Taking Atheism Seriously | Evolution News
Recently, a man burst into a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and shot and killed 26 parishioners (including an unborn child). The killer’s former high school classmates described him as an atheist activist.
“He was always talking about how people who believe in God, we are stupid and try to preach his atheism,” former classmate Nina Rose Nava wrote in a Facebook post, according to the Daily mail. “I just legitimately deleted it from my Facebook because I couldn’t stand its message.”
Which begs the question: To what extent was the killer’s rampage inspired by his atheist beliefs? Of course I am do not arguing that atheists as a group condone his act, or would ever consider doing something like that. All decent, normal people, atheists and theists alike, are horrified by this atrocity. Yet the question posed is still reasonable. If the tables had been turned – if, God forbid time and time again, the victims had been atheists at a convention of skeptics and the killer had been an evangelical Christian – the public square would be filled with speculation about the role that ideology played in his life. crimes. Well so. We can’t get inside the Texas killer’s head (thankfully), but ideas have consequences.
If you’re looking for a reflection on the killer’s motives, don’t waste your time looking at atheist blogs, especially those that focus on promoting evolution. Jerry Coyne mentions it briefly, without pondering why a fellow militant atheist would murder Christians. Larry Moran doesn’t say a word. Atheist activist Jeff Shallit hasn’t posted anything. panda’s thumb, a group blog devoted to the creation myth of atheism, published an article mocking creationist Ken Ham the day before the shooting. Nothing since. The Richard Dawkins Foundation simply ridiculed House Speaker Paul Ryan’s request for prayers. Sam Harris, who wrote that “some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people to believe them,” said nothing about an atheist who killed people for their beliefs.
PZ Myers mentioned the mass murder – in order to mock the Christians who were slaughtered by his co-(ir)religionist, while ridiculing a Lutheran pastor who sought to understand the terrible event:
It’s a tragedy, and it’s a bit unfair to chastise the dead for the failure of their faith. I could agree that maybe this is an appropriate time for empathy, rather than mockery. But wait… [.] So those faithful dead were praying for God to kill them? Man, that’s f***** up. If it’s wrong for atheists to mock the sincerity of the faithful, it’s also wrong to claim that the dead were praying for their death, and that God was kind in sending a gunman to blow them up… Twenty-six people were killed on Sunday. So we can expect them to rise from the dead, oh, Tuesday? Was terror a necessary part of their “rescue” in paradise? Blood, pain and fear? This type of Jesus is an evil and wicked character…. We already know that God’s purpose is terrible, but now you’re telling me that someone could pray to recover from their cold, and God will interpret that to mean that he should deliver them from this evil world and into his heavenly glory with a bullet for the brain?
This is a theme among militant atheist bloggers: they preach an ideology responsible for more violence than known to man, and they excoriate theists for atrocities committed in the name of God. But when it comes to atheist atrocities, atheist activists are silent.
Many atheists argue that atrocities committed by atheists do not count because they were not committed “in the name of atheism”. The Sutherland Springs murders belied that claim, as if the tens of millions of people murdered over the past century explicitly in the name of atheism weren’t enough. As the Jesuit Edward Oakes ironically noted: “So it’s not atheism that’s the problem, only atheists!
The problem atheists have with reflecting on their own beliefs is that they don’t (with some exceptions) take their own atheism seriously.
So let’s do it for them. If atheism is true, the following is true:
- There is no God.
- Nothing caused everything for no reason.
- There is no end goal to anything.
- There is no beyond.
- Human beings are just animals.
- There is no objective morality (necessarily follows from 1, 2, 3, 5).
- There is no ultimate responsibility (necessarily follows from 1 to 6).
- There is no free will (continuation of 5).
- There is no moral guilt or innocence (continuation of 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8).
I’m sure you can add a few more necessary elements to the Nicene Atheist Creed.
When you consider the Sutherland Springs killer’s motives — including his hatred of Christians — it’s obvious his atheist belief provided the grease to turn his hatred into action. What does he have to fear? When he is dead (it was clearly a suicide mission), he will have no pain, no suffering, no accounting, according to atheist beliefs.
If you’re wondering why militant atheists of a more docile variety (needless to say, the vast, vast majority of our society) don’t contemplate the atrocities of their less docile co-(ir)religionists, here’s a reason: any reflection honest about atheist belief would make it very clear that atheism, taken seriously, offers no reason not to kill innocent people you hate. Atheism is more than disbelief in gods. Atheism is the explicit denial of objective morality and the explicit denial of ultimate responsibility.
This is why atheism is the most violent ideology in human history: some atheists take atheism seriously.
Photo credit: emoro, via Pixabay.