Militant Atheism Exposed

Our newspapers and news stations are littered with acts from militant religious leaders. It seems like everywhere you look you see these militants abusing the innocent using a distortion of their religion for justification. However, not only do these religious militants exist in the Middle East, but also on our very own soil. Granted, the militants in the United States don’t go about killing people (at least not on the same scale as what we see in the Middle East), but they still distort religion to suit their own agendas which negatively impacts other individuals. Extreme fundamentalist movements such as the “God hates fags” campaign come to mind.

I believe that most people recognize that the religiously devout can (and sometimes do) negatively impact a harmonious society. But what about atheists? Are atheists above the “militant” label? No. In fact, some take pride in it (just google “militant atheists” and you’ll come up with a variety of t-shirt stores).

While it is certainly true that atheists have been described as militant unfairly in the past, it does not take away from the fact that there are, indeed, militant atheists. This concept is hard for some atheists to swallow because it would mean that *gasp* religion isn’t the only thing to blame for every problem!

However, not all militants (religious and atheist) incorporate violence, but many (especially in the U.S.) do so in much more indirect ways. I’ll show you what I mean…

In my view, a militant religious fanatic is one that imposes on another through irrational thinking. Using this criteria, let’s consider atheist Michael Newdow. Newdow states:

“…keeping ‘one nation under God’ would do irreparable harm to my 6-year-old daughter if she was forced to utter such repugnant language. Even if she remained silent while the rest of the class recited the Pledge, the mere mention of “God” in a classroom would scar the girl for life.”

Is Newdow imposing on others through irrational thinking?  Yeah.

Now I am not here to discuss whether or not “under God” should be in the Pledge, such an argument will just go in circles and be a waste of time. The message is that “militant-ism” does not lie solely with the religious, but also with the irreligious. Looking at this from a bigger perspective clearly shows that the problem lies not with institutions, but with humanity.  The sooner we can recognize this, the sooner the we can begin to address the issues.

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2 Responses

  1. I think the quote there is naturally extremely exaggerated, but it’s not representative. And if you want to expose something, then you need a little more punch. Compare: If I found a similar quote by a Christian man who said that his child would be scarred for life without prayers at school, that would rank at 3 on the 1-10 religious extremist scale. It would just represent a run of the mill evangelical loony.

    I think the problem with many people is that they say that the Atheists are just another type of fanatic, conveniently forgetting that no modern Atheist bears any resemblance to religious fanatics. You mentioned the Phelps. Do you know of any Atheists that are picketing funerals? “There goes another believer. Good riddance!” Ed Hussain, who recently wrote “The Islamist” said something to the extent that on the one side, there are wahhabi fanatics an on the other side, there’s people like Richard Dawkins. But that’s grossly unfair.

    We’re rallying a cause, but the cause here is a little different from other causes because our opponents have declared themselves – or their cause – to be holy. By doing this, we become militant and blasphemous by merely voicing our opinions. There’s been released religious books all the time, and suddenly 5-6 Atheists write books too, after years of Islamic religious terror, and anti-scientific zealotry from the religious right – and suddenly we’re the militants!

    I don’t have so much time now, but I think a very good piece I’ve seen in this subject is “Those fanatical atheists” by Dan Gardiner:

    http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/columnists/story.html?id=62d4e647-9088-47dc-8a46-6397e3a6e30d

    As for Militant Atheist T-shirts, please come to my blog for details! 😀 But seriously, when Atheists start to use the term, it’s a bit like when blacks use the N-word. (I’m a bit shy when it comes to wearing such T-shirts myself though.)

  2. Hi Strappado,
    thanks for the comments! I expect to see a picture of you sporting one of those t-shirts soon! haha jk 🙂

    You make a good point…the term “militant atheist” is really something that came out of the more fundamentalist (close minded?) sects of religion. I used it in my write-up just b/c of it’s familiarity.

    Also, another goal of my post was to demonstrate that we need to elevate above labels and man-made categories to address problems more effectively. I focussed on “militant atheists” because over the past weeks I have heard the same-old banter (from atheists) regarding the problems religion has caused in history. Granted it has, but it certainly isn’t the only cause. In the end, human egos are to blame!

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