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The antipathy of (some) atheists

January 3, 2013

I like the Atheist Foundation of Australia on Facebook. I find the articles they share very interesting. Just before Christmas I was impressed that they shared an article written detailing the various forms of Christian persecution around the world.

The article writes nothing particularly new, persecutions against Christians is well known and well documented. (e.g. check out Voice of the martyrs). Yet, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the article was the second sentence:

Even in democracies such as the US and Canada, Christians can be fined or lose their jobs for imaginary “hate” crimes, i.e. speaking about the health risks of some homosexual practices or declining to provide services for homosexual “marriages”.

The recent suspension of a senior university official in the US who opposed gay marriage  or the recent court ruling in the UK preventing a Christian couple from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality, would be evidence to support this claim.

Yet, I was shocked by the comments by atheists on the article (on Facebook).

Some suggested that the Christians should just stop complaining..

Oh shut the hell up.

Fuck them all. Bunch of idiots

A case of crocodile tears..

Others were in denial that such persecution could even exist, or if it were persecution, it wasn’t really that bad…

This is absolutely ridiculous, they systematically slaughtered people like us for thousands of years and yet they have the audacity to complain about something as measly as this? The headline should be reversed to read “Worldwide Christian persecution” at least the heading would hold truth, although the article doesn’t.

I fail to see how criticism is persecution

These clowns cannot be serious?! So reading the bible severely impairs long term memory….

Just about anyone could be persecuted in these countries they’ve mentioned couldn’t they?

Some suggested that because Christians ‘persecute’ minorities, therefore they asked for it..

 Sounds fair to me. That’s discrimination. Can’t have a workplace full of bullies. They ask for it.

Some resorted to ridicule.

Incredible, but haven’t they got the right god on their side? Atheist don’t have this powerful man in sky to help us. They should pray much harder, it is supposed to work.

And one person even advocated persecution!

When I first saw the link I read it as “Persecution of Christians worldwide – On Line Option” so I was keen to join in. [this comment received 9 likes]

And there was just plain abuse. One Christian commenter encouraged atheists to support religious freedoms for all. Yet, this was met with vitriol from one commenter who said:

^fuck off

Seriously, fuck off, step away from the crack pipe and just fuck right off. You have spent far too much time thumbing through the memory wiping bible, your peers are by far the most violent collection of animalistic bigoted dickheads the world has ever known. Crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, modern day we move to the invasion of the middle east. Get a clue…. [this comment got 4 likes]

As far as I could tell in some 25 comments only one atheist really denounced the persecution against Christians.

I don’t deny that some Christians are being persecuted in some places. That is as intolerable as persecution of any other social group. However, it seems that it is other religious groups (mainly hard line Muslims) doing the persecuting.It drives me nuts that anyone thinks they can justify violence in the name of their god. Similarly, Muslims (especially Muslims in Australia- mainly Sydney) are the first to accuse non-Muslims of discrimination and persecution. I call bullshit. Persecution is not acceptable, disagreeing with beliefs and customs is. Violence for the sake of it is unacceptable, peaceful protests promoting the separation of church and state is. When will the crazies in the religious world join the real world?

Rather than a cool, rational, intelligent discussion of the reality of Christian persecution in the world, this article stimulated denial, ridicule, and abuse. I found this staggering and deeply concerning. One of the claims of modern atheism is that atheists care about people and their suffering, yet these comments reveal absolute indifference and indeed antipathy to the murders, abductions and sufferings of Christians around the world.

I recognise that these comments can’t be taken to represent the views of all atheists, but I am concerned that they are represented by any. Maybe modern atheism isn’t as tolerant as it claims it is.

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From → New atheism

4 Comments
  1. You should never make the mistake of conflating the merits of an idea with the behavior of its adherents. This is especially true for atheism, which is not an organization, or a belief system, or even a well-defined community.

    There is a simple rule that everyone could reasonably adopt, regardless of creed (or the lack thereof). It is a derivative of the golden rule: Never interfere with the liberty of another person. “Liberty” means their right to think as they choose, to express their thoughts openly, to affiliate as they choose, and to pursue consensual activities with other persons (like, say, gay marriages or civil war reenactments or church memberships or atheist blogs). If you are in a position of authority (e.g. an employer), don’t abuse that power to manipulate the personal liberty of others.

    To me, this is really easy stuff. It only gets tricky when you are dealing with someone who is mistreating a third party (say, a KKK member, for instance, or a homophobe). I would suggest that the golden rule’s protections diminish in this situation, so I propose a converse rule: to the degree that you interfere with the liberty of someone else, so should others interfere with yours. Seems fair to me.

    • Chris,

      Thanks for the comment. Not quite sure how your comments exactly relate to my blog post. Are you suggesting that the Christians who are being persecuted in some sense ‘deserve’ the persecution they are receiving because they attempt to infringe the ‘liberty’ of others?

      Thanks again for the quote and I look forward to your response.

      Robert

      • Sorry if I rambled a bit. My intent was to state that some complaints are legitimate, and some are not. No one should be persecuted for their beliefs, so long as those beliefs at compatible with the freedom and happiness of others. But if the complaint is “I’m being prevented from persecuting someone else,” then the complaint is not compelling. If the law prevents you from discriminating in hiring, for instance, that is not persecution against you; it is protecting others. Otherwise, I think Christians and others deserve the same treatment as anyone else.

  2. Thanks for the clarification – I think I agree with a lot of what you’re saying and I certainly agree that Christians deserve the same treatment as everyone else. I suppose that’s why I was shocked at some of the comments I outlined in the article above – they seem to indicate that the Christians deserve persecution! I would suggest that no-one deserves to suffer to the extent outlined in the original article, and I would certainly hope that people would have more sympathy for those who encountering human rights abuses every day.

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