Atheists Criticizing Religion, especially Islam

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by Neil Godfrey

I liked these paragraphs by Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism:

I’ve written a lot about my disagreements with Islam (which are, I shouldn’t have to add, no different in kind from my disagreements with other faiths). However, I hope I’ve always been clear that whatever philosophical or theological differences we have with each other, those conversations have to be built on a bedrock of mutual respect for human rights. When we criticize religion, it should always be centered on protecting the vulnerable and ending suffering and injustice – not on finding an excuse to proclaim our tribe’s superiority or a justification to banish the other from our sight.

That’s a balance the atheist community hasn’t always gotten right, and that alone ought to give us a reason for self-reflection. As I’ve said before, Muslims are human beings who deserve the same rights as everyone else. Anyone who’s willing to abide by the laws of a secular society should have the freedom to live wherever they choose and practice their own faith as their conscience directs them.

It’s times like these that we need to stand in solidarity with them and make it clear that we don’t condone bigotry of any kind. If that means we need to offer our support and protection even to those we have sharp disagreements with about theology, so be it. If anyone ever thinks that anything I’ve written justifies prejudice against Muslims, let alone terroristic violence, they haven’t listened to a word I’ve said.

Dystopia Journal #27: Horror in New Zealand

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Neil Godfrey

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One thought on “Atheists Criticizing Religion, especially Islam”

  1. This is great and comforting to read – to see there are people who are willing to focus on the commonality of humanity rather than the difference of faith.

    I tend to find another little pattern in behaviour, but I can’t quite understand why this might be the case. When it comes to any other subject proximity of ideas/concepts engenders a closeness and friendliness between people who represent the two positions. But with theology/faith/religion the opposite trend is observed. The closer the heterodoxy seems to fuel the greater disassociation. It might be on account of making those tiny differences more significant in order to ensure adherents remains on “my side of the fence” – I don’t know. Islam tends to have a unique position in the world of faiths that it seems, purely from a dogma point of view, to attract a lot of criticism and caution from others.

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