So, started reading The End of Faith by Sam Harris today, and although i agree with him, i think there is a side to this issue that nobody really wants to talk about.

Yes, we all know that fundamentalists, religious extremists, are horrible and dangerous to society, humanity and the world, but what about atheist extremists??

I dont think they should be ruled out just because they are atheist. Here is my example:

 

Religious extremist: blows up a building because God told him to cure the world of herretics

Atheist/secular extremist: blows up a building to cure the world of religious people

 

Both are insane, immoral, and horrible. I felt the need to blog this because today is National Humanist Day. Can't we just all get along? and if we can't, Is there any reason why we can't use kindness to get through to the religious? Yes, we all can loose our cool, but ultimately, anger doesn't solve anything. If we are going to be snapping at religious people, then they won't listen to us. Granted, they can drive us pretty nuts, but still. What if that someone is actually curious and questioning? Who would they most likely walk up to? A crabby, millitant person, or a kind, approachable person. Yes, they like to be confrontational, but why stoop to their level and do the same?!  I don't think we should be quiet about our atheism, but i don't think we should be chasing people away.

You get more flies with honey than you get with crap.

 

The way I have tried to keep my cool and have them somewhat hear my point is by ...feel, felt, found.

I understand how you feel, I once felt the same way too, but/and this is what i found.

It is obviously easier to do this if you have a past of being religious. I think its a good idea for us all to remind ourselves, that we are all humans and that we are not perfect, but if would be a better world if we all treated each other with some kindness.

 

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Tags: bad, extreme

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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 22, 2012 at 9:03pm

Hey man. This shit aint complicated. People come to atheism via rationalism. Theists are puppets controlled from without by the dictatorship of the contrived supernatural (I know-bit of a tautology) rendered incapable of penetrating the morass of infantile fantasy.

So when we contemplate extremism we must concede it is a result of the failure to be critical and circumspect. How is it in the actor's interest or in the interest of civilization to blow up innocents? Those questioning qualities are at the very essence of the atheists' world view whereas the greater the religiosity of the adherent the greater the likelihood that the actor will obey and kill.

For those who say Stalin was an atheist I say so what. Where is cause and effect? It only counts if atheism is the guiding principle in the same way the religion is the guiding principle of the theists' wanton destruction. Equating religious extremists with outspoken anti-theists is a trap none of us ought to be endoblobbernobbered by. I will end in a preposition if I want cuz I am an anti-theist militant.

Then there is the issue of how to make the seers of light fail to see the light. This question is more complex than it appears and depends on the age, degree of indoctrination, gender and personality of the believer. In some cases an agressive and knowledgeable anti-theist is the ticket, in others it is being nice like Steph.

Comment by jay H on June 22, 2012 at 8:31pm
There are few atheist extremists. We have a small number of atheist jerks, but they're probably not dangerous.
Comment by Steph S. on June 22, 2012 at 10:40am

I like Sam Harris too!

Nice to have you on the site.

Comment by ChrisC on June 22, 2012 at 8:11am

I see your point, but I agree with Glen; theistic extremists blow up buildings because of what they believe is divine instruction (well, at least that's how they justify it). I'm not suggesting that every atheist is peace-loving (I would have nothing to back that up with), but I have never heard of an extremist atheist.

Sure, there are aggressive atheists. Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchins are good examples of atheists who have metaphorically torn the ears off theists, but they have needed to be so in order to make an impact. I don't know of any atheist who would go as far as to kill because of their lack of faith. Of course, everyone defends themselves against perceived threats - this is human nature and will never change, but I know of no plots to start an atheist holocaust.

At the same time, I totally agree that it is by kindness and empathy that people can be brought away from their old beliefs. There are atheist foundations which do charitable work, and long may that continue. We are emotionally complicated pack-animals, so world peace is unrealistic. However, we can certainly aim to improve on what we have.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 21, 2012 at 10:10pm

Stephanie, keep reading and thinking and I think you will see you have set up a false equivalency.

Extremism is built into the fabric of religion.  Rationalism is at the core of atheism.

Religious extremists are a dime a dozen. "Atheist extremists" not so prevalent.

Is it treason or extreme to bark at a serial killer or mad rapist? There is greater justification for a hard line stance against faith. It has and continues to be the very worst byproduct of civilization.

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