Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Same Thing

The leading atheists are very out of touch with religion, with politics, with economics and with all the other factors that lead to radicalisation. I'd say they're about 20 years out. I don't think they are necessarily racist, xenophobic or anything else I just think they are to arrogant or lazy to listen, to try to understand what is going on and to see the wider picture. I'm an atheist too. In fact, I'm an apostate of Islam. I stopped believing in Allah years ago but yet I'm not a fan of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. In fact, I dislike them and their blatant bigotry. Why?

Because I don't look for scapegoats and that's all that atheists like Dawkins and Harris do. They blame religion for social evils in the same way that other people blame heavy metal music, computer games, pornography, etc. It's all rubbish because here's the thing - people don't interpret the same things the same way. Millions of different people around the world can and do interpret the same books, the same movies, the same words differently.

There are Christians who do not believe in heaven or hell. There are Muslims who do not pray five times a day. And there are atheists who possess the same sort of irrational fundamentalist mindset that they hypocritically criticise others for. How so? Because, like the religious fundamentalists, these irreligious fundamentalists believe that there is only one correct way to interpret religions like Islam or Christianity.

The quote by Sam Harris indicates as much - "Those who adhere most strictly to the actual teachings of Islam". Well, who are we to tell a Muslim who does not believe that women are inferior that such is the "actual teaching" of Islam? Who are we tell a Christian who does not believe that sodomy is evil that such is the "actual teaching" of Christianity? Every single time an atheist quotes passages from the Bible or the Quran to demonstrate how wrong or evil those religions are, they are doing the same thing, declaring to the world at large that there can be only one way to interpret those passages and that ways happens to be their way.

When someone kills another, it is never religion, politics, music, computer games, pornography or anything else that is to blame. It's that individual person him or herself alone that should be blamed. If that person has been driven by something else, it is that person's interpretation of that something else that should be blamed. It is never accurate to say that a person has killed another because of their religion or their politics. A person has killed another because of their interpretation of their religion or their interpretation of their politics. There is no reason why other people who believe in the same religion or politics but do not share that interpretation should be blamed as well. Stop looking for scapegoats and easy targets.

Despite being an atheist, I don't hate religion because I don't think religion is necessarily bad or evil. Like any other thing out there in this world, it can be used for both positive and negative purposes. But it's not just religion. Look at political ideologies. Secular works like Das Kapital or the US Constitution have been interpreted in a multitude of different ways, just like the Bible or the Quran. Different people have different ideas of what the "right to bear arms" or the "right to free speech" means, just as different people have different ideas of what the Bible or the Quran says. There is a passage in the Quran that can be interpreted to mean that apostates like myself should be killed but I know for a fact that not every Muslim interprets that passage in that way because I'm an apostate and - surprise, I have not been killed. My Muslim family accepts my lack of faith. They do not condemn me. They do not belittle me. They do not even nag at me. They simply accept it because they are good people.

Of course, I have my own interpretation of what "good people" means. Being tolerant and accepting of those that are different is my idea of "good people". There are Muslims who support gay marriage, believe it or not. There are even Muslims who are gay themselves, believe it or not. I know from my own life and my own eyes that there are good Muslims in this world who are tolerant and accepting of those that are different to them. And unfortunately, I also know that there are atheists who are not tolerant or accepting of those that are different to them. Atheists who would paint every religious believer with the same negative brush. Fundamentalist atheists who would condemn all non-atheists in the same way that fundamentalist believers would condemn all non-believers. Atheists like Dawkins, Harris and all their zealots that would rush to defend them.

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