Sunday, October 24, 2010

Atheism, violence and human rights

Here is the final words of a comment on a Debunking Christianity thread: 


I long for the day when you people are put into camps and made sterile, so you cannot spread your destructive hate and child abuse any longer.


There you have it. I argued at some length on this site a couple of years back that the logical conclusions of some of Richard Dawkins' ideas about child abuse lead logically to violence against Christians and the forcible denial of fundamental human rights to Christians by the government. I pointed out that even if Dawkins hadn't drawn out those conclusions from his own arguments, some of his followers would eventually do so. People tried to argue that, no, it really doesn't have to come to this, and he was just talking about Christians who frighten their children with hell to get them to be obedient. 


Well, I was right. I hope Loftus will post a response saying that he does NOT approve this message. In the meantime, you have to start rethinking the argument that RELIGION leads to violence. 



22 comments:

Bilbo said...

Well, putting us into camps and sterilizing us isn't really violent, you know. :)

shiningwhiffle said...

Most atheists at present are not like this person. The people who at present become atheists still tend to be more decent and educated than most. But I worry about the future.

So I agree when you said in an earlier post: "Yes, yes, I know, Dawkins says maybe. And the next atheist that comes along will say definitely. And it will be more tempting for these people to say definitely the closer they are to acquiring political power."

The widespread sense of certainty among atheists that their beliefs are scientific could stand to make things that much worse.

S.D. Parker said...

That is a disturbing statement, indeed. It reminds me of a comment I read under a CNN article about the Rutgers' student suicide a few weeks back. Despite that Christianity as far as I know had nothing to with it, the commenter thought otherwise saying that he wished for the return of the days when Christians were thrown to the lions. What an ignorant, hate-filled comment (not to mention hypocritical given the context).

But despite these comments surfacing from time to time on random websites, the fact is they surface from time to time with respect to all peoples and groups, unfortunately. I've seen such comments directed at Republicans, Democrats, blacks, Muslims, Christians, you name it...

Ignorance is with us today, and always will be. I would be uncomfortable drawing conclusions any further than this, however.

Anonymous said...

These sort of comments are not really surprising, since there is in fact no possible way to ground "human rights" on naturalistic atheism. The term is ultimately vacuous, it signifies nothing, and we as a society are left to content ourselves with a Nietzschean might-makes-right philosophy.

God only knows what kind of shape the ideological monster that these willfully ignorant little Dawkinsiites are incubating and are eagerly awaiting to unleash upon the world will eventually take. I cannot help but liken the whole lot of them to a naive school child giddily poking at Pandora's Box with a stick. They chant: "At long last, the dawn of atheism is here! Follow us now into a bright new world of high-technology where science shall free us from all misery, all pain, and together we can defeat death with our brilliant new revelations in discovery!" And I reply: Get thee behind me, Satan.

Brian Westley said...

There you have it.

Yes, there you have an anecdote. I can find plenty of religious types advocating the death of atheists.

Did you have a point?

Joshua Blanchard said...

There is at least one consideration in favor of the sterilization of Christians, which is that there would be less people subject to histrionic abuse from mean-spirited adults like John Loftus.

Victor Reppert said...

Brian: I argued in a set of previous posts that Dawkins' charge that raising children to be a particular religion is child abuse worse than that of pedophilia. He didn't restrict it to religious parents who scare kids with Jonathan Edwards-type hellfire threats, he made the claim general to all religious people who raise their children in a religious faith. In other words, he is referring to most parents who have ever walked on this earth. Now child abuse is, quite rightly, criminalized by law, and pedophiles are put in prison. They are forcibly prevented from continuing their abuse. If raising a child as a Methodist, for example, is worse than pedophilia, then whether he draws the conclusion or not, the only logical conclusion is that such parents should be forcibly prevented from raising their children in the way that they do. So this is NOT just an anecdote. This is someone taking Dawkins' position and drawing the only logical conclusion possible.

I had a talk with my old friend and sometime commentator here, Bob Prokop, and he said that when he was in England, and there was some kind of terrorist threat going on at the time, there were several letters to newspapers that he read which echoed this "child abuse" line. It's out there. Dawkins can't put the genie back into the bottle without recanting his position.

Of course, whether he realizes it or not, Dawkins made a scientifically testable claim, since we can measure the effects of pedophilia on its victims as opposed to the effects of religious upbringing. We can look at scholastic success, suicide rates, and other indicators of how healthy people who were raised in religious households are as opposed to the victims of pedophilia. The results, I strongly suspect, will not bear out Dawkins' claims.

In any event, let's call this what it is. It's hate. Pure and simple. To my mind, it deserves no more respect than racial hatred, or hatred of homosexuals.

Mr Veale said...

John Cornwell makes similar observations about Dawkins' rhetoric and presupposition in "Darwin's Angel"Comparing Theism to a mental virus is redolent of talk about "racial hygiene."

Cornwell draws attention to Dawkin's reliance on an article by anaesthesiologist John Hartung, which argues that "Love thy Neighbour" referred only to Jews. Christianity in Hartung's article is referred to as "Judaisms recusant evangelical sect".

[The article can be read here:

http://strugglesforexistence.com/index.php?p=article_p&id=13

although it seems to be continually updated and renewed.]

Mr Veale said...

Cornwell then picks up on a book review by Hartung which states

"Isaiah’s dream has come true and it rests on two pillars: (1) most of the citizens of most donor nations are Christian or Jewish, such that, the former religion being a form of the latter, to varying degrees they believe in a god who gave Palestine to the Jews, and (2) the most enormous act of reactive racism ever perpetrated, namely the Holocaust, has been presented, and so is perceived, as having been the psychotic swelling up of a form of evil that resides disproportionately in the souls of Goyim — and so they have been induced to irrationally atone for their special evil by enabling descendant and nondescendant coreligionists of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust to systematically purloin the land and property of people who were not those victims’ persecutors"

Note the "reactive racism". Anti-Judaism is the Jews fault. As is the Holocaust.


[The review can be read here: http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/taboos/aptsda01.htm]

Cornwell also makes some salient points about Dawkins' use of memes. Dawkins writes of those "afflicted with the mental virus of faith, and its accompanying gang of secondary infections."

Religious believers are compared to disease carriers.

"We expect that replicators will go around together from brain to brain in mutually compatible gangs. These gangs will come to constitute a package, which may be sufficiently stable to deserve a collective name such as Roman Catholicism or Voodoo. It doesn't much matter whether we analogise the whole package to a single virus, or each one of the components to a single part"

This seems to be why Dawkins believes that "the teachings of moderate religion...are an open invitation to extremism".

Cornwell points out that "the implication of depersonalisation and identification of groups of individuals with a single dangerous disease is clear"

Dawkins compares Religious Education to child abuse, and you have drawn attention to Dennett's cage. Cornwell also gives a list of the language that Dawkins uses to describe religious believers.

"malevolent...propagandist...vicious, sado-masochistic and repellent..."etc.

Cornwell simply wonders what policies would follow from Dawkins beliefs should he ever "gain political influence or actual power." But Cornwell is at least reminded of the bio-political ideas that arose in Nazi germay in the 1920's and 1930's.

So I think Dawkins has to answer a very serious charge here. Would his views inevitably lead to violence against faith communities? If not, why not? Was the reference to "child abuse" rhetorical? If so, wasn't it dangerous rhetoric (especially ina country with vulnerable Sikh, Hindu and Muslim minorities)? If it wasn't rhetoric, why won't he advocate a proportionate response to what would be the most dangerous force the West has ever faced?

Mr Veale said...

Cornwell then picks up on a book review by Hartung which states

"Isaiah’s dream has come true and it rests on two pillars: (1) most of the citizens of most donor nations are Christian or Jewish, such that, the former religion being a form of the latter, to varying degrees they believe in a god who gave Palestine to the Jews, and (2) the most enormous act of reactive racism ever perpetrated, namely the Holocaust, has been presented, and so is perceived, as having been the psychotic swelling up of a form of evil that resides disproportionately in the souls of Goyim — and so they have been induced to irrationally atone for their special evil by enabling descendant and nondescendant coreligionists of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust to systematically purloin the land and property of people who were not those victims’ persecutors"

Note the "reactive racism". Anti-Judaism is the Jews fault. As is the Holocaust.


[The review can be read here: http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/taboos/aptsda01.htm]

Mr Veale said...

Cornwell also makes some salient points about Dawkins' use of memes. Dawkins writes of those "afflicted with the mental virus of faith, and its accompanying gang of secondary infections."

Religious believers are compared to disease carriers.

"We expect that replicators will go around together from brain to brain in mutually compatible gangs. These gangs will come to constitute a package, which may be sufficiently stable to deserve a collective name such as Roman Catholicism or Voodoo. It doesn't much matter whether we analogise the whole package to a single virus, or each one of the components to a single part"

This seems to be why Dawkins believes that "the teachings of moderate religion...are an open invitation to extremism".

Cornwell points out that "the implication of depersonalisation and identification of groups of individuals with a single dangerous disease is clear"

Dawkins compares Religious Education to child abuse, and you have drawn attention to Dennett's cage. Cornwell also gives a list of the language that Dawkins uses to describe religious believers.

"malevolent...propagandist...vicious, sado-masochistic and repellent..."etc.

Cornwell simply wonders what policies would follow from Dawkins beliefs should he ever "gain political influence or actual power." But Cornwell is at least reminded of the bio-political ideas that arose in Nazi germay in the 1920's and 1930's.

So I think Dawkins has to answer a very serious charge here. Would his views inevitably lead to violence against faith communities? If not, why not? Was the reference to "child abuse" rhetorical? If so, wasn't it dangerous rhetoric (especially ina country with vulnerable Sikh, Hindu and Muslim minorities)? If it wasn't rhetoric, why won't he advocate a proportionate response to what would be the most dangerous force the West has ever faced?

Mr Veale said...

Cornwell also makes some salient points about Dawkins' use of memes. Dawkins writes of those "afflicted with the mental virus of faith, and its accompanying gang of secondary infections."

Religious believers are compared to disease carriers.

"We expect that replicators will go around together from brain to brain in mutually compatible gangs. These gangs will come to constitute a package, which may be sufficiently stable to deserve a collective name such as Roman Catholicism or Voodoo. It doesn't much matter whether we analogise the whole package to a single virus, or each one of the components to a single part"

This seems to be why Dawkins believes that "the teachings of moderate religion...are an open invitation to extremism".

Cornwell points out that "the implication of depersonalisation and identification of groups of individuals with a single dangerous disease is clear"

Dawkins compares Religious Education to child abuse, and you have drawn attention to Dennett's cage. Cornwell also gives a list of the language that Dawkins uses to describe religious believers.

"malevolent...propagandist...vicious, sado-masochistic and repellent..."etc.

Mr Veale said...

Cornwell simply wonders what policies would follow from Dawkins beliefs should he ever "gain political influence or actual power." But Cornwell is at least reminded of the bio-political ideas that arose in Nazi germay in the 1920's and 1930's.

So I think Dawkins has to answer a very serious charge here. Would his views inevitably lead to violence against faith communities? If not, why not? Was the reference to "child abuse" rhetorical? If so, wasn't it dangerous rhetoric (especially ina country with vulnerable Sikh, Hindu and Muslim minorities)? If it wasn't rhetoric, why won't he advocate a proportionate response to what would be the most dangerous force the West has ever faced?

Mr Veale said...

Oh, it gets better. Consider Harris. This quote is being discussed on Ed Feser's blog at the moment.

"The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas."
-- The End of Faith, pp. 52-53

Mr Veale said...

The End of Faithpp. 93-94
"The gravity of Jewish suffering over the ages, culminating in the Holocaust, makes it almost impossible to entertain any suggestion that Jews might have brought their troubles upon themselves. This is, however, in a rather narrow sense, the truth. Prior to the rise of the church, Jews became the objects of suspicion and occasional persecution ... for the content of their own unreasonable, sectarian beliefs... the ideology of Judaism remains a lightning rod for intolerance to this day."

Mr Veale said...

Anyone else see a theme emerging?

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that all of Harris' books make a pretty strong case for, if not violence, then at least the use of state power to strongly curb religious freedoms. His thesis is that fundamentalist religion is an existential threat to civilization, and that fundamentalist religion would be cease to exist if not for the moderate religion which enables it. The logical conclusion of this line of thinking is that governments across the world should, at the very least, severely repress religious belief and expression, and forcibly re-educate religious believers. And it's a fairly short step from there to use Harris' book to justify outright violence against religious persons. By his logic, such violence, even used preemptively, would simply be self-defense.

Arthur said...

Your readers of this thread might best first to do some digging in greater depth into the full background of this person in question, before making all their judgements based on the few details you have offered, before they start gleefully casting stones about the reaction you exposed.

That is if you faithful folk really do honestly believe in some real decent honesty and proper justice.

And while doing so you might want to question the abusive faith background involved in the lives of people like Stalin as well.

Holding up a few cases as being trophies of how it is atheism being the root cause of the final nasty outcomes you use to try to discredit athiesm, without first taking into account the great suffering also caused by religious aspects of faith along the way.Might have some of you lot patting your backs and stroking your faithful egos. But still plenty others of us looking at you from the side line, personally sure dont tend to see it as being so very honest or even so fair and just.

But then in my opinion some of the reason for this may be, you faithful lot actually follow a injust God that creates humans and also leaves all manner of nasty aspects surrounding their pathway they must need to tread ,and then chooses to hold these humans as being totally responsible for any mistakes they make. So its not really so very surprising to me when watching these types of unfair reactions many of you God followers also are seen to display.

In my opinion your type of justice is often only a mirror of the type of justice your Christian God promotes.And thats why so many more folks today just like myself, are fast becoming more and more abhorrent at what they experience and see,and often decide to turn toward atheism after experiencing such disgust of such blatant unfair attitudes and injustices.

The vision of you people of faith in many cases has become so biased and inbred, it seems often you cannot even start to understand why there might exist some very angry and hurt people like Stalin, and also this particular person who`s quote you so gleefully expose.Who might not only have decided they feel they have good reason to become atheist but have sadly also decided they feel maybe there might be some good reason to want to totally dispose of injust people like yourselves, just as Stalin also concluded after the Christian abuse he also experienced while exposed to abusive priests and children of clergy in his childhood at school.

These type of abused people only come to these conclusions out of such dispair, thinking of it as maybe possibly being the only way left for any hope, that other people might not need in future to continue to also suffer from the same abusive injust faiths they did.

And can you really blame them so much ?, when it seems so obvious that many of you folk never seem to even care to bother so often to atleast first accept your own part of involvement in these sad outcomes.

Dr Victor Reppert i most often see you as a very fair person, but please explain, why it seems you do not even bother to atleast first dig a little deeper into the full background story involved in this particular situation, before deciding on holding up this situation as supposedly being some type of trophy that should maybe belong to those within Christianity.When infact as was with Stalin , it is actually a form of abusive Christianity that also actually helped so very much in creating the outcome of the feelings that this person now has.

I suggest maybe you owe this person another post on your site that explains the full sitation of this particular case in more greater detail, and maybe even should include ? some type of simple apology, for jumping to such very quick conclusions that it was actually this persons athiesm that was the cause of his feelings.

Seems to me maybe you disregard the fact that this man is very human, displaying human conditions that many faithful folk also often display too.

Arthur said...

Your readers of this thread might best first to do some digging in greater depth into the full background of this person in question, before making all their judgements based on the few details you have offered, before they start gleefully casting stones about the reaction you exposed.

That is if you faithful folk really do honestly believe in some real decent honesty and proper justice.

And while doing so you might want to question the abusive faith background involved in the lives of people like Stalin as well.

Holding up a few cases as being trophies of how it is atheism being the root cause of the final nasty outcomes you use to try to discredit athiesm, without first taking into account the great suffering also caused by religious aspects of faith along the way.Might have some of you lot patting your backs and stroking your faithful egos. But still plenty others of us looking at you from the side line, personally sure dont tend to see it as being so very honest or even so fair and just.

But then in my opinion some of the reason for this may be, you faithful lot actually follow a injust God that creates humans and also leaves all manner of nasty aspects surrounding their pathway they must need to tread ,and then chooses to hold these humans as being totally responsible for any mistakes they make. So its not really so very surprising to me when watching these types of unfair reactions many of you God followers also are seen to display.

In my opinion your type of justice is often only a mirror of the type of justice your Christian God promotes.And thats why so many more folks today just like myself, are fast becoming more and more abhorrent at what they experience and see,and often decide to turn toward atheism after experiencing such disgust of such blatant unfair attitudes and injustices.

Arthur said...

Dr Reppert ,sorry about the double post,my post first disappeared, then weirdly re-appeared.

Mr Veale said...

Arthur

1)Which biography of Stalin are you relying on?
2) Stalin's personality isn't the issue. Marxist theory told the Stalinists that every revolution would be followed by a military dictatorship. It also told Communists that they could expect a counter-revolution. Hence the persecution of Trotsky and his allies, and the purges of the military. Stalinists also believed that they needed to take control of history, and industrialise Russia. Hence the bloody outcomes from the 5-year plans.

It is an atheist ideology (Communism)that created the conditions for Stalinism. And Stalinism seems to be a necessary condition for the tremendous violence in Russia during the 20th Century. (Although we could infer that life would not have been pleasant without Communism).

Arthur said...

Mr Veale said..."1)Which biography of Stalin are you relying on?
2) Stalin's personality isn't the issue."

Hi Mr Veale.I will simply be honest and admit i have not studied the subject in any great depth,and im sure with you being a teacher and all, you will very surely know far much more than i will ever do.

But still, i dont really understand why the personality issue isnt got anything to do with the issue ?, as far as i know, the moulding of Childrens personalities,often has plenty to do with who they become and the road they will choose to tread, and the feelings, ideas and actions they will then possibly also choose to take.

And im also not really sure why it matters so much about which biography of Stalin is used.Because as far as i know what ever biography is used, its still understood that he went to a school run by people of Christian faith, that was also pretty full of of lots of the children of Christians.And if only that part was true, then i cant see why i should really have any real good reason to doubt ? he might very likely have often been harassed and abused. These type of faith abuses with Children in places of faith, are often being exposed and having to be dealt with still to this very day also.So i ask myself what very good reason exists for us to highly doubt, that Stalin might not have had to try and deal with it ?.

My point was that our experiences of faith can sometimes have an effect on how we end up feeling about faith and then in effect the faithful also.While i dont condone the bad feelings and behaviour of Stalin toward the faithful, any more than the thoughts of the person that Victor exposed .But still, that doesnt stop me from understanding that when all said and done they are both only human , and IMHO ,to atleast try to be somewhat both fair ! and just !, then in my mind i had thought one should also atleast be fully prepared to first take into account all that what they had personally experienced as well.