Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Need for Militant Antitheism

Here's some interesting nuggets from an email exchange I had recently on an Atheist listserv:

I responded to this email from one Tyler:
Not all religion is malicious. Childish, illogical, and bad on the extreme, but not always evil. Besides, what can we do against the vast majority? We can spread knowledge that Atheism is an option and is a justified position (in the Richard Dawkins way). That's pretty much it. And seriously... "go to religious websites and engage the enemy". Really? I mean, as funny as it would be to tear down their set-in-stone beliefs, wouldn't we just be painting a bad image of atheism? I'd rather keep our number of enemies lower, and try to foster better relations with more people. Here is a potentially superior list-

Elect atheists to Senate and House
Elect atheist president
Have that president appoint an atheist Justice

A lot harder, I know. What we need to do is work toward acheiving all three of those. This means all of us have to actively try to make most religions comfortable (enough) with us. If we can do the first two things on that list, we've already won the war on religion. Spreading divisive (even if true) remarks won't help reach any of these goals.
Here's my response:
Most religions (especially of the Ambrahamic variety) will absolutely never be comfortable with Atheism. Period. Full Stop. The only way Atheism will ever have greater acceptance in America is to have less religious people inhabiting it.

To your "We can spread knowledge that Atheism is an option and is a justified position": Yeah, we've been doing that for a long while. In some countries it catches on (see Scandinavia). It won't here for a variety of reasons.

Hitchens, Dawkins and (especially) Sam Harris are part of the much more militant antitheism movement and embody the only way we can ratchet back the religious insanity in this country. This is by aggressively refuting their magical thinking and refusing to accept religious appeasement (i.e. oh, religion is fine as long as you're outwardly pleasant and not bombing things). Too many of us get distracted by noticeably BIG evils and forget to notice the subtle evils of moderate religious toleration that, in the aggregate, amount to a much greater mound of evil.

1 comment:

Matt said...

You make an important point in mentioning the anti-theism movement of such scientific minds as Richard Dawkins, but I can't help but wonder that more harm is being done that good when it comes to openly trivializing the beliefs of religious types. Generally speaking, we are more likely to listen to the viewpoints of people who don't openly view our perspectives as that of the simple minded. Christians won't take well to be being insulted, the same way we aren't very friendly and open towards those that refer to us as worthless, godless "heathens."