Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Atheism Too Extreme? Impossible.

(Originally posted by PJ in 1/2012)

This is my first post on the blog. I go by PJ on here because my name is pretty weird and easy to find through a search engine. However, I announced this post on the group's Facebook wall, so I'm not hard to find.
Anyway, the discussion at the meeting yesterday evolved a bit before I could formulate my opinion, so I decided to explain it here.
My position is that I not only believe that atheism is not extreme, but that it by definition cannot be extreme or advocate extremist violence. As atheism is simply a lack of belief in a deity, atheism lacks the order and holy books that religions have. Nonreligious agnosticism and deism cannot be extreme either based on my position.

The point brought up about the Bible, for example, having passages promoting violence really resonated with me. Atheism itself cannot have extremists based on the simple fact that there are no books an atheist is required to read in order to be atheist. There are progressive Christians and Muslims out there (like the two members speaking yesterday as well as the Muslim who spoke on behalf of the Muslim association here; I won't say their names here since I'm keeping a pseudonymous profile myself), but unless they are progressive enough to believe that violent passages should be removed from the Bible or Quran, they have to realize that an extremist of their religion can potentially use those passages to justify their views.
Ideologies an atheist may follow may or may not advocate violence, but atheism itself cannot do such a thing. I'm sure there are various cults out there which support violent acts that require a person to say that he or she is atheist, but that cult's ideology is the problem, not atheism itself. A religion that requires its followers to read books containing passages promoting violence is a religion that will always have adherents justifying violent acts based on those passages. Steven Weinberg's quote that religion can make good people do bad things is very relevant here.
I purposely kept this simple in order to facilitate discussion. Feel free to rebut my position if you think I'm wrong. Even creating a devil's advocate position is good if you think my post is too simple.

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