Atheism, Theism, and the Anatomy of Hate
To put it bluntly, some of the language coming from the pens and mouths of atheists is the language of hate. Religion has largely succumbed to this same criticism, I admit. Humanity is the common denominator. So, I suppose I'm not surprised that atheists such as Dawkins , Harris and Onfray will not hesitate to ridicule believers, no matter what their stripe. He calls believers "faith-heads", as if teasing and bullying is going to help. I'm in agreement with lots of what Dawkins says, but scorning and ridiculing believers simply mirrors the very problem that he has with religion and its followers. Religion, atheists such as Dawkins claim, is the poison of the earth, the reason for all the troubles in the world, and so it and its adherents need to be stopped.
I think it is wrong to assert that it is faulty thinking that brings people to the battle field. It isn't opposing ideas that cause one tribe to exterminate another, or differing opinions that lead one religion to persecute another, or juxtaposed truths that lead one group to harm another. I'm one who does happen to believe that out of the fullness of a man's heart, he will speak, and out of the fullness of his heart, he will act. But I'm also convinced that it is not simply by believing a certain truth that leads one to harm another, but the disdain that it potentially leads to. Frankly, I think it is hatred of another person or group that leads to its persecution. Although ideology may be the root, the blossom is hatred, and persecution the fruit. Most people I know will check their ideology the moment any prejudicial conclusions can be drawn from it. If any "truth" leads to hatred, most people I know will question it.
So when I hear people like Dawkins, Harris, Onfray and company using language that rings of arrogance, scorn, disdain and even hatred, I seriously have to ask myself: "Can't they see that they are perpetuating the problem?" They sound just like religious zealots. I ask that we all retreat from the language of ridicule. It doesn't solve anything at all, but pours more fuel on the same old fire that we should be trying to quench. I agree that religion has been shamefully the blame for many woes. But can't we see that ideas will never benignly reign over us? Truths will not win our day. Rationalism will not bring peace on earth. It will be love, which means respect, service, humility and compassion.
I want to hear what the atheists are saying. It is important to hear. I find it helpful. I truly believe I benefit from what they are saying. But when it is soaked in scorn, I'm afraid of where it is coming from and where it will lead us to.
I want to thank the atheist site A Load of Bright for the very honorable mention in introducing his blogroll. It's dialogue like this that is hopeful.
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend, Mark Hemmings. Nothing to do with this article, but think it is strikingly gorgeous.