August 12, 2011

No, we should condemn religion too

An awful lot of Christians love to play word games (aka, engage in sophistry) to try to prop up their religious beliefs. This happens to be precisely because religious belief isn't reality-based, either in terms of pragmatism (commerce, politics, and other social organization for enhancing social interactions) or science (whether technical or academic).

Marc Leverett's diatribe against atheism ("Condemn extremism not religion", Coloradoan, 8/12/2011) is certainly no exception to this. First of all, atheism isn't a religious "faith". It's exactly the opposite.Pretending atheism is a faith is like pretending bald is a hair color.

Second, while it's certainly true that atheism was part of the "party line" of Communism Stalin and his cohorts were engaging on a murderous rampage because of the political totalitarianistic nature of their Communism, not because of atheism. In regard to Nazism, frankly we're tired of the ludicrous attempt to place extremist anti-Semitism at the feet of atheism. It is precisely religious prejudices that are among the primary factors of the antagonism against Jews at that time. It's simply absurd to pretend it had anything to do with atheism. Adolf Hitler was, by the way, a Catholic.

Additionally, the Nazis were not Darwinian evolutionists at all. They were racists, and they made a corrupted form of ideas about evolution to opportunistically prop up their racism in their propaganda. Now, check your history, and see if racism began in 1859. Oh. Right. It didn't. And in fact the history of religious literature, including especially in the United States, contains numerous examples of religious doctrines based on the Bible being used to justify racism.

Furthermore, atheism isn't even an ideological framework. It isn't some kind of overarching philosophy. There are no edicts, no precepts, no divine entities, no divine books, no priesthood, no churches. The core of atheism is merely and simply this: "I don't buy into this god you claim exists, because you haven't produced good evidence to adequately justify such a belief in the first place." So in principle you cannot get any justification or motivation for murdering people en masse on the sole basis of a rejection of a religious belief that doesn't have good evidence for it.

So the only thing we can thank Leverett for is demonstrating by example, like so many other Christians in their rhetoric, their penchant for using slander and all kinds of other straw man rhetoric to try to disparage those who disagree with their religious beliefs (whether it's atheism in particular, or simply scientific results that contradict their religious beliefs) and who dare to openly criticize the nature of religious belief itself by pointing out the inherent and pervasive empirical and conceptual errors of religion.

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