What got a user banned from Richard Dawkins Facebook page
Earlier this week I heard (via John Dickson’s Facebook feed) that someone got banished and got banished and deleted from the Richard Dawkins Facebook Forum. It is a fascinating post and was reproduced by John Dickson on Facebook and I quote it here:
Atheists don’t believe people are a special or privileged species. In other words, we are no different to slugs. When atheists (like Stalin) treat people like slugs, they are being quite consistent with their philosophy.
Christians do believe people are special and privileged. We are God’s “children”, and have inherent value and dignity. When we treat others badly, we are being *inconsistent* with our philosophy.
“Love your neighbor” doesn’t follow logically from atheism. It’s not integral to that philosophy. It does follow logically from Christianity, and is absolutely integral.
If “There is no God,” then “Love your neighbor” is optional.
If “Christ is Lord”, then “Love your neighbor” is fundamental.
I can see why this piece captured the ire of the atheist community and I’m keen to hear what atheists on this page make of it. This comment raises lots of questions raised about what is ‘consistent’ with an atheistic philosophy. I realise that many atheists will disagree with this comment and propose that atheism is ‘simply’ non-belief, but I’m unconvinced and I’ve written elsewhere on this blog. Most notably on my recent atheism is more than non-belief post where I say in point 7 that an atheist must affirm that ‘a human being is of equal intrinsic value to a tree or a rock’. My point is the same as the above commenter who says that ‘we are no different to slugs’. Hence I tend to agree with the sentiments of this piece.
This piece makes several challenging statements to the atheist:
How does ‘love your neighbour’ flow naturally from an atheist worldview?
Or perhaps even more fundamentally: how does secular humanism (with the proposed imperative to ‘love your neighbour’) flow naturally from atheism?
I’m intrigued how atheists can make this jump. I suggest that a ‘secular humanist’ philosophy flows unnaturally from an atheistic perspective because the universe is indifferent to whether we love or not. Loving your neighbour flows more naturally from Christian theism in which humans do have dignity and value? (as the above comment makes clear)
Further, I’m also wondering if this piece should have been deleted and the user banned? What was so ‘unreasonable’ about the post that required censorship? The post wasn’t vulgar or rude. It was certainly offensive, but it was only offensive if you ignore the inherent implications of an atheistic worldview. I think it was pointing out the stark difference of the natural conclusions of two very different worldviews.
So how can atheists justify ‘love your neighbour’? Keen to hear thoughts.