You have to love an article with a title like ‘Time for tolerance on both sides’ that immediately launches into an intolerant spew-fest against the people he’s asking to be…tolerant. It is also blatantly obvious that the original author, Peter Goers, doesn’t have a clue about what atheism is and just decides to use a broad brush to swipe away in every direction.
Let’s have a look at some of the highlights, shall we?
ATHEISTS of the world unite. You have nothing to lose. Atheists believe in nothing beyond themselves. The "new atheists" are born-again agnostics and are, unfortunately, becoming as virulent, toxic, exclusive, hateful and vengeful as the right-wing fundamentalist Pentecostal Christians (and extremists of all other faiths) they so despise.
They are becoming what they detest. Strange that. They are zealots and bigots and a new cult, and they are drinking the intellectual Kool-Aid.
Great start to an article supposedly about tolerance.
First off, it’s not true that all atheists believe in nothing beyond themselves. Atheism simply entails not believing in God. That doesn’t mean they don’t believe in other things. You should learn what the term means before trying to trash it, Mr Goers.
Second, I know I’m not ‘born again’ anything. Stop trying to equate atheism with the religion of your choice. There are different sorts of atheism, such as agnostic atheism. For some reason, many theists try to label atheists as agnostics because they think it meets them halfway. You either believe in a God or you do not. Those are the choices. Agnosticism isn’t really a claim about belief – it’s a claim about knowledge. I don’t believe in God because I don’t see any evidence of one, which makes me an atheist. And I also don’t claim to know for sure that no Gods exist, making me an agnostic atheist. You can also have agnostic theists.
Third, when I see Dawkins (who he later calls the Pope of atheism) strapping on a bomb and running into a crowd of innocent people, then you can make the claim that at least one New Atheist is as bad as the religious extremists. Until then, he’s an esteemed scientist that not all atheists agree with who writes books and forcefully expresses his opinion about religion. You might not like what he says, but he has the right to say it and he usually does so in a rational, calm manner.
That said, I'm also a bit of an agnostic as are all reasonable people of reasonable faith. None of us knows if there is a God, but there's always hope.
I have enormous respect for agnostics and for people of quiet, personal, fulfilling faith which must always question. I do not believe in proselytising.
For some of us ‘hope’ isn’t a good enough reason to believe something, especially when that something is continually being pushed into our secular governments.
For later, remember that ‘proselytising’ part.
Muslims do not proselytise and some of the best Christians I've ever known are Muslims. We would do well to learn from moderate Islam.
What the hell is he talking about? Muslims proselytise all the time and in some Muslim dominated countries, you can be put to death for not believing. And how can some of the best Christians you know be freaking Muslims? Are they Muslims or are they Christians?
Make up your mind already.
The greatest words in the Bible are for social justice when Christ says; "What you do for the least of us, you also do for me". Help the poor and dispossessed.
The guy just finished saying he doesn’t believe in proselytising, yet here he is… proselytising.
I do not deny that atheists lack morality or values but I don't think there are many atheists feeding the hungry homeless from Fred's Van.
What a load of bull crap. A quick Google search will find loads of secular charities. Religious organizations don’t have a lock on charity. To hear some of these guys talk, you’d think all atheists are soulless douche-bags who lack the basic human compassion to contribute to any charitable organization.
He also doesn’t deny atheists lack morality? I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that’s a typo because it doesn’t make sense otherwise. I know some theists think you can’t have morals without their particular God, but that’s clearly not true.
The American Civil Rights Movement was Christian, as was the anti-slavery campaign.
Faith does promote the greater good and a vast amount of good work happens in the name of faith.
Yeah, no secularists, atheists or agnostics took part in those - just Christians. Not to mention that many people used the Bible to endorse slavery.
Feel free to read this link to dispel that notion: Atheists in the Civil Rights Movement
Atheists despise all faith equally. There's no joy of sects for atheists. All believers are equally stupid whether they believe in God, Thetans, Opus Dei, the Mormon notion that God changed his mind about black people in 1978 and that Jesus has his own planet or "God hates fags, Jews and Swedes" as revoltingly expounded by the wackos of the Westboro Baptist Church in the USA (where else!). For atheists, all of this is no better than the Australian faith, education and welfare of the Josephites and St Mary MacKillop. Atheists believe anyone with any religious faith is stupid.
I LOVE how this guy just decides to speak for all atheists. Personally, I don’t think all believers are stupid. That’s ridiculous. I just think they’re wrong about the existence of God. There are a great many intelligent, articulate, compassionate, loving theists.
Do I think believing in magic trees, wafers that turn into the body of Christ, virgin births, a bunch of virgins waiting in heaven, a demon responsible for evil in the world, angels and the other supernatural elements is silly and lacks any evidence?
That doesn’t make all people who believe those things stupid.
Religion is often very hard to defend, which also makes it interesting. It provokes war, though not as often as capitalism, greed and lust for power.
It’s hard to defend because you have no proof to present. And he’s right about capitalism, greed and lust for power as being the prime motivating force in many wars. What he leaves out is that religion, religious ideas and sometimes religious organizations add fuel to the fire, making conflicts worse than they might have been if reason were to prevail.
It's time for tolerance. Atheists hiss and spit at prayers. It's become a negative faith.
Speaking for myself, I could care less whether you pray to your deity. I certainly don’t hiss or spit at someone who is praying. That would be uncivilized. If I’m a guest at someone’s house and they want to say a prayer before eating, that’s fine by me. If I’m facing a rough spot in my life and someone says they will pray for me, I don’t get offended.
The mind, the heart, the soul and the spirit have room for all but let's never be proud of believing in nothing.
Let’s not be proud of believing in superstition, ritual practices that we think will bring us rewards or placing faith based thinking over evidence based thinking. We have room for all (and nobody should be forced to believe or not believe) but that doesn’t mean your ideas won’t be challenged by those who don’t share them.
Let's, as Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote so wisely; "Hope and keep busy".
Questioning is what you’ve been railing at the entire article. Many atheists question, including me and in many cases, it was that questioning that lead to their atheism. It’s faith based religions that often tell you not to question but just to believe no matter what.
Tolerance doesn’t mean we have to sit by and agree with everything you say because you say it’s a religious idea. Besides, some of the best conversations happen between people who don’t agree but remain civil towards each other despite their differences.
Now that’s something to shoot for!