Thursday, 6 August 2009

Militant atheism


click here to read this article on the new site.

7 comments:

Arthur said...

It is bogus to call Dawkins and co "militant". Militant implies that they are proposing or acting out physically aggressive tactics. This is clearly false.

Also, it is wrong to assert that Dawkins and co have proposed "suppressing" religion. They have proposed no such thing.

The "New Atheists" are merely proposing an intellectual position which has never made mention of violence or suppression. You have stated a falsehood based on no evidence whatsoever.

If you want to examine militancy, violence in the name of beliefs, and suppression of human rights, then you need to look a bit closer to home, don't you think? You'll find plenty of evidence among the religious.

Traveller said...

It's a worrying state of affairs. What is the best/right way to combat such issues?

Anonymous said...

"Faced with the realization that religion will not just lie down and die of its own accord, the new atheists have opted for an alternative that is its eradication by force. The forcible suppression of religion is one of the most troubling aspects of new atheism. The discourse of eradication compares religion to vial acts and malignant infections in order to justify its obliteration from our lives."

I don't see how verbally attacking something counts as force.

"The new atheists uniformly seem to blame all of modern man’s problems on religion. Along with claims that religion corrupts our ethical values and perceptions, they argue that religion is responsible for most of the violence in the world past and present."

Er, no, they aren't idiots. You can have secular ideologies, resource problems, lust for glory and a whole list of other things that also cause violence. The thing is that religion can be marginilized to the point where it is no longer a problem significantly easier than say resource competition.

"through reference to a minority of extremists, "

You make it sound like there are so few of them, unlike how things actually are with enough of them to constitute major blocks in many countries.

You know, like the US where the Supreme Court had to strike down state laws banning sodomy... in 2003(Lawrence v. Texas).

"unwarranted generalisations is often seen in current debates with the BNP."

Aren't they the British Nazi Party? I think their objection is less religious and more "evil foreigners".

"Islam is a ‘wicked and evil religion’ says Nick Griffin, ignoring the plethora of injunctions in the Quran to defend justice. "

I think he doesn't like the part that involve demonizing unbelievers- you know, the very thing you spoke out against a couple of paragraphs ago?

"Dawkins’ attitude to religion and unwillingness to acknowledge any good that religion has been used for,"

You mean like the Nazi's anti-cancer program or the Maoists elimination of Tibet? Why does something need to be completely evil to be rejected?

"Sam Harris makes his contempt very clear with the will to justify any violence, however extreme, to fight this alleged threat posed by religion. "

Sam Harris is a nut- that we can agree upon. Killing people is a rather poor way to try to make the world a better place.

"Modern western societies prize tolerance and have limited patience for those who demand the elimination of any belief, right or wrong, and its followers."

No, we don't prize tolerance- we just don't care about religion as much. We are still willing to crush ones that cross the line- they just have to be beyond the pale or "cults" (religions without power). Like how courts have prosecuted Scientology for fraud but not Christianity.

Brad said...

I never understood why someone like Richard Dawkins is equated to a militant for expressing his views on Religion. People don't call preachers, priests, or anyone expressing their views about Jesus or God in a public forum "Militant Christians".

It seems to me that the word "Militant" is being used more in a derogatory manner than anything else.

I'm passionate about playing guitar and would have a discussion about why the guitar is a better instrument than the bass. Does that make me a "Militant Guitar Player"?

www.thegodforums.com

Saqib said...

My two cents:

I think there is a strain of atheism that is unduly aggressive in it's approach towards religious belief systems. If you believe that "believers" are brainwashed, stupid and irrational then that's your perogative in a free, secular society but equally it's the perogative of said people to hold fast to their ideas regardless. I think what people of religion find disconcerting and somewhat frightening is the possibility that their beliefs might, if certain atheists were to have their way, be proscribed or the propogation/expression of them restricted on the basis that they are "unscientific" or "irrational".

Anonymous said...

"I think there is a strain of atheism that is unduly aggressive in it's approach towards religious belief systems. "

Well that is true- whenever you have an ideology (in this case anti-theism) you will get some people who hold their cause... excessively. Wheter or not that is a problem for modern atheists is debatable, but without any political power it is functionally irrelevant.

" but equally it's the perogative of said people to hold fast to their ideas regardless."

Actually since we live in a democracy and these people also vote it is important to try to change their minds.

"I think what people of religion find disconcerting and somewhat frightening is the possibility that their beliefs might, if certain atheists were to have their way, be proscribed or the propogation/expression of them restricted on the basis that they are "unscientific" or "irrational"."

Hey, the only people who did that were the TokkĊ. Given actual secular totalitarian states attitudes towards religion (discourage/co-opt) I doubt they have anything to worry about (especially since they are probably in a democracy anyway).

Anonymous said...

I was always worried, as a convert to Islam, that my children might fall into Jihadist Islam. Instead my son has fallen for Militant Atheism, and, reading your article, that is almost as frightening