Author Topic: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?  (Read 1849 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« on: February 06, 2017, 03:16:27 PM »
At least Chris Stedman (author of Faitheist) thinks so. In a thread of tweets, he writes:

Quote from: Chris Stedman
Anti-Muslim bias has long been an issue in the atheist community, especially among our most visible advocates (often straight cis white men)

If atheists are going to come out against the #MuslimBan—and we should—we also need to grapple with our own part in this anti-Muslim climate

We need to be honest about the fact that some of the loudest voices for atheism have routinely demonized Muslims & continued to get support

They still speak at our conferences, lead our organizations, and their books continue to sell well. They are seen by many as speaking for us

Sam Harris: "We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim." Small step from that to #MuslimBan.

Dawkins: "All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages though."

David Silverman: "If you call yourself a Muslim, you legitimize all parts of Islam, including the terrorists." These are just a few examples

Many of us have been speaking out about this for years; for example, here's something I wrote back in 2012: ATHEISTS IGNORE ISLAMOPHOBIA AT THEIR PERIL

But we need more support to be heard. It's not enough to condemn anti-Muslim atheists. Please amplify atheists who offer other perspectives.

What do you think about his arguments and reasoning?
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2017, 03:26:38 PM »
Some of us are and the rest of us ought to call them out on it, I don't know what else we can do though.  We can't say, bob isn't an atheist anymore because he's an Islamo-phobe.  We can not invite him to our meetings, good luck getting everyone on board for that.  I don't think this is much different than the more virulently anti-christian atheists, except that we are mostly in the west where anti-christian rhetoric has little effect. 


Offline Beleth

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2017, 03:37:08 PM »
Islam is incompatible with atheism, is it not?

Would you ask if Muslims bear (some) guilt for an anti-atheist climate?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 04:23:27 PM by Beleth »
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2017, 04:20:11 PM »
I dont particularly think atheists should feel any guilt by default.
I think the modern zeigeist of islamaphobia has simply affected many atheists as it has others and that has expressed itself in their rhetoric.
I dont see it at all as an atheist problem. More as a culture problem.

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2017, 04:57:39 PM »
Islam is incompatible with atheism, is it not?

Would you ask if Muslims bear (some) guilt for an anti-atheist climate?

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Offline nameofthewave

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2017, 05:06:09 PM »
Sam Harris must be an absolute joy to travel with, considering that there's almost certainly several people on an aeroplane that he was travelling on that could "conceivably be Muslim". Presumably he craps himself every time he gets on a plane.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2017, 05:06:30 PM »
You cannot but always get some cause and effect but even Sam Harris is against the Muslim ban
https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/a-few-thoughts-on-the-muslim-ban/
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Offline Beleth

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2017, 04:14:49 PM »
I am against anything that attacks the person holding the horrible belief instead of the horrible belief itself.

The Harris quote Stedman repeated attacks the person. The Silverman quote is simplistic, nonsensical, and false. But the Dawkins quote is factually true, so there's no problem to be had with it.

I suppose it's one of those endgame things - "first they came for the Muslims" etc. But the enemy of my enemy is hardly ever really my friend. The enemy is authoritarianism, and a minority-led authoritarianism isn't less authoritarian than a majority-led authoritarianism just because it's led by a minority.

I expect to pass through this world but once;
any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now;
let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
-- Stephan Grellet

Offline 2397

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2017, 07:03:31 PM »
In my case I would say not at all. In the debates I've participated in, Muslims have mostly been brought up either to complain about why atheists who live in Christian majority countries don't go after Islam more, or to basically say we should treat Christianity nicely because we need it to protect against Islam. IMO the reverse is true. If we let Christianity get away with illogical, incorrect, and inhumane arguments and behavior, then we should expect that other ideologies will get away with it as well.

But then some of the people who say we need Christianity as some kind of bacterial ecosystem to protect against Muslim infection are atheists. So maybe.

Atheists are still a small minority of outspoken people in countries like the US. Nancy Pelosi spoke as if atheists are utterly irrelevant when she made a point on Morning Joe that it's important to understand that Democrats are religious and people of faith. Atheists don't have much power, don't have a lot of influence, so overall I would say look elsewhere for the primary contributions to Islamophobia.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 07:06:19 PM by 2397 »

Offline Smooth

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2017, 11:13:58 AM »
This discussion reminded me of the powerful saying:
"The Laws of United States protects the Believer. Not the Belief."

That said, I know many people of a number of faiths.  Most are not believers but find comfort in the familiar culture they were born in to.  I doubt very much that atheists are to blame for radical fundementalism of any stripe.  Much more, I will say that fundamentalism breeds more fundamentalism and "culture war" rhetoric.

Personally, and politically, I do my personal best to avoid becoming ideological. I am certainly biased, but evidence must have the final say, which makes what we accept as true dynamic and fungible.

How can that attitude be to blame for the rise of radical fundamentalism of any stripe?  That people prefer faith over evidence may turn out to be biological.  If this is the case, you can hardly blame non-theism, but instead blame the primitive organ of thought. The Brain.

Offline superdave

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2017, 11:17:24 AM »
Yes, but no more than anyone else.


Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 03:22:13 AM »
I am against anything that attacks the person holding the horrible belief instead of the horrible belief itself.

That's a really hard line to walk, especially when the belief in question is an important part of a person's self-identity, as it is with some religious believers.

I'm not saying I disagree with you, but it's a very difficult thing to do successfully.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2017, 05:03:15 AM »
I am against anything that attacks the person holding the horrible belief instead of the horrible belief itself.

That's a really hard line to walk, especially when the belief in question is an important part of a person's self-identity, as it is with some religious believers.

I'm not saying I disagree with you, but it's a very difficult thing to do successfully.

Even if imperfect, it is a good path to try to follow.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Neon Genesis

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2017, 12:49:42 AM »
When you have Dawkins going around bullying Muslim teens for days on Twitter and prominent atheists like Robert Price actually voting for Trump because of Islam, I think there is some truth to what Stedman is saying.  Certainly one can be critical of Islamic doctrines while supporting Muslim rights, and I don't think anyone is saying you shouldn't be.  But there's a bit of a difference between having a rational discussion about the problems with Islam and the kind of hysterical paranoia some of the more prominent atheist leaders have a tendency to slip into.  I found it a bit rich when I saw Sam Harris on Twitter the other week trying to blame the rise of Trump on liberals for not hating Islam more or something.  I'm glad Harris opposes the Muslim ban but I don't know how Harris reconciles his opposition to Trump with his past arguments he's made about torture and religious profiling that are well documented. 

Offline GodSlayer

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Re: Do atheists bear (some) guilt for an anti-Muslim climate?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2017, 09:18:38 AM »
I am against anything that attacks the person holding the horrible belief instead of the horrible belief itself.

same. I don't hate serial killers, I just hate their belief that serial killing is good. I'm tired of serialkillaphobia
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