Angry Atheists Shooting People

chapel hillI’m sure all have heard by now how an atheist shot three people. That such a story has been so popular as an atheist attack shows how unusual it is to find an atheist doing violence, much less one killing three people. I suppose it comes as little surprise to atheist feminists and simply sexism-aware people. They have seen the split in atheism from the facile “no gods” to full on derived social justice warrior, where sexist BS has been called free speech. Death threats have been too prevalent against them, fellow atheists. And they have made a lot of attention over it and created change. Religious people have had a field day saying aha, it’s true, atheism doesn’t provide a moral compass.

For one thing atheism isn’t a magic morality bullet that overcomes every immoral urge. In this case the guy had had problems for some time that weren’t properly treated. For which we can rightly blame the lousy health and counseling system in the US. He should have been treated long ago. For another we can blame the lack of support of background checking and licensing of weapons because somehow licensing is considered an abridgment of freedom. Finally, we can blame the rampant and mostly earned distrust in the police.

Much has been made of how these three Muslims were wonderful people but that matters little, we don’t evaluate murder based on the kindness of the victims. But that they were Muslims makes many want to to call this a hate crime. While that is questionable, it seems likely he could have killed others, it is more worrisome that it will fuel others to think it is OK to kill Muslims. This euology can be seen as a means  to show Muslims as being good people. It is also pathetic that the victims had been harassed before and did not feel they could ask the police for help–like so many others who know going to the police often yields little unless you’re ethnically and often gender appropriate.

The call against atheism is absurd in spite of the obvious rareness of atheist motivated crime. Where in an atheism-promoting text is there any advice to kill or harm people? Where are there any stories, allegories, or psychological truths that provide the slightest shred of motivation to harm people. The worst that can be said of the most extreme Anglo atheist literature is to mock. There is no atheist ideology that can be blamed. This incident is an easy opportunity to distract from the attention to their own violent and violence inducing sacred texts.

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com

About Jim Newman

Jim Newman is a philosopher. When I was young I wondered what was the ultimate truth. How should I behave? What makes it all work? I was intensely curious to know what it all means. It was enlightening to realize there is no ultimate truth, but nevertheless sufficient and necessary turth, and that meaning was a meta analysis of living one’s life. In this sense my work has been living large. Living and experiencing life has made me learn many things. Building boats, motors, houses, electronics. Raising animals. Teaching. Writing. Photography. Drawing. Knitting. Sewing. Cooking. Music. Painting. Hiking. Aboriginal living skills. All material aspects of reality that seem irrelevant until you realize they allow you to experience more. My epiphany came when I read Christopher Hitchen’s “Letters to a Young Contrarian” and I felt vindicated in my many meals of sacred cow.
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