Beware the Militant Atheists June 5, 2009

Beware the Militant Atheists

Militant atheists are really the worst — what with their “words” and “ad campaigns” and “questions”…


(via Atheist Cartoons)

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  • dfledermaus

    What could the militant atheist be planning to do with the brown liquid in the glass?

    a) Throw acid in a girl’s face for daring to go to school?
    b) Serve poison-laced kool-aid to his followers in Guyana?
    c) Symbolically drink the blood of Richard Dawkins?

    I don’t know. What other possibilities could there be?

  • beckster

    Well whatever is in the glass, I hope it puts a smile on his face! He sure looks depressed.

  • mspeir

    I’m militant like that, so long as what’s in the glass is Diet Coke.

  • Ah yes, we are the one perfectly pure and innocent group. No atheist has ever harmed a theist motivated by ideology. Congratulations, us!

  • SarahH

    Ah yes, we are the one perfectly pure and innocent group. No atheist has ever harmed a theist motivated by ideology. Congratulations, us!

    Paul, I think the point here is about the language – in order for someone to use the phrase “militant atheist” all they have to see is an atheist talking about their beliefs, wearing an atheist t-shirt, being part of an atheist organization, etc. The line is drawn quite differently for us than it is for religious people, who are usually only called “militant” if they are harming others. I’ve never even heard of aggressive proselytizers, like Mormons, referred to as “militant.”

    Using the word in relation to feminism or atheism isn’t a way of describing us as violent; it’s a way to marginalize us and allow others to ignore what we have to say by making it sound like we’re a radical fringe group instead of peaceful, reasonable people.

    In the case of an atheist who turns to violence in a way directly related to their atheism, I would absolutely have no problem with someone using the term “militant atheist” – but that’s not how it’s being used.

  • Siamang

    Sarah is right on.

    The cartoon is about what rates the word “militant”.

  • Beckster FTW!

  • The militant atheist should be on the computer debating a Christian in an online forum, in my opinion. You know…”forcing” his non-belief onto others.

  • Dallas

    SarahH–Eloquently said. Thanks for your post!

    Thanks also to Hemant for posting the catroon, which made me smile (I needed that).

    Beckster–I’m not sure the guy is depressed so much as lost in philosophical thought. (Or, maybe, stoned.)

  • Larry Huffman

    Sarah hit the nail on the head. Very well said.

    You know…if you think about it, the religious have a totally different word for members of their faith who have the ‘militantism’ of the ‘militant atehist’. They call them devout. A devout christian is roughly the same thing as a militant atheist. Passionate and outspoken about their views and beliefs.

    Maybe we should drop the word militant and call them Violent-Christians and Violent-Muslims. It fits, and that way it cannot be turned around on some guy like me giving theists shit in forum. 🙂

  • Mmmm brown ale…

    Excuse me for a bit while I run over to my refrigerator. I guess I must be militant since I like a good wheat beer with some good color.

  • Honestly? Looks like Root Beer. I hope it’s A&W…

    I wish it were darker so I could claim Guinness. Mmmmm, Guinness…

    Yeah, that sums up the militant atheist, alright: Sitting at a bar by themselves, drinking because no one but the bottom of the glass seems to want to listen to reason…

  • Bob

    Most of the Athiest’s I know are pretty laid back.

    Because of that, they are not interested in forcing their non-belief’s on people who are stuck in a belief system.

    My guess, that is probably a cold beer in his glass. 🙂

  • TDD

    A few thoughts come to mind:

    1. Not that I’d agree with doing this, but if we want to play the caricature game like the comic does, we simply need to put a picture of someone like Josef Stalin below the words “Militant Atheist.” Yes, it’d be unfair to do this, but that’s the point.

    2. More importantly, the real question is not whether atheists are moral or immoral, but whether they have the grounds or justification to be moral or immoral. Let’s agree, for instance, that many if not most atheists behave more morally than many if not most theists. Fine and good. But given an atheistic worldview such as evolutionary naturalism or scientific pantheism, on what basis does the atheist justify his or her moral behaviour in the first place?

    3. Finally, have a look at atheist philosopher Peter Singer’s comments here:

    Singer’s beliefs have led him places where few others are willing to go. He has suggested, for example, that parents who give birth to a hemophiliac might be better off killing it, especially if they could replace that dead infant with one who would be “likely to have a better life.” Singer often complains, with justification, that his comments on such issues are exaggerated and taken out of context. So it might be best to let him present the argument himself:

    When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second. Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him.

    Few people will ever consider infants replaceable in the way that they consider free-range chickens replaceable, and Singer knows that. Yet many of those who would never act on his conclusions still agree that if an infant really had no hope of happiness, death would be more merciful than a life governed by misery.

    In this sense, then, aren’t ideas more dangerous than guns, since it’s ideas that often lead to the sorts of tragedies we’ve witnessed in history? And, in my view, certain forms of Islam, Christianity, and atheism all espouse potentially dangerous ideas.

  • Why is the atheist white? Does anyone else think he kinda looks like Adrian Hayter?

  • Doug

    I consider myself a faith healer. I heal people of their faith.

  • bryan

    just because the atheists in the USA have not (yet) killed, doesn’t make atheism innocent. see, for instance:

    atheism has arguably more bloodshed to account for in the last century than all other dogmas combined.

  • /b/
  • Nick Chandler

    I suggest you change the beer to a computer. Each is showing that persons “weapon” except the atheist. The atheist’s weapon is knowledge.

  • Doug

    Bryan, those were not atheists that did that, they were communists, which is a sort of religion when you look at it. A true atheist pretty much doesn’t give a crap what anyone else does. For instance, I am a sacrilegious atheist. In other words, I don’t really care what you do, but I will mock your dumb ass. Can’t fix stupid. Also, think about it. Zombie’s won’t go into churches because there’s no food. BRAAAIIIINSSSSSSS!!!!!!

  • xznophod

    I believe the Whites defined the Soviet issue as religious.

  • dster

    well said.

  • Bob

    TDD: to rebuttal your claims

    1. Just because a person was an atheist does not imply that the actions taken by that person are in the name of atheism. This kind of logic is the same to saying a person collects stamps, so when he kills someone, its his stamp obsession that motivated him. The two have no correlation to each other. Similarly, your argument of Stalin holds no grounds.

    2. This statement basically says nothing. To rephrase your “argument:” a person who believes in Christianity holds his morals on a set of stories and folktales written by hundreds of fanatics, and uneducated people in the past. A person who reasons argues that killing is wrong based on the foundation of reasoning and logic. Where is the problem here?

    3. Now it is your last sentence that I can certainly agree with. Well said. However, if you are going to present arguments on the dangers of all religions and atheism, please do so in a fashion that actually has some basis on reality and logic.

  • fetisov

    Atheist “humor” is nearly as bad as right wing attempts to be funny, either because only a militant (thereby unfunny) atheist would bother with such a pursuit, or because it’s too boring a topic to begin with–I’m not sure which. I’ve been an atheist for over twenty years and can’t recall ever wanting to talk about it, since there’s nothing to talk about–literally nothing. Cultivate variety in your lives and leave behind this petty intolerance…it’s a waste of time, like religion, and worse, it turns you into zealots and boorish tools no one else can stand. Plus it’s wrecking the Reddit main page, Seacrest out.

  • violent atheist

    It is sad that the third militant is so afraid of weaponry. Does he forget a “si vis pacem, para bellum rule”?

  • Patrick

    I think what a lot of people need to realize is that the more recent surge of “militant” atheism is a natural response to the surge of religion in media and politics.
    Frankly, I couldn’t have really cared less about other people’s concept of “God” for most of my teen years and young adulthood. However, the intolerance being preached by many religious people and the rise of fundamentalism scares the piss out of me. It makes me very concerned for the future of my children and our species.

  • JLO

    fetisov, you are my favorite atheist ever! Those “militant” atheists are just as bad as all the religious zealots

  • I’ll further Bob’s rebuttal of TDD, we could characterize Adolf Hitler as very favorable if not adopting the Christian faith but that would be unfair. Notice that what’s being identified here are anonymous and wide spread groups of fringe factions within major denominations.
    Being an athiest, I’d characterize the militant atheist as someone like richard dawkins who can’t seem to shut up about it. Honestly, to all you other atheists, why can’t we just leave the argument? Taking away the legitimacy of it in the first place would be a vital step in sending these groups the way of the dinosaur.

  • Ancalagon

    TDD: You sound like someone who has not even the remotest familiarity with “ethics”.

    If you knew anything about it then you would not be skeptical about the ability of atheists to make principled moral judgements.

    And let me ask you: How do you propose to justify following any one of the multitude of possible ‘scriptures’, and having chosen, how will you justify which chapters of that self-contradictory nonsense to throw out?

    As for Peter Singer: Firstly, by mentioning him you actually refute your own rhetorical point, because despite being an atheist, his moral judgements *have* been derived in a principled manner after all.

    Secondly, it’s idiotic to imply that Singer’s moral judgements follow from his atheism. No moral consequences whatsoever can be inferred from God’s non-existence. Hence, whatever morality an atheist subscribes to will have arrived at totally independently of their being an atheist. Look at someone like Thomas Nagel – also an atheist – whose views are completely different from Singer’s (and more concordant with everyday intuition).

  • Francis

    I can’t believe anybody us still pushing the nonsensical claim that only the bad guys like Stalin are atheists.

    Marx and Hitler were both products of a Protestant Lutheran culture.

    The Communism of the Soviet Union was a religion that just substituted one mysticism for another – replacing “God” with “historical determinism.” Antagonism towards Christianity was hostility to a rival religion. Like Russian Orthodox Christianity, Soviet Communism’s first requirement was belief in it and its foremost ethical demand was obedience.

    As for Hitler, he was a Roman Catholic who never repudiated his faith. The Nazis proudly displayed Martin Luther’s books at their Nuremberg rallies.

    The worst Holocaust in history was when Christians massacred Christians, and while the Nazi attempt didn’t even come close to eradicating Judaism, the Albigensian Crusade exterminated forever and totally the Cathar culture.

    Christians are the last people in the world qualified to lecture others for murderous social behavior.

  • Stalin

  • @ Francis

    Hitler was not a Lutheran, not even by culture. Catholicism was strong in Germany during Hitler’s reign. He was a professed Roman Catholic….till his death.

    You would be surprised how easy it is to find that out using some type of search engine.

  • Lancelot

    Even Plato knew the dangers of militant atheism. Take a look at Columbine and that creep that killed Amish girls. In the last century over 120 million people died because of militant atheist ideas. No one still learned from that.

    The greatest Christian invention = the printing press

    The greatest atheist invention = the atom bomb.

    And as for the nihilist Hitler…Remember how deeply he was a student of Freidrich Nietzche; a militant atheist. Hitler also thought Christianity should have been stamped out.

  • DTanza

    The militant atheist is obviously planning the drink his coffee and go on a hate filled rant at anybody he sees stepping within 50 feet of a cross.

  • Ben

    Show me a comic strip that says militant atheism is a joke, and I’ll show you the regimes of Stalin and Mao.

    Heck, Hitler’s government was essentially a perversion of the principles of Darwinian evolution. “Preservation of the favored races”, and all that.

  • Malay Atheist

    If a Christian or a Muslim professes their faith out loud, they’re just being proud of their religion and it’s ok; if an atheist states his or her position out loud, even in response to the question “So what’s your religion?”, they’re simply being obnoxious and “anti-religious”.

    I’m sick of taking a passive position. I’m sick of limp-wristed atheists who regurgitate tiresome maxims like “you can’t prove a negative, nor disprove a non-falsifiable claim”. Some of us live in hyper-religious Muslim societies where atheism is automatically seen as an active denial of god’s existence instead of simply being a LACK OF BELIEF in the existence of any gods.

    Even “moderate” Muslims who don’t actively call for the death sentence for apostates at the very least support it tacitly on grounds that it counts as treason against the supra-state that is Islam.

    It’s easier for atheists living in more liberal and secular countries, but for atheists like me, militancy is more a matter of reactive self-defence rather than aggression.

  • I feel for you Malay. I feel for many of us that are in this closet. If we are not careful we will be herded into ghettos or perhaps killed in a new form of genocide or atheiocide. How long can we sit and watch? Isn’t that a mistake the Jews made early in the 20th century? First our balls are cut with this slanderous, demeaning, targeted vicious talk against the militant atheist. Then once we are all but a voice that is barely heard it will be time to round us up and dispose of us completely. It’s time to begin a new form of atheism isn’t it? Perhaps atheism needs some ammo maybe we need a military defense? Talk will not be enough against multi billion dollar corporate religions. I am afraid. But, I’m not stupid. I can learn from history.

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