- Published on Sunday, 28 July 2013 07:00
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 10859
During his 2010 visit to Britain 2010, Pope Benedict talked about aggressive atheists and many columnist and Christian bloggers seem to think we are - but are we? There are some (like PZ Meyers , Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens who talk aggressively) but I've not heard of any terrorism, murders, assaults or even loud arguments involving atheists. The Church of England has joined the Pope in denouncing aggressive atheism (UK Guardian) - are they trying to pick a fight? Are the Christian Churches actively encouraging their flock to act like Muslims and go around violently attacking their "enemy"?
Atheists generally just think that believing in a religion is silly, counter-productive and frankly, not using your human ability to think clearly. If too many people actually act out what they say they believe, then the world will move backwards socially, technologically and financially. But in most of the (western) world, this does not happen - people compartmentalize their religion from their day-to-day life so religion is mostly not the problem that atheists fear. However, there is always real danger from some of the beliefs - such as "no condoms", "abuse should be covered up", "women are not equal". Atheists and other rational people need to be vigilant to counter this.
So why do people think we are aggressive? Are they afraid of being "converted"? Are they afraid of a different opinion? Why not label door-to-door proselytizers like the Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists as aggressive? Certainly many Muslims are aggressive! By this definition, there are a many people who could be called aggressive. Start with all Christian missionaries, all pastors that preach a rousing sermon, even all salesmen.
It seems that the only way to avoid the label of "aggressive atheist" is to be quiet, not speak out, not operate a blog, not take advantage of the right to free speech. Sorry, not going to happen.
Originally published on this site October 2010