Islamo and Atheisto Phobia

Jan 8, 2016

by Herb Silverman

Muslims and atheists have nothing in common theologically, but they do share some unenviable commonalities. Since 1937, Gallup has been asking people if they would vote for a generally well-qualified presidential candidate nominated by their party if the nominee belonged to various minorities. The good news is that there is now less discrimination against minorities, and in the most recent poll in 2012 all nine categories received more than 50 percent. Muslims were next to last at 58 percent while atheists bottomed out at 54 percent.

All religious freedom is not created equal, as shown in a poll last month. Americans place the highest priority on religious freedom for Christians, with the lowest priority for Muslims and atheists. Only about 60 percent thought protecting religious freedom for Muslims and atheists was important. Part of this problem is that some define religious freedom as the right to break the law and discriminate against those of other faiths and none, as happened with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

No law prevents a person from being a religious bigot, but we are all required to respect the rule of law. Religious freedom means nothing if it doesn’t allow for people to worship differently or not at all. As an atheist I think all worship is wrong, and I have the right to refrain from worshipping any deities.

At the moment, Muslims are more concerned about such bigotry than are atheists because in some parts of the country Muslims have been receiving threats to themselves and to their mosques. It’s more difficult to spot an atheist, and atheists don’t have any houses of worship to damage.


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72 comments on “Islamo and Atheisto Phobia

  • “and atheists don’t have any houses of worship to damage”

    here in Christchurch (New Zealand) there’s a group that meets once a month to “worship”.

    It’s kindof similar to a church gathering except for a few obvious differences like

    they are all atheists
    their “hymns” are typically popular pop songs of the last 50 years (and it’s kind of fun when a bunch of people sing for example a Bob Dylan song)

    Being an atheist does not mean you don’t by definition worship. Gosh, this universe has so much worthy of worship – some mornings the sunrise is just so awesome the only word that seems to apply to how I feel about it is worship – and hey, i worship my kids at times and i sure have had occasion to worship my spouse 🙂

    I kindof like the idea Spinosa and others have come up with – that “God” is just a shorthand handle for the totality of everything in the universe – and my oh my if you can’t worship the awesomeness and bodacity of this universe we live in then you really must live a dismal life

    pop



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  • Peak Oil Poet

    wor·ship
    ˈwərSHəp/Submit
    noun
    1.
    the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.
    “the worship of God”
    synonyms: reverence, veneration, adoration, glorification, glory, exaltation; More
    verb
    1.
    show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites.
    “the Maya built jungle pyramids to worship their gods”
    synonyms: revere, reverence, venerate, pay homage to, honor, adore, praise, pray to, glorify, exalt, extol; More

    The word “worship” has a boatload of nasty baggage attached to it for some of us here. If you want to “worship” then I support your right to do so but please don’t promote this as something that atheists do. We are trying to escape from viewing everything through the lens of religion. Worship is definitely a religious word and it makes me cringe. When I see people in the act of worshipping I think they are brainwashed automatons. I don’t trust them to be rational.

    This is not at all to say that atheists don’t feel the sublime pleasure of a sunrise or a painting or music or poetry that speaks to them. We do feel that. But it has nothing to do with the word “worship”.

    All credit to Spinoza but the totality of everything in the universe does not have anything to do with the idea of God. This is just a tactic by someone who can’t say good by to their religious thoughts and feelings, probably because they’re afraid to do so, and they will damn well keep their God in this big picture somehow, even if that God gets reduced down to the lowest common denominator – nature.

    Kick God to the curb. Stop being afraid of the dark. We are not dismal. Someone told you to believe that and you swallowed it hook, line and sinker.



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  • hmmm, maybe your google search does not work as well as mine but when i look up the etymology of “worship” i don’t see anything about deities.

    go look

    as for you (in effect) trashing Spinoza – gee you did exactly what his Hebrew brethren did – almost exactly the same words – when they did something Jews just never do – excommunicating him for heresy

    “can’t say goodbye to their religions feelings” – i think you make a LOT of assumptions based on a very (Christian) approach to the need to trash other people (in the name of your superiority (your lost God?))

    unlike you i am not by definition a “New Age Christian” – i did not abandon (they say “choose another path”, kindof) Christianity (or any other God book belief) – I was born and raised by people who though they did feel maybe they should send their kids to Sunday school, they did not themselves believe in such things – My mum recently died as atheistic as i ever knew her to be yet if any human attained spiritual worth it was her.

    Atheism does not demand proselytizing – that is a Christian mode of thought – 100% – I don’t spend my life trying to convert religious types to atheism – and i certainly don’t feel a need to – if i happen to meet religious types then maybe we’ll enter into discourse about such things but usually not because my world is full of atheists like me who not only don’t give such things a passing thought but also would not be inclined to waste their time on any such things unless it meant free food or free beer or what-have-you

    i do however find it intriguing that this site seems to be a magnet for an under-current of (quite typically fundamentalist-like) hate for especially Muslims – to the point that it feels often as though half the New Age Christians (who now call themselves atheists) would happily nuke the world’s Muslims. Intriguing and very scary.

    pop



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  • P.O.P.

    go look

    I did. Pasted the results there of my google search. Your turn. Go look and paste your definition for comparison.

    trashing Spinoza

    I didn’t trash him. I said, “all credit” . I admire Spinoza. I especially like the book I read about him written by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein titled *Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity.

    gee you did exactly what his Hebrew brethren did – almost exactly the same words – when they did something Jews just never do – excommunicating him for heresy

    Oh come on now Poet, this is just over the top. You make it sound like I’m stomping around waving a pitchfork.

    a very (Christian) approach

    That is projection. You are the one presenting ideas framed in a Christian perspective. Use of the words “worship” and “hymns” and the view that those of us who don’t worship must have “dismal” lives – You’ve got Christianity written all over that comment up there.

    unlike you i am not by definition a “New Age Christian”

    What the hell does that mean? Who says I’m a “new age Christian”? It sure wasn’t me! Let me clarify this for you – I’m not a Christian. I’m an atheist. That’s it. I hope you’re not assigning that label to all atheists. That won’t go over well at all. As far as labels go, you might consider asking individuals what label (if any) they go by. It will go far in avoiding a hostile rebuke.

    i do however find it intriguing that this site seems to be a magnet for an under-current of (quite typically fundamentalist-like) hate for especially Muslims –

    You may have seen some hatred for Muslims here. There are also those who remind us that all Muslims are not the same in degree of adherence to that book of theirs. It’s not ok to paint them all with a broad brush. The situation is complicated and evolving. We need strong diplomacy now. But do you really think that this site is over the line for this kind of hate? I know there is some expression of frustration and I may have contributed to that sometimes. We also blow off steam about the special privilege that the religious enjoy, but is this so surprising here? Many of us have suffered from the actions of the devoutly religious and have a substantial chip on our shoulders about it. Yes, I am one of those.

    it feels often as though half the New Age Christians (who now call themselves atheists) would happily nuke the world’s Muslims. Intriguing and very scary.

    I don’t believe that half of us would do that.



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  • Peak Oil Poet
    Jan 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    It’s kindof similar to a church gathering except for a few obvious differences like

    they are all atheists
    their “hymns” are typically popular pop songs of the last 50 years (and it’s kind of fun when a bunch of people sing for example a Bob Dylan song)

    I have been to a few Humanist meetings, but discussions are usually on science politics or religions.

    For music I go to fairly regular meetings in pubs where musicians gather for jam sessions. (Nothing to do with atheism or religion, although there are occasional differences between Hendrixists and Claptonists 🙂 )

    We do some Dylan songs, but also rock, pop, blues, country, folk and even a bit of jazz!

    I don’t know if Dan is into that sort of thing with his guitar avatar!

    I take along one of my jumbo accoustic/electric guitars – usually the Epiphone Texan or the Martin twelve-string.



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  • here in Christchurch (New Zealand) there’s a group that meets once a month to “worship”.

    I assume you are referring to Sunday Assembly. They have been discussed here in the past with some very mixed reactions. What makes you think they meet to worship? I have not attended, but their web site says nothing about worship and they describe themselves as:

    a secular community that meet regularly to celebrate life.

    Do you equate the words celebrate and worship?

    they are all atheists

    I doubt that. Wouldn’t be much of a secular community. And in their Q&A I found this:

    “Would we be allowed to be anti-theist?”

    “There are so many exciting things about life. Stars, chocolate cake, love, dreams, tunnels, Greek mythology etc. Sunday Assembly is about finding these things that we can all share. Basically, we prefer to talk about the things that we do believe in, rather than the things we don’t, and by being anti-theist you exclude a lot of potential attendees who don’t identify as atheists. Lots of explicitly atheist events exist. This is the event that your religious grandma should come to and see that atheism isn’t just about not believing in God (and they certainly don’t eat babies!).”

    Being an atheist does not mean you don’t by definition worship.

    As LaurieB pointed out, the main definition of the word “worship” is an adoration for a deity, so actually being an atheist does mean you don’t by definition worship.

    But it can also be used to mean your unconditional love or admiration for someone or something:

    Meaning of “worship” in the English Dictionary

    As you say, you worship your family, but most atheists would probably prefer an alternative word.



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  • so

    unlike me, who was not only not born or raised a Christian or has ever spent any of my long life living amongst Christians, you

    were a Christian and now have “converted” to Atheism (with a BIG A)

    congratulations, having read a lot about how screwed up the USA Christian mess is, i have every respect for your achievement and hope you progress in your “spiritual” goals

    but atheism isn’t an “ism” – it’s a state of being free of the intrusion of dogma or those who live their life immersed in it

    and, it’s not a zero sum game – there’s no 0 not a theist and 100% theist with nothing in between

    it’s a scale to do with how life is lived and where and to what extent you place importance on things

    i used to have a frequently recurring experience that after a while really got to me and made me quite short tempered with proselytizing Christians when, in some airport in a non-Christian land they’d walk up to me stand right in my face and demand to know if i believed in God or some equivalent – me trying to recover from jet lag and pissed about a 5 hour wait or such and these idiots would try and find solace from their turmoil by jumping on me

    🙂

    did i ever experience Jews do that? No. Muslims or Buddhists? No (and I lived in a country amongst 80% Muslims 20% Buddhists for some years) others? No.

    ONLY Christians OR Ex-Christian (and usually US) atheists

    and bullswill it’s complex and evolving

    right now the USA is still, as it has been for some time, wrecking death and destruction on Muslims – with a bunch of support from a Christian populace who seem to have agreed with the “crusade” meme.

    If you were born and raised a Christian – you are still a Christian even if you abandon it – yes ok, you think you don’t believe in God and such but all your inherent behaviour and reactions are steeped in Christian values

    such as the need to convert “heathens” to your “belief” and your automatic “us and them” approach to people you know nothing of (try living in a predominantly Muslim region for a few years or a Buddhist region for a few years to get a real feel for what i mean)

    as for whether or not a majority of people on this site support genocide – spend a few hours with a pad and pencil tabulating the negative stuff that abounds here – it’s clear as mud to me – a real atheist who has only experienced Christianity as a predominantly and mostly quite recent (ie since the 70’s) US sickness

    as for your suffering

    sheesh, sorry love but i’m talking about REAL suffering – the sort your country (and mine) have been and continue to visit on mostly Muslim nations (it used to be Buddhist nations until they kicked our butts)

    people are being killed today – right now – kids in thousands are starving to death right now – right this instance

    and attacking Islam is part of the package that creates the justification for all of this

    George Bush happily called it all a crusade

    let’s nuke them Muslims because they are all savages

    “we” Christians know it

    and “we” Atheists (with a big A) know it too

    get it?

    Dawkins is one of my heroes but on this Muslim thing he needs to get some perspective and understand exactly what the real price is that people are paying when Atheists team up with Christians to wreck carnage and suffering on people

    pop



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  • pop

    congratulations

    Well thanks for that but I can’t accept it since I wouldn’t say that my Christianity or lack of it had much to do with me. I mean, it wasn’t an accomplishment so I don’t deserve congratulations. I was brought up in the Methodist church – not my choice – and as soon as I could get away with it I stopped going. What a relief. Not much of a Christian I’m afraid. I must have believed the bullshit story when I was a kid but in my teens I thought it was a collection of stupid stories about some uncomfortable material. So awkward.

    Also, I’m not spiritual. Not one bit. Another label you put on me that I reject.

    “converted” to Atheism

    Can we be converted to atheism? Mostly the people that were previously religious have been deconverted.

    demand to know if i believed in God or some equivalent

    ONLY Christians OR Ex-Christian (and usually US) atheists

    Huh?! US atheists did that to you?!! That’s just not right. If I meet these US atheists I’ll give them a piece of my mind alright! But I hope you don’t mind my asking…you weren’t wearing one of those “Jesus is my co-pilot” T-shirts at the time, in that airport, were you? Not that it is any excuse for their rudeness mind you.

    how screwed up the USA Christian mess is,

    True that!

    and bullswill it’s complex and evolving

    haha. That’s funny

    If you were born and raised a Christian – you are still a Christian even if you abandon it – yes ok, you think you don’t believe in God and such but all your inherent behaviour and reactions are steeped in Christian values

    Ok, no Poet, no. That’s not funny and I’m not having it. You keep insisting on pasting labels on me that I reject. I’m not a Christian. There’s no God of any type and the indoctrination didn’t stick no matter how hard they tried. Honestly, how do you know what my behavior and values are? You don’t know anything about me.

    (try living in a predominantly Muslim region for a few years

    Awe jeeze pop, I have done that!!

    people are being killed today – right now – kids in thousands are starving to death right now – right this instance

    sigh..Listen to me pop. You are lumping me/us in with these crusade loving US Christian nuts and this is unacceptable. I have nothing to do with them and their sickening agenda. I think you are new here and you would do well to notice the political views that are expressed by the individual commenters here. All atheists are not a solid political block. Don’t generalize like that.



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  • Isn’t Islamophobia a made-up word intended to allow certain islamic interests to play the same kind of card that jewish organisations – especially the government of Israel – play when they denounce all criticism as being anti-semitism. A cynical trick, whoever plays it.

    Being mistrustful of the intent of some islamic preachers, mullahs whatever, especially the fundamentalist extremist kind as found in Saudi and daesh, that is NOT islamophobia, just as it is not anti-semitic to be critical of some Israeli government policy, and it’s not bigoted or anti-christian to object to religious organisations trying to subvert the excellently secular constitution of the USA.

    If it was, we’d all be islamophobic antisemitic antichristion bigots here, would we not?

    Oh, and it’s not Tolerant to let Intolerance get away with shit. It’s just cowardly.



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  • pop

    If you were born and raised a Christian – you are still a Christian
    even if you abandon it – yes ok, you think you don’t believe in God
    and such but all your inherent behaviour and reactions are steeped in
    Christian values

    This is a mind-numbingly childish and stupid insult. Uncalled for. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    This apple fell a fair distance from that tree. My father was a Christian…and a homophobic racist. He could back up his particularly bigoted interpretation of Christianity with scripture. That was one kind of the Christianity I was raised in. To suggest that by virtue of my upbringing that my morals and beliefs are in any way Christian is asinine.

    BTW, I don’t just “think I don’t believe in god”. I outright despise the very (totalitarian) idea of a god.
    Whenever Lucifer has any job openings, I always email him my resumé.

    Cheers



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  • right, i get it – let’s back any president/congress/nation that wants to nuke middle eastern countries

    hey mr nice secular USA (and pals) – isn’t about time you overthrew your government(s) and brought a halt to the disasters you rain on Muslims peoples on the other side of the world?

    maybe if you stopped doing that you’d put and end to the blowback that then allows your amazingly ignorant “secular” population (of mostly “Christian”) to feel secure enough to let your own Muslims get the hang of living in a nice safe secular country where people don’t shoot black kids and don’t freak out when a kid brings a clock to school

    Hitler made a big thing about Jews – pretty soon everyone hated Jews and next thing Jews everywhere were being murdered – religious or not

    you can have a nice peaceful conversation with any Muslim you can find about the validity or not of their way of life (and sure some will be intolerant – as much as any fundamentalist anywhere)

    but holding forth about Muslims from the safe distance of your pew at home and in such a way as to lend weight to a growing world wide crusade to obliterate Muslims is not something i want to be part of and will continue to speak out against no matter how extreme some of the people claiming to be following the path of Islam.

    I say it again – the US achieved almost nationwide obliteration of its native peoples by the same tactics that are being used now – by grass-roots types like you adding to the call to wipe out the “savages” – based on the mostly ineffectual blowback by a minority of people fighting to retain some of their land and life

    if you could go back and time and stand with native Americans against the heinous genocide visited on them – would you?

    If you could go back and stand against blacks being enslaved – right in Africa where it was carried out – would you?

    today, now – people can start to do something about what is happening to people in the name of US “freedom” – a Christian crusade of murder and theft – led by people whose followers fear at least if not totally hate people they know nothing about except how they have been misrepresented or how they have, at the end of all expectation of justice, in relatively small numbers turned against oppression in the only ways they know how

    right now in Palestine people who have given up all hope of any sort of a future are individually going out to stab Israelis in the street – or running a car at them

    most people see it as those nasty murderous (Muslim) Palestinians who should all be exterminated instead of what it is

    those hopeless, completely hopeless people have no future – none – and yet their pitiful dying actions are justification in the minds of many to further subjugate the entire Palestinian people

    and that is exactly the future you are steering your world towards

    Islamaphobia?

    Try Islamacide

    pop



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  • POP – You talkin to me? You talkin to ME?

    I did mention, it’s not antisemitic to disagree with the policies of the government of Israel, even if they are following an agenda set by religious fundamentalist extremists within their own population.

    Likewise it’s not islamo-phobia (a made up word) to oppose the extremes preached by Wahabi Islam in particular, as applied by Saudi and daesh. Off with their heads.

    The victims of 9/11 were, first and foremost, Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis, if numbers mean anything. As Noam Chomsky said (I paraphrase), 9/11 was an absolute godsend to elite authoritarian / totalitarian / imperial regimes worldwide. He didn’t care whodunnit, has no interest in such speculation, but he was clear who would benefit, and that the consequences would be very obviously predictable – more oppression, excuses for war abroad and for repressive laws at home in the name of “the war on terror”. With the equally predictable result that there are Palestinians (and others) with nothing left to lose who feel anger at the continuing injustices inflicted upon them, and act on that anger by adding feebly to the violence, lashing out, inflicting random pain for absolutely no gain.

    The rise of the death cult of daesh can certainly be blamed on the neocon cabal fronted by Bush and his English Poodle Blair, and their victims are to date predominantly muslims, including sunni who just want to live a decent life. The middle east mess and the random murderous attacks in the west are indeed “blowback” from disastrous western policies. That’s not a justification, though, and – while we all need this death-cult to be eliminated, it probably has to be done by muslims, with only a little discrete help from infidels.

    You delve into history, including the genocidal treatment of native americans, and the trade in slaves from africa that built the initial wealth of the new world colonies. I note with interest that the current president of the USA has both slaves and slave-owners in his family tree. That fact alone gives me some hope, whatever his actions while in office.

    What’s your suggestion again?

    Oh, as for

    grass-roots types like you

    That’s just stupid. And rude. And offensive.



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  • I feel bereft!

    Why aren’t Secularists included?

    Secularism concerns ways of organizing our societies, it’s not a belief in anything that could be even vaguely descibed as abstract.

    I’m hurt; doesn’t anyone hate us?

    With regard to meetings, I’ve heard some very good speakers: Peter Atkins, Nick Cohen, Alice Roberts, Polly Toynbee, Maryam Namazie, Jim Al-Khalili, Peter Tatchell and Dawkins among them; but generally, I find them boring; if Amadeus, Duke, Dizzy, Django, Dimitri, Ludwig, Jimmi, Stephane, Stevie, Sergei and Thelonious were played during them, I might start going again.



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  • Well, its a better world for me without the accepted misogyny, racism, and homophobia. For me, at any rate, its a better world. For those of my father’s religious sentiments, the world is going to hell in a hand basket; probably because the public school system no longer forces the lord’s prayer on students in elementary school.



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  • my beef with Dawkins et al

    first let me get this straight – Dawkins has been one of my absolute heroes for some time – i bought i think all of his books – some of them multiple copies to give as gifts to people – most especially the Selfish Gene and The Ancestor’s Tale – i probably bought and gave away between 5 and 10 copies of that. Nobody has shown be the awesomeness of evolution as well as he has. he’s not alone – I’m your typically well-read scientist so pretty much any good book written by a scientist I’ve read – just like many here I assume.

    I’ve struggled with how to express what it is about Prof Dawkins that really gets to me – and i mean negatively. I have a copy somewhere of he “God Delusion” – i read it and thought it was pretty amateurish – it did nothing for me as i frequently felt as i read it that on the subject of God delusions he had a way to go to catch up with where i was at the time. Still, i thought it was one of a number of useful books to have at hand for those occasions when you wanted to beat some religions idiot around the head with something weighty enough to deliver a message but not so much that it would cause irreparable brain damage and land me in prison.

    Since then he’s set himself some sort of life goal of destroying religion – that’s cool, not a bad thing to go down in history for having done, or at least having to contributed to. That such a notion might be a tad simplistic (akin to someone thinking they could easily dream up a way to predict the weather a month out or that they might predict the state of the worlds stock markets a year hence) is an issue but I’m not one to criticize anyone contributing to a positive end result no matter how silly it might end up being in hind-sight (a few generations from now)

    no

    what irks me i’ve struggled to be able to convey – to encapsulate, to find the quintessence of so that i might communicate it to others

    i think most of the problem lies with that what i perceive is probably just the consequence of my fear painting ugly potentials that probably will never turn out to be how the history of the world unfolds

    it’s just my imagination, i’m just looking at the dark side

    so, how might i convey it?

    maybe in the future i’ll have a better way, a fluid, clear, perfectly worded and thought out way to convey to others the core issue of my fears

    maybe

    for now the best i’ve come up with is this

    imagine, Prof Dawkins, sitting on a stage as he so frequently has done, sitting across from a Jewish Theologian (though i think such a person would be some sort of senior Yeshiva Rabbi) – he is putting the case to the Jew that the whole God thing is bollocks (as it is, as we all know) and he darts eloquently in and out of various biblical excerpts to do with the nastiest side of the Good Book – like stoning people for this and that – you know the drift

    the Jew is doing the best he can to defend his religion – deflecting away from those negatives to some broader picture of Judaism and to such things as the might contributions of Jewish peoples of the past – and of course, as Prof D is right to do, he puts those down and returns to the issues – the non-existent God that gave the land of Israel to the Hebrews and such – all those things we know to be crap in the Bible

    periodically as this is going on you hear sounds from the audience you can not see

    ooohs and aahs as Dawkins makes a point

    some clapping as one of his points really drives the Jew to discomfort

    slowly you become aware, as if a camera is panning back

    of the audience

    now you start to see who they are

    you realize that the hundreds of people in the audience are dressed in Nazi uniforms

    they have invented a time machine and brought Dawkins back to be part of their justification for the genocide of Jews

    pop



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  • What about Atheistophobia (my made up word)? How can people justify denigrating or discriminating against atheists?

    -atheism hasn’t got the stuff to keep us going-

    …would be one way…

    It’s crazy, but people worry that losing our religion will open us up to Islam or worse.



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  • Yes, I have watched a number of these types of debates and have often wondered about the audience demographic. I would have thought that far more damage was done in discussions involving Christopher Hitchins. There is one where he almost reduced a Rabbi to tears he was so condemning of male circumsision.
    Personally I quite like the approach taken by Sam Harris. He tries to avoid being, an ‘atheist’, ‘secularist’ or any other kind of ‘ist’. He just sets out a very logical and precise argument, usually drawing on some good humour along the way. Very often his discussion is aimed at solving an issue and not just merely demolishing somebody’s cherished belief system.
    Yet he has been villified as a Nazi and Islamapobe on many occasions, often by out of context quotations and misrepresentations of his argument.
    So what should we do? At some point almost everyone of us becomes the victim of someone else’s false belief one way or another. Imagine you were accused of a serious crime of which you were innocent. How would you approach defending yourself to start with? Maybe you just have to speak the truth and look for the evidence that shows properly what did or didn’t happen. Perhaps insulting or belittling your accuser, especially if he really thinks he’s right, is the wrong approach. Especially if he has popular support.
    This is where the debate forum goes wrong because there are very few who will admit they may have got it wrong, right in the middle of a public event. But I am sure many, of the more honest ones, have had a rethink later on, after the debate.
    I have had discussions with both Muslims and Christians. I have found the Muslims to be far less dogmatic and far more able to discuss the arguments properly and logically. However I have put this down to the cultural backgrounds of the two, i.e. in western countries the more intelligent thinking types have been free to publicly criticise and then move away from religion. Whereas in most Islamic countries the public discussion still hasn’t been able to start.
    I think having that discussion is the only way to avoid conflict and it seems obvious, those trying to avoid it are the real enemies of humanity.



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  • But since the enlightenment it is much Jewish Enlightenment thinking that has fueled secular values and atheism (see the Haskalah). There are an awful lot of Jews in that audience of yours, because theirs is a culture built around a genuine love of study and debate. As Dawkins has said again and again the ideology of religion should be as open to criticism exactly like those of politics. The ideology is (should be) a choosable thing. Your culture is not.

    Uniformly, “the four horsemen have disliked” the neologism of Islamophobia because of its incoherence. (A spontaneous fear a person for her culture is always phobic but a spontaneous fear of an ideology may quite often be rational). Its first coining (pre the Runnymede Trust) in the late 1980s either “by Dr Zaki Badawi, at that time principal of the Muslim College in London, or else by Fuad Nahdi, founding director of the magazine Q News”, is revealed in this excellent account and analysis-

    http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamophobia-or-anti-muslim-racism-or-what/0019239

    This distaste for the term Islamophobia is exactly because it is used to signal a phobic hatred of a people, which is exactly not the case Dawkins et al. support. Further it neglects the inclusion of the possibility of rational criticism of ideologies. Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) now gets this. (I’ll put a link in a dependent post.)

    Slowly the super importance of this distinction between cultures and an ideology is being recognised, not least because Muslims (say) are becoming the most interested in discussing the ideology and developing it into something that can more happily sit with their cultural identity and their 21st century moral values.

    The need is to speak with far greater care and precision or you summon Godwin unfairly.



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  • Tim Smith
    Jan 10, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Yes, I have watched a number of these types of debates and have often wondered about the audience demographic. I would have thought that far more damage was done in discussions involving Christopher Hitchins. There is one where he almost reduced a Rabbi to tears he was so condemning of male circumsision.

    It is important to recognise the structure of the audience, and who is open to persuasion by evidence and reasoning.

    Hitch-Slapping dogmatic bigoted cult leaders who will not honestly debate, is fair game which destroys their credibility for the benefit of a wider audience. This recognises those whose intransigence means rational debate is a waste of time. They were never going to be friends of reason or honest debaters anyway.

    So what should we do? At some point almost everyone of us becomes the victim of someone else’s false belief one way or another. Imagine you were accused of a serious crime of which you were innocent. How would you approach defending yourself to start with?

    I was once in that situation where some “colleagues” in cahoots with a failed training service and bureaucrats, accused me of misusing equipment causing them to be unable to make it work.
    This was utter stupidity, seeking a scapegoat for their own inadequacies.
    They refused to meet me to discuss the matter, so matters escalated while their problems persisted.

    When I was accused by senior people, I totally destroyed the credibility of my accusers, pointing out that I was recognised as having expertise in the field, and that the allegations of my supposed “misconduct” arose from THEIR lack of training, failure to read the relevant guidance notes, regulations and manuals, along with the failure to listen to the advice I had given them earlier on how to fix the simple problems that they were unable to handle.
    I also pointed out that I had already fixed a similar problem for another member of staff on a different system, because the people in charge of helping them were too in competent to do so.

    Matters continued to drag on until the area head of training was sacked for the very poor performance of his department, with the specific failures illustrated in my responses to his silly incompetent allegations, which administrators had put to me in writing.

    Their disreputable plan was essentially, that various people would be paid for jobs they would not learn how to do, while the training service was paid for failing to train them. They would then, with airs of superiority, blame any problems on the staff they were supposed to be helping!
    However, they had the misfortune to try this on me, when I had been trained to a higher level than any of them by another employer!

    The point once again, is to recognise your audience. Some are open to reason, some are just the bigoted ignorant who will cause damage, doggedly defending their stupidity, and making ad-hominem attacks on other people!



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  • I have semi mild claustrophobia my friend doesn’t. Better to define who has and who hasn’t rather than throw out the word.

    A young indian comedian, last night, said he was to appear in Australia and was asked to fill in a questionair to find out what sort of a comedian he was and whether he should be picked to appear because of the numbers that had applied. A few ‘normal’ questions were asked but then he came to a question that asked (It was added in pen to the printed questionnaire) What allows christians to draw images of their prophets where muslims can’t? His answer, “I don’t know. I am a hindu”…………



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  • Islamophobia is impossible in practise. To qualify as a phobia, the fear must be irrational There is nothing irrational in fearing the Islamic faith or its various movements. or its intentions for the future of humanity. Hatred of the idea of a Caliphate is a moral obligation to any rational person.
    The regressive left likes to call it an irrational fear or hatred of muslims as people rather than an irrational fear or hatred of the religion itself but then the proper made-up word should be “muslimophobia”.



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  • Silly Nazis. If they had invented a time machine, why not just go back in time and stop that silly crucifixion? That way, they wouldn’t have to blame the jews for killing their messiah. Cancel the Easter pogrom.

    I don’t know how a person can get even a whiff of a justification for the final solution from watching or listening to RD. Its got to be one hell of a stretch. The mechanism for linking scientific explanations of evolution with Nazi dogma is a fetish for pseudo sciences like alchemy and phrenology and has no business being wedged in with the real sciences of genetics and embryology.

    There is no gene for race.



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  • Yes, I have watched a number of these types of debates and have often
    wondered about the audience demographic. I would have thought that far
    more damage was done in discussions involving Christopher Hitchins.
    There is one where he almost reduced a Rabbi to tears he was so
    condemning of male circumcision.

    Not sure what you mean by “damage.”

    I watched that debate, and I don’t think an atheist should have to apologize in any way for mopping the floor with a rabbi. The chap made the mistake of insisting that a child he had circumcised suffered more pain during an introductory haircut than during the removal of his foreskin.

    Depending on the topic, some debates may seem like contact sports. But debate and dialogue are desperately needed because of the imposed silence that both religious and politically correct forces have managed to shame the secular movement into following. We have a lot of lost time to make up for.



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  • Alternatively, make much more use of the word. Each time you criticize Islam, add the words:

    “Criticism [discussion] of Islam (ie. Islamophobia) follows”

    After all, this is the usage which is causing the problem. And it works (in shutting down the debate) best on people who are understandably embarrassed (ashamed) to be described as an anti-Muslim bigot.

    And perhaps use the label against those (Muslim or not) who have effectively called you a bigot, ie. label them Islamophobic whenever they discuss Islam positively or negatively.



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  • No.

    Using the term “anti-Muslim bigot” makes for a much cleaner attack and defence given evidence. Like a growing number of others Hemant appreciates what a hostage to fortune the incoherent I-word is. I is crucial we try harder to distinguish ideology from culture, a people, a person.

    I am hacked off (like many others) having my right to discuss the nature of an ideology muddled with being an anti-Muslim bigot. Accuse me of the latter if you have the evidence. Likewise I am hacked off with anti-Muslim bigots happily hiding behind a pretense of debating ideology. So many attacks on real bigots founder on this.

    We can do better.



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  • This is a response to the comment quoted below (or you can read the whole thing way up above.)
    The Nazis used all kinds of pseudo science to make their case. They used a badly bastardized version of genetics to add a “scientific” argument to the “moral” argument in favour of the final solution.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/genocide/racial_state_01.shtml

    …ooohs and aahs as Dawkins makes a point

    some clapping as one of his points really drives the Jew to discomfort

    slowly you become aware, as if a camera is panning back

    of the audience

    now you start to see who they are

    you realize that the hundreds of people in the audience are dressed in
    Nazi uniforms

    they have invented a time machine and brought Dawkins back to be part
    of their justification for the genocide of the jews

    Perhaps you could explain to me how R. Dawkins somehow gives off an impression, a feeling, a vibe or whatever that would cause a rational mind to equate what he is teaching to Nazi propaganda. As a professor of Evolutionary biology (a real science) I am pretty certain he would have been more inclined to dismiss and debunk the supposed biological assertions used to justify Nazi doctrine with regards to Jews and Aryans et al.



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  • BigPencil
    Jan 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I have seen examples where “anti-semitism” is used by those with no credible arguments, in a similar manner to “Islamophobia”! – frequently by people who deliberately conflate secular Jews, Orthodox Jews, Zionist Jews and Israeli politics!



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  • Hemant appreciates what a hostage to fortune the incoherent I-word is.

    This is the first result when you google the definition of Islamophobia:

    Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

    So, if you dislike Islam you are Islamophobic.



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  • Sadly this happens quite frequently.
    Its a go-to reaction to escape an honest debate when a real point can’t be made. When you don’t require truth or logic to make an argument then why not just use falsely based invective.
    An absurd but glaring example that comes to mind was Henry Kissinger accusing Hitch of being a holocaust denier.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVRYS7qZoKM

    Hitch dared Kissinger to take him to court. But no court would have been friendly enough for Kissinger, who had no credible argument, and no defence for the actual crimes Hitch accused him of.

    “Racist” is also overused, and over accused. When Ben Affleck insinuated that Sam Harris had racist views, I felt that Harris, the unflappable, was far too polite. All respect to Harris, but Affleck needed a Hitchslap.



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  • For the sake of argument…

    I simply hate Jews. It is within their characters to degrade every society they have infiltrated. My friend, however, simply but passionately criticises the creation of a Jewish state, on others’ land, on the strength of a biblical endorsement and the lack of due political and moral process that accompanied it.

    We are both anti-semites it seems.

    To complain about the needless coining of anti-zionism because anti-semitism exists and is used, is well….nonsense.



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  • And, finally…honestly. It’ll never get better if I keep picking at it…

    So, if you dislike Islam you are Islamophobic.

    Without further evidence, I would say you are anti-Islamic.

    If you dislike Muslims, (irrational with or without further evidence),

    I would say you are an anti-Muslim bigot, or a Muslimophobe.

    If you dislike Islam because it isn’t, say, Christianity, (irrational etc. etc.)

    I would call you Islamophobic.



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  • sure, but as i said, trying to convey my fears is not something i’ve been yet able to do with full clarity (reading some of the comments afterwards is taking time, some quite deep thoughts there to ponder)

    in my little thought experiment, the Dawkins is not aware of the Nazis in the audience (the lights are so bright….) he’s just focused on the religious expert on the stage and proving what that person believes is bunk

    it’s that his ability to expose the worst of a religion can be used by people to their own ends and not his

    i’m sure if he was aware of the audience he’d storm out in contempt (but then he’d be locked up as a Jew-lover and given short shift)

    it’s a very complex issue – because condemning fundamentalist religion and its adherents is easy – i have to admit to having enjoyed making religious people squirm/get angry/etc during my life – but on a one to one basis it seems to be ok

    if i thought that the things i have said to fundamentalists in the past were being used in any way to justify murdering people today i’d have to have a good long look at myself

    we have to be able to say “the X in your foundation document is bunk” – how can we progress otherwise?

    but we have to some how ensure that in saying it we aren’t forming part of a movement that culminates in vast numbers of people being wiped out or having their lives destroyed

    let me remind us all that we have been quite complicit to date in some pretty heinous crimes in the middle east and Africa – the more i read declassified material or leaked material the more i come to realise that much of what we are doing is in some way being justified by those of us who criticize Islam

    and the more blowback we create through our destruction of people and infrastructure the harder it will be to separate the issues – we will all end up thinking Islam needs to be wiped out

    anyway, i’ve work to do and better skedaddle

    pop



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  • pop

    …we have been quite complicit to date in some pretty heinous crimes in
    the middle east and Africa
    the more i read declassified material or leaked material the more i
    come to realise that much of what we are doing is in some way being
    justified by those of us who criticize Islam

    and the more blowback we create through our destruction of people and
    infrastructure the harder it will be to separate the issues – we will
    all end up thinking Islam needs to be wiped out

    Well, I for one wouldn’t mind if Islam were wiped out. That said, I find that now I must check my watch to see how long it takes for some spineless regressive to interpret that as meaning I want all muslims wiped out.
    No. Not at all. But I wouldn’t mind it if they were all freed and educated.
    Judging by the way Islam behaves towards the infidel, It certainly seems to want me “wiped out”.

    I wouldn’t mind if all religions were wiped out. Some ignoramus would call that attitude misanthropic. I would call it being principled. Until I am able to understand how child sacrifice is a good thing, I will stand on principle.



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  • 🙂 so then explain how we wipe out one and not the other?

    if your principle led to the death of millions of people would you still feel that your were justified in your belief?

    to again invoke Godwin, don’t you think that many who contributed to the Holocaust (if only indirectly) were adamant their issue was with Judaism and not Jews?

    I would like a world free of all dogma – religious or otherwise – but am i prepared to wipe out a proportion of its people to achieve it?

    Communism went hand in hand with suppression of religion – is that our way forward?

    My belief is that peace leads to secularisation – there will always be groups of nutters expounding some fundamentalist belief (in all religions) you can’t do much about that other than make religion illegal (which sends it underground) but i’d be happy to live with that if it was to have a mostly peaceful world.

    wouldn’t you?

    pop, running out the door….



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  • Olgun Jan 10, 2016 at 10:20 am So Donald Trumps reaction is justified?

    If you’re suggesting that anything I have stated is in any way in line with the shit that Trump slings at people then you need to re-read what I’ve said.

    How do you glean anything Donald Trump has said to be a distinction between Islam and muslims? Trump doesn’t differentiate between Islam and muslims because he doesn’t need to differentiate between Islam and muslims…his base is so full of hatred that they wouldn’t hear him if he did.
    To put it simply; I hate Islam, its totalitarian, like most religions are. The Koran was a long, boring read, and its a dangerous book, but I have no compulsion to burn it…or any other book. I don’t hate all muslims, they aren’t all violent, dangerous or hate-filled. I hate Christianity, yet my entire family is Christian, as are many of my closest friends, and I don’t hate any of them.
    Inasmuch as we can believe anything coming out of the Donald’s ugly cake-hole, Trump conflates and hates Islam and muslims, and blacks, and homosexuals, and women, and Mexicans, and the disabled, and pretty much anyone else who isn’t Donald Trump. Trump, I think its safe to say, wouldn’t have a problem burning books…especially the ones without pictures…and too many words.

    Islamic law demands that infidels be put to death…

    I am an infidel. If I am afraid of the idea that Islam (Sharia) may one day become the law of the land, or that many of those in the Islamic faith may be attempting to make this happen through acts of violence, how can anyone call this an irrational fear?



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  • I wouldn’t mind if all religions were wiped out. Some ignoramus would call that attitude misanthropic. I would call it being principled.

    I would call it ideological and misanthropically unimaginitive.

    Principled would be to wish for a moral performance of the religious, at least, on a par with any non religious grouping.

    Religious thinking may also be an aesthetic to which adults are drawn. For me it is an aesthetic that makes me heave, but hey, I have no dress sense.

    Definition used-

    A religion to be such must be mode of thinking and living that is based upon at least one super-empirical hypothesis.



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  • Not minding if a death cult is wiped out of existence is misanthropically unimaginative? Well, its unimaginative, but feeling contempt for a religion that wants to see me and others of no religious faith beheaded is misanthropic how?



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  • Yes, a belief that religion is not needed in the year 2016 is extremely ideological. Indifference to religion is also idealogical. Hell, an appreciation of the fact of evolution, something that hurts the feelings of the devout to no end, is as ideological as it gets.
    I can also accomplish a helluva lot more good with my (un)principled deeds than you ever will with your wishing.

    Keep wishing anyhow…someday those wishes may turn into a religion of some kind.



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  • so then explain how we wipe out one and not the other?

    Education…education….education…
    Its already being wiped out by scientific and social progress. Its just taking a long (dangerously) fucking time because the religious are fighting back and they are extremely well funded (bear in mind the Vatican is only one of many players here.) This is why fundamentalist crackpots are always attacking science, it hurts their pay check.

    Scientific research and education hasn’t got the budget. The fact that we have come as far as we have is amazing, considering what we are up against.

    Communism went hand in hand with suppression of religion – is that our
    way forward?

    Communism, like fascism, seeks to have the state sit-in for God. Far from suppressing the religious instinct, it exploits it to its highest degree. Hitch once described North Korea as the most religious place on earth.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja3dsuZtv3w



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  • You have entirely missed my pragmatic point.

    By aiming at a bigger target (Religion) you can do less immediate good whilst appearing to be less principled.

    By targetting the most immoral first (say indoctrinating kids or whatever) you can deliver more effective change and appear more principled.



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  • an appreciation of the fact of evolution, something that hurts the feelings of the devout to no end, is as ideological as it gets.

    Utterly, utterly wrong.

    It is as evidence ‘n’ reason based as you can get.

    Hitchens abandonned all his ideological baggage. Quite rightly. He recognised the totalitarian risks of of his uber-socialist/communist dogma and called others on it when needed.

    The entire problem of religion is its ideological nature and dogmatic baggage supported by brain fritzing faith.

    Pragma, evidence and reason are your friend, not dogma and ideology.



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  • “Communism, like fascism, seeks to have the state sit-in for God. Far from suppressing the religious instinct, it exploits it to its highest degree.”

    The conclusion I reached a long time ago, albeit with a little help from Bertrand Russell.

    “Hitch once described North Korea as the most religious place on earth.”

    Witness, the mass histeria in that country when the ‘Dear Leader’ died; even though he still lives! Remind you of anything?

    Further, coincidental with my jotting down this post, someone on the radio was talking about his father, who was a member of the British Communist Party, which had its own dentists, who, according to the party line and world view, didn’t believe in the use of anaesthetics!?



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  • The fact that atheists ‘bottomed out’ must unfortunately imply that they are perceived to somehow have a moral inadequacy that can ‘only’ be remedied by having a religious belief! Can an atheist president actually be ‘trusted’ to run the country and ensure its safety!?

    The notion that abstaining to worship a supernatural deity somehow diminishes a person and renders them suspect in a religion obsessed society is something that needs to be strongly refuted by humanist organisations.



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  • Last evening on BBC Channel 4, there was a programme about the creation of the Russian state, essentially, by Peter The Great, which told of the degree of slaughter, starvation, and slavery it cost, and how, among all the other horrors, the Tzar ordered his own son tortured; treatment which finally resulted in his offspring’s death.

    Tzar, derives from the Latin, Caesar, or Emperor; Emperors were of course considered to be Earth bound Gods. And ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin was no exception.

    “Why, man, he doth bestride the
    narrow world
    Like a Colossus, and we petty men
    Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
    To find ourselves dishonourable graves.”

    In “The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”, the historian William Shirer says that given German history someone lke Hitler was almost inevitable.

    All that’s cheered me up no end!



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  • for obvious reasons, the distinction between the individual Muslim and
    Islam must always be emphasized.

    Yes, the reasons are obvious…very obvious, and if you’ve read my prior comments you would know that you’re preaching to the choir.

    I always make the distinction between the faith and the person. this is something Trump doesn’t do because his base wouldn’t care to hear it.



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  • “an appreciation of the fact of evolution, something that hurts the feelings of the devout to no end, is as ideological as it gets.”
    Utterly, utterly wrong.

    You utterly missed my sarcasm. I’ll refrain from sarcasm from now on cuz it doesn’t translate well in writing.



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  • I said:

    I wouldn’t mind if all religions were wiped out. Some ignoramus would
    call that attitude misanthropic. I would call it being principled.

    You replied:

    I would call it ideological and misanthropically unimaginative.

    And I grant that it isn’t imaginative. But please explain how its misanthropic. All religions seek to supplant humanity’s potential with some mindless end-times or paradise scenario. I don‘t mind if they are squeezed out of existence…not one bit. Ultimately I hope we replace them all with scientific enquiry. How is this misanthropic? I gave up a lot of my life to religious bullying. I will now stand on principle and refuse to indulge the bullies.



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  • All religions seek to supplant humanity’s potential with some mindless end-times or paradise scenario.

    No. Some are innocuous and have a view of life that has a supernatural aesthetic or other such feature. Not all concern themselves with an afterlife, or proselytising, or wishing to indoctrinate kids.

    I am an anti-theist (like Hitchens). A universe with a theist god would be hideous, an aesthetic stifling disaster for me. But

    There are perplexing people with perplexing tastes and there always will be. Creative types who have a tendency to woo, anxious types who are missing a father or mother figure, the neurally diverse, Republicans clinging to the past for dear life. I could just wish them out of existence or I could just accept that part of our strength as a society is this diversity. What we do need to do is mitigate any specific moral harms of these diverse folk.

    “Misanthropically unimaginative” is not knowing or caring for folk who have different aesthetic needs (say) to yours (and mine).

    My question though was what you intended by the specific sarcasm…



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  • I could just wish them out of existence or I could just accept that part of our strength as a society is this diversity.

    It’s the religions that are being wished out of existence, not the religious. BigPencil has already said he hopes we replace them all (via education education education) with scientific enquiry. It’s a BIG hope, and you may say he’s a dreamer, but nice to imagine no religion 🙂

    And there would still be plenty to wonder about beyond that moving boundary of scientific knowledge. I don’t think deism would be a problem, I don’t even think of that as a religion although I guess it is.



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  • We wish to pull the same levers. I’m doing it in the name of better moral performance. The rest of you can do it in the name of intellectual conformity if you like but, that is not using the religious claims directly against them but rather simply preparing them for a fight. This is not politically astute.

    Very many creative minds are hopelessly impractical. You miss a trick if you wish away such neuro-diversity.

    Like Simon Baron Cohen asking if we should eliminate schizophrenia from the human race forever more. The answer is no because its a cognitive spectrum and you may lose that left field inventiveness of both Einstein and Van Gogh as well as the religite.

    It is far too trite to think we understand the disease of religion and simply and safely wish it gone, when we can, with real evidence and justification point to its moral poison and work for its detoxification by degrees. This again is Hitch’s position.



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  • sorry to burst your bubble but i think the “distinction between the faith and the person” thing is not only a false dichotomy but worse – it is a foundation for genocide

    yes, i know there does not seem to be an alternative (other than throwing up our hands and turning our back on the whole thing or worse, biting the bullet and accepting the collateral damage such a position might demand)

    it’s a nice safe moral high-ground position to hold – that we can attack a religion but not the religious – as if religion was an inflamed appendix and all we need do is cut it out leaving the patient to life a long and fruitful life

    and yes, i agree we MUST expose the crap and lies and corruption and fundamentalism in many of the religious

    and yes, i agree we must continuously deal with the silliness in people’s heads (and i don’t just think of religion there – consider for example all the well documented biases we humans are prone to – al la Kahneman et al)

    i’m not suggesting it’s an easy thing

    but unless we are happy to let people be murdered and robbed and their lives destroyed we have to somehow ensure that our attacks on religion are not a slippery slope that leads to that.

    don’t ask me how – i don’t know – that’s what’s great about the internet – we can work en masse towards some solution

    i know an elderly man (meaning he’s actually older than me if you can believe it), with not such i high IQ (maybe it’s like 85 or maybe 90), with very little worldly experience or education (he’s blind, been confined to an isolated home for many years that last decade or so of which were with a dying and incapacitated wife

    all he has is his religion – his weekly visit to his church with its dwindling congregation of people as they die off and very few young people join it (because in our very secular country, church-going has collapsed thoroughly over the last 50 years or so)

    when he (and i) was younger, i’d get enjoyment from riling him up about his beliefs and, because i was so much better read than he is/was even on Christianity and its foundation material, it was easy to leave him feeling unhappy and demoralized

    fortunately his “faith” is stronger than my resolve to destroy it

    it keeps him, worthless as it might seem to me

    there is no separating him from his religion – anything we do to try and remove that religion from the world (eg banning their congregations, selling off their church lands etc (and that does happen here)) can not be separated from impact on him

    the only thing we can really do is just wait for him and those others he meets with to die off

    in a way that’s a microcosmic view of the larger picture – a glimpse of the complex tapestry that is any religion in this world profuse with information sufficient to allow any open and inquiring mind to decide for itself that religion is not necessary to life

    what do we do about the nutters? Like “ISIS”?

    First – let’s stop creating them – let’s stop our leaders from creating not just the blowback that creates them but all the rest – all the investment in terrorist training we channel to whatever group of fighters we deem to be the flavour of the day, all the arms to asshole states like Saudi and Israel, all the money to support scumbags instead of channeling it to education and health in our own countries

    then – let’s stop making it an us and them thing – let’s stop telling them over and over again that their religion is crap and thereby fueling their hatred

    give them enough time and they will secularise

    keep prodding them with the stick of aggression and veiled hatred and they will hunker down and defy us for centuries

    centuries!

    so, you can accept that – or you can decide, fuck it, let’s just wipe them all out like WE tried to wipe out the Jews and WE almost wiped out the native Americans and WE probably wiped out the neanderthals – it seems to me to be the only other choice – and we must accept that it is if we are to be honest to ourselves

    so, it will take many decades – and maybe centuries

    lets work out how best to deal with that reality and not hide behind “it’s the religion not the religious”

    pop



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  • So stop painting us as us and them. We’re not an us and nor are they a them. I am not responsible for loony American foreign policy. I marched against the Iraq War. But I commend all we are doing in support of the Kurds and all that we nearly achieved endorsing and continuing the efforts of the assassinated Mujjahideen fighter in North Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Massoud.

    We need to be politically savvy and help others when justified.

    We all need Bernie Sanders, though.



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  • @phil rimmer

    “It is far too trite to think we understand the disease of religion and simply and safely wish it gone, when we can, with real evidence and justification point to its moral poison and work for its detoxification by degrees. This again is Hitch’s position.”

    bravo phil

    very succinctly put

    pop



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  • @phil (again)

    yeh, i marched too, with millions at the time. Sad isn’t it.

    it’s not us and them but our leaders make it so and many who follow them are of that ilk

    ho hum, quite depressing it is at times to know my voice against evil (and those who also speak out against it, march, write, cry) has so little impact on things

    but what else can we do?

    pop



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  • I love the clear thinking of Prof. Herb Silverman and I agree with his article word by word.

    Anyway, is Antonin Scalia a religious lobbyist seeking merits from a particular religion?

    Or does he feel the lack of the Italian way to classify religions?

    That is:

    First-class religion, Roman Catholic Church, protected by the article 7 of Italian Constitution;

    Second-class religions, religions that have a special agreement with the Italian State under article 8 of the Constitution;

    Third-class religions, religions that have the status of “admitted cult”, that is conceded by the Italian Ministry of the Interior;

    Fourth-class religions, religions not included in the previous three categories.

    Out of classification: Atheists and similar.

    I don’t know why, after the WWII, the USA imposed to Japan the beautiful article 20 of the Japanese Constitution and allowed Italy to adopt the discriminatory rules that I have described above.
    Was it because of the power and the will of the US’s Catholic lobby to favor the Catholicism in Italy, and because of the power and the will of the US’s Christian lobby to favor their own penetration in Japan annihilating the imperial religion?



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  • Nice job trying Laurie, but this POP guy is just a troll. He laces in some words that sound Atheist-y and then goes on to take the usual religitard arguments of the evil devil-people who have no moral compass (i.e. you & me). Trying to creep in under the Beauty = Glory sheepskin to attack “from our side”, I suppose.

    Just to throw this out there, there are plenty of people who are Atheist who just didn’t have a religious household. I never learned (read: was brainwashed) anything about religion, and never stepped into a church until I visit Europe and visited Sacre Coure in Paris. I have no specific religion that I am fleeing from or hate, no devils tempt me.

    I just know magic isn’t real.



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  • i’ve been outed!

    I’m a Muslim Troll! Or am I a Christian Troll? A Jewish one? Can i choose? Can i be a Zen Buddhist troll – that would at least my reading of Zen and the art.. was not wasted

    being an atheist – or even an anti-theist does not require that you support every anti-theist activity – especially if that activity is a cloak for anything that leads to genocide (or even to “just” murder)

    my position is simple – I’m for some basic principles first

    starting with (as much as is humanly possible) honesty

    let’s bring down religion like it was brought down in my country – by peaceful evolution to secularism

    let’s not do it by what YOU are implying – that we should be going in all guns blazing to toast them towelheads

    Iran was secular – and democratic – until we overthrew the government and put in a puppet which culminated in a bunch of religious types forming a core to revolt and overthrow him

    you did that – you created religious extremism in Iran

    and that’s just Iran

    come on now mr real atheist Ryan

    tell me just how many people we should kill based on your higher ideals

    pop

    [Slightly edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]



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  • Theres no “reply” button under the POP post that I want to reply to, so it’s going here, as near as I can get. Blame the webdesign, not me.

    POP speaks truth pointing out the excellently secular regime that the CIA illegally overthrew in Iran, installing the Shah, in turn ousted by the current lot, no secular alliance had the strength, support, resolve to do it, after the way the US had seen to them before.

    So Islamic Iran IS a consequence of US meddling. Like the territory grab of daesh, the wannabe caliphate, is a consequence of Bush/Blair/Neocon imperial fantasising. Chile didn’t do so well either on that earlier 9/11 – the one that killed Allende. Like Pol Pot was a consequence of devastating huge swathes of Cambodia with bombs, in an unofficial sideshow of the American War, as the Vietnamese call it.

    We know about western power machinations, and the suffering that has inflicted on vast numbers around the world, Cambodia, Vietnam, much of South America, Iran Iraq to name but a few. We all live under the shadow of this imperial menace.

    Meanwhile, POP, you somehow seem to think that the various articulate and thoughtful posters on this site are somehow in general in league with/apologists for/supporters of this imperial activity. What ever gives you that idea? I see from reactions that you’ve managed to offend, directly, at least 3 posters here, by ridiculous and insulting assumptions. Maybe that’s Just Your Way, be rude to everyone to get a reaction. I don’t think it works all that well, but maybe you’re right, it elicits sane and considered responses from the more thoughtful posters.

    Peace.



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  • 🙂

    yeh, i’m a tad confrontational, sorry.

    BUT

    i really am enthusiastic about preventing more war

    and i’d rather be thought rude (and/or stupid and/or a troll) than to live with my feelings of hopelessness about what we are lining up to do (a la Trump and pals including Clinton and some pals)

    i’ve been think of late to hang out on some religious sites where i can give crap to nutters but last few times i tried such my posts were all deleted and most of them do not support comment discussion (knowing full well how many would pounce on them)

    ho hum

    trolling off for now

    p



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  • I agree. Take a step back pop. You’ve come in all guns blazing which is not much different to what you are trying to point out in your posts. There is no one here that you won’t like whether you disagree with them or not.



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