This time, she's talking about how mean atheists are always making fun of religious beliefs and challenging them. She also covers how people who actually believe they are right and question the beliefs of others are uncouth fundamentalists. Challenging the beliefs of others disrupts social cohesion and is totally not cool when everyone's got their own truths and they're all good.
She also talks about how all this ridiculing can lead to persecution, USSR, Communism and how all this God unbelief leads to much death. Because it was the atheism that lead to those disasters, not rampant corruption, obsession with power and religious devotion to The Party.
Oh let's not forget Mr Putin and his chumminess with the Russian Orthodox Church that has led to all manner of human rights violations. Or Nigeria. Or Uganda. Truly, those must be exceptions to the rule.
Incidentally, to illustrate her point on this, she provides a link to a definition of militant atheists from Conservapedia. Conservapedia is the Trustworthy Encyclopedia that has a fascinating and oh so scientific article linking obesity to atheism.
The One Thing Atheists and Fundamentalists Have in Common
Let's just cut to the conclusion for now.
... It's the idea that it's considered acceptable, even fashionable to attack people who believe in God because in the eyes of atheists, there's something wrong with us. It's just as objectionable as proselytizing a particular religious belief.
Let's all agree to respect the beliefs (theist, deist, atheist, agnostic) of others, as long as those beliefs are compatible with Western Culture.In general, New Atheists are not attacking people who believe in God. However, I've seen it happen here and there. It depends on the particular manifestation of religion in question and what Bederman means by attack.
If someone believes crazy things for which there is no evidence whatsoever, it's possible there is something wrong with the person. Much of religion is completely irrational and ridiculous so this makes sense. However, I believe that the majority of cases are simply a lack of knowledge of metaphysical positions outside of their own. This ignorance could be unintentional or deliberately nurtured from a desire to cloister oneself away and blot out anything having to do with the secular world.
One thing's for sure. It is wrong to confuse questioning and ridiculing of one's unfounded beliefs and theories with an attack on the person - no matter how deeply held these beliefs are. At some level, we all likely believe some amount of whacky stuff. The trick is to get over the fear and defensiveness associated with open questioning and examination of your beliefs so you can cut out the crap.
Furthermore, whether it's considered acceptable or fashionable is purely secondary in this matter. One's rights are not curtailed by whether what they're saying is in some religious person's realm of good taste.
And look, who says there is anything objectionable with people proselytizing their beliefs? If one really believes that I am hell-bound for my lack of belief, is it not reasonable for them to do everything in their power to save me? I would expect nothing less. The same could be said for atheists who see religious people as utterly deluded. Who wants people living their lives and affecting other people's lives based on lies?
That said, because of competing views, a functional society must set limits. The Mormon at my door has the right to knock on it and annoy me and I have the right to send him away or lock the gate.
At base, a healthy public square is a space where ideas and arguments are free to be expressed and criticized with other ideas and arguments. No idea should be elevated above others artificially. Those who subscribe to a particular idea do not have the right to suppress others who question or ridicule them.
People have rights. Ideas do not.
Let's all agree to respect the beliefs (theist, deist, atheist, agnostic) of others, as long as those beliefs are compatible with Western Culture.No, let's not. Beliefs - as truth claims - are either true or false and aesthetically they can come in various shades that have no impact on their truth.
I have little respect for the beliefs of parents, for example, that use their religious beliefs to withhold life saving medical treatment for their children. I have no respect for their beliefs nor do I have any respect for them:
Telling another or even suggesting that their way of believing is wrong is to attack their identity, their very essence.Which makes placing your very identity into a belief that's patently wrong or ridiculous even more tragic.
By the way, I also have no respect for the belief that a man rose from the dead and is now sitting at his own right hand.
Finally, what is this Western Culture litmus test and where do we draw the line? Like the Bible, Western Culture contains a broad spectrum of beliefs that can be picked from at will. It's really a rather meaningless statement.
Speaking of meaningless statements, after quoting Bill Maher, who said that people who believe in a magic spaceman have a neurological disorder and need help, she responds.
I'm looking forward to Maher's retort to Matthew McConaughey's Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech:
"First off, I want to thank God, 'cause that's who I look up to. He's graced my life with opportunities that I know is not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates."
What does this even mean? So, Matthew McConaughey also believes in a magical spaceman. Yes, people who are religious are able to succeed and thrive. So? He's still wrong and his belief is still ridiculous.
Is it because he's an actor? Tom Cruise is a very successful actor and he believes in Thetans, e-meters and ancient atomic bombs blowing up volcanoes. What is the point here?
She goes on to speak about Dawkins.
He encourages people to not only challenge religious people but to "ridicule and show contempt" for their doctrines and sacraments.
How liberal, how open-minded of him.
Notice how he's advising to ridicule the doctrines and sacraments who feel no pain.
So what could be more liberal and open-minded than this? Imagine a world where no idea is too sacred or taboo not to be challenged; a world where people cannot be silenced by threat of breaking the feelings of those who are not themselves strong or brave enough to critically examine their beliefs.
In the end, what's more important? Finding out the truth and making decisions based on scientific facts or keeping our warm and fuzzy feelings?
I respect your right to express your beliefs and you should respect mine, no matter how sad it makes you when I disagree or laugh out loud.