogue and progress, but I imagine little will be accomplished, until the next bombing, and the next…as anyone who openly defies Islam is a target.

This is a critical issue not because they are Christians, but because they are not Muslims.

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11 responses to “If This is the New Atheism…

  1. the word of me

    Hi D., I hope you had a good holiday and all is well.

    I believe the Copt Christians in Egypt had more than enough provocation to riot since the Muslims were killing them and the police were not even trying to protect them.

    Whichever atheist attacked the Christians should turn in his badge and write about things he might know something about…perhaps soap bubbles or rainbows.

    The Muslim world just continues on its merry way killing here, bombing there, killing there, etc etc.

    We really need to consider banning the whole of Islam as a terrorist organization.

    B…twom

  2. Hi…I really don’t get this narrow brand of atheism…as I browse around the net I see a lot of it. Kicking minority Christians while they’re down is pretty low. Bloggers and commenters keep bringing up the Inquisition, etc. I think we’re past that now and should be looking at religions where personal freedom is not an option, especially if you’re a woman.

    You currently have a video of Sam Harris and his views on Islam in your latest post, but the blogger chose anti-Christian quotes instead.

    I never thought of atheism as having branches or being open to various interpretations. This is as irrational to me as religion.

    • Perhaps you do not understand what atheism is. I’ll begin with what it is not. It is not a philosopy. It is not a world view. It is not a system of ethics. It is not a great many things. In fact, atheism is but one thing. It is a position on a proposition. Specifically, it is how one answers the question “Do I believe in a god?” If the answer is yes, then the answerer is a theist. If the answer is anything else (including the all-too-often encountered “No, but I don’t think that there is enough evidence to make a call.”) that person is an atheist. That’s all. There is no interpreting atheism.

      How someone views Islam, their political leanings, etc. is atheism plus. That is, those views are due to what that person believes, not what they lack a belief in.

  3. the word of me

    Hello again D.

    You write:
    “Hi…I really don’t get this narrow brand of atheism…as I browse around the net I see a lot of it. Kicking minority Christians while they’re down is pretty low. Bloggers and commenters keep bringing up the Inquisition, etc. I think we’re past that now and should be looking at religions where personal freedom is not an option, especially if you’re a woman.”

    These bloggers who keep bringing up things like the Inquisition from Christianities past are reminding some of the modern know-nothing Christians that their own brand of religion has no particular claim to righteousness and piety. Christians in the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages were responsible for maybe 5 million+- deaths of innocents. Christian and “other” religions clashes in more modern times have resulted in maybe 10 to 20 million more deaths. Statistics on these things are hard to come by.

    The “Big Name” religions i.e. Christianity, Islam, Hindus all treat women as second class people. For awhile there I thought Christianity was changing as women were having a easier time in our western societies, but churches are still telling women they cannot have headship over man or lead congregations, and of course this leads to negative stereotyping of all women.

    You write:
    “I never thought of atheism as having branches or being open to various interpretations. This is as irrational to me as religion.”

    I think like anything else in our world there are differences in opinion and degrees of belief and we are a polyglot bunch who mostly fall outside the norm. Don’t think of this as apologia for the cretin you were writing about. He either did not truly understand what was happening or he was trying to confuse people…maybe 🙂
    Peace,
    B.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am simply attempting to understand the reasoning behind the polemics. Rational insights into why this is happening are appreciated. Time to get over the Spanish Inquisition, which was mainly active in the late 1400s and early 1500s.

      When I was in high school in the ’70s we learned about Islam being spread “by the sword.” Now kids are told that it’s the “religion of peace.”

  4. Nuclear weapons, biological weapons, computer technology—side by side with stonings, death sentences for “blasphemy,” (a crime) adultery (crime), conversion by Muslims to any other religion (crime), and the worst treatment of women anywhere in the world (not a crime). Their world is one huge oxymoron.

    Pakistanis celebrating the assassination of the killing of a moderate Muslim political figure fuels their vile agenda into a frenzy. Rose petals? Are you kidding? It deeply disturbs me in a way I have never felt before. I’ll bet there were no women in those celebrations, though—not allowed, of course. You never even see pictures of them in the crowds—I always look.

    Many atheists (not all of course, I thought that was clear but apparently my mistake) do not condemn this cancer metastasizing through the world. But yet they continue to smash Christianity as if that’s what’s going to destroy us. I’m desperately trying to understand this, but so far, in all my writings, not one atheist of this opinion has come forward to explain in any way that makes sense (at least to me). Is it fear of reprisal? Is it because Muslims are not white so that makes it acceptable for them to destroy every country they inhabit? Nobody wants to be accused of racism, which has absolutely nothing to do with it. Is this particular brand of “atheists” actually pleased to see their mortal enemy, the Christian faith, bombed, tortured, jailed?

    Yet millions of Mexicans immigrate here, and they are fiercely Christian, but somehow that’s OK with this brand of atheists too (you’re just going to have to trust me on this, I live on the US/Mexican border). After all, they’re not white. Everybody rants about evangelical Christians—fine. Me too. But they are a very small group compared to the real danger here. Though I do not have children, I fear for generations of free people to come. I’d rather live in a Christian country any day. I am free, I do as I please, they do not interfere with my life.

    I’m not defending Christianity, I’ve been very clear that I’ve been an atheist all my life. I don’t need to have atheism explained to me; I am a living example of a life of pure, unadulterated atheism. Nothing could make me believe in any god. Religion is religion. A tyrannical, cruel religion as law, however, is exponentially evil. Don’t think for a minute that if Christianity is brought down that it will be replaced with the sanity of no religion.

    I respect rational comments. Attacks will not be printed.

    • Many atheists (not all of course, I thought that was clear but apparently my mistake) do not condemn this cancer metastasizing through the world.

      Nonsense. Even Ray Comfort has asked atheists to tone it down with regards to criticizing Islam because of the potential backlash from its adherents. So I don’t know where you get this idea that we atheists are not criticizing Islam. I really don’t.

      But Islamists are not trying as of yet to subvert secular institutions like courthouses by erecting monuments to the ten commandments when western legal systems were actually based on Roman and Greek law. They are not the ones who are discriminating against homosexuals by outlawing gay marriage. They are not the ones stopping research into whole new avenues of therapies for diseases because for religious reasons. They aren’t the ones trying to enforce their own morality and sexual prudity with idiotic abstinence-only sex “education” programs which serve only to deny access to information for teens on safe sex without at all accomplishing its stated goals of reducing teen pregnancy and STD transmission rates.

      You could say, Islamists would if they could, and you’d be right. Most would. But I don’t see them doing this in North America. But I do see Christians doing this. And the so-called moderates just make excuses for them, very few standing up and saying “NO!”

      So stop with this naive idea that Christians do not interfere in our lives because they most certainly do. And you did it yourself just now by claiming that the US is a Christian country. No. It’s a country full of Christians, which is not the same.

      • I guess we’re not reading the same blogs or talking to the same atheists.

      • the word of me

        Shamelessly Atheist,

        Sorry if I’m interrupting here, but you seemed to infer a few things that don’t sound quite right to me. I have corresponded with Debra for awhile and understand her to be a staunch atheist and perhaps you misunderstood what she was trying to say. Not being snarky or arrogant here, just trying to start a dialogue.

        You write:
        “They are not the ones who are discriminating against homosexuals by outlawing gay marriage. They are not the ones stopping research into whole new avenues of therapies for diseases because for religious reasons. They aren’t the ones trying to enforce their own morality and sexual prudity (sic) with idiotic abstinence-only sex “education” programs which serve only to deny access to information for teens on safe sex without at all accomplishing its stated goals of reducing teen pregnancy and STD transmission rates. “
        And:
        “You could say, Islamists would if they could, and you’d be right. Most would. But I don’t see them doing this in North America. But I do see Christians doing this. And the so-called moderates just make excuses for them, very few standing up and saying “NO!”

        I think Debra realizes that North American Muslims are not doing the things that our home bred sociopathic fundagelical Christians are trying to do here in America…Yet. And I suppose she knows that the Muslim society in general does not stop all the things you mention the Christians doing. Being gay or gay marriage in Islam…death penalty, no exceptions. Research into any region of medicine that might contradict Allah…probable death sentence. Probably wouldn’t even get off the ground in the first place. Islam probably has the lowest rate of teen pregnancy of any group on earth. Step out of line sexually and you’re sure to be killed.

        Thing is that Islam is spreading all over the earth and has a much more sinister program of attack and assimilate. They are out breeding the Christians in all countries. When their numbers are high enough and they get into legislatures throughout the world…watch out, the world will wish all we had to deal with was Christian fundagelicals again. The Muslims are the biggest single threat to ALL freedoms that we in the West have been accustomed to…here in America it will come later than the rest of the world, but it is coming unless we do something to stop it.

        Although I just love to attack Christian religiosity and dogma and history, I do recognize that Islam is far more dangerous, and I am shifting the percentage of my rants against them lately. Not to downplay the Christian malevolence, but the Muslims are much more bloodthirsty and evil and arrogant wherever you find them.

        Hope this reply is taken in the spirit it was written in, and I hope to “talk” with you further.
        Peace
        twom

      • The problems evolving in Western Europe are increasing in violence and will likely be a major issue in the near future. But it is still Christianity which is the biggest threat to secularism and religious tolerance. The demographics simply don’t justify complaining about Islam at a local level, though we often do cry foul when something like a coptic church being targeted by extremists. Just because I don’t write much about them shouldn’t imply that I am an apologist for them. I’m not. My wife maybe even less so.

        But the idea that the so-called “new atheists” (I hate that term) don’t speak out against Islam is not true. Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins each have long track records of pointing out the absurdities and human rights violations in Islamic. Pat Condell is all over them as well. Bloggers probably don’t write about them as much unless an incident like when that Palesinian atheist was arrested while in an internet cafe. I haven’t written much about it myself for two reasons: 1) The immediate threat locally (except for isolated incidents of terrorism) is not from Islam; 2) I don’t know as much about Islam as I do about Christianity. Not in the slightest.

        That’s not to say that I do not realize that Islam is every bit as irrational as it’s cousins and (as Ayaan Hirsi Ali says) it hasn’t had its Voltaire yet. And I wouldn’t want to be the guy playing the part of Voltaire in an Islamic country. Christianity grew out of its barbarism (well, largely, anyway). There’s nothing in the Koran that isn’t in the OT, so maybe there’s hope. But I’m not holding my breath, either.

        So, for the record, I will state this here and now as a “new atheist” (yuck): I deplore the misogyny, the intolerance to differing culture or belief and the use of violence over dialog rampant in the religion/culture (hard to separate the two) of Islamic nations.

        It must be a scary thing to be a woman in any one of these countries, I’m sure. Intellectually I can sort of guess at that, but I doubt I’d ever be able to feel it. I also know it’s a scary thing to be an atheist in any one of these countries, too. I’m in communication with a recovering Muslim from the Maldives. These people have guts. He’s described atheists that meet in secret and communicate via message boards. And they know what lies in store for them if they’re caught.

        Up here in the Great White North politics are very different. Mention of religion in an election is considered extremely bad form. I do not hold out hope, however, that this will remain so. We’re too close in proximity to the poisonous political atmosphere we see in the US (most of our cable channels are from Seattle or Detroit) and many conservatives would love to emulate it. Worse, we have a YEC fundamentalist prime minister. Much of the cabinet is of the same denomination as him.

        One knows things are going to hell in a handbasket when Hilary Clinton rebuked Stephen Harper for not including funding for abortion or contraception in an aid package. Good for Hilary. (Our Foreign Affairs minister said “it does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning.” Can you believe that?)

        So this is a VERY immediate threat up here. Much more so than Islam. Not so for western Europe of course. But Christians are affecting my life in a big way. Heck, the mayor of the city I live in is Muslim and I voted for him. We have our share of Islamic nutters, but not anywhere near as many as fundagelical Christian nutters (especially here in Alberta, better known as Arkansas North). Actually, the Sikh extremists are a bigger problem in Canada than the Islamic ones.