Since the dawn of my non-belief, I’ve read many writers. Some I used to like more back then. Like many teenagers, I’ve had a fervent period of combatting the ontological argument. Quite a crucial step for non-believers. Unlike many fellow non-believers, I never agreed with Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens on foreign policies. I believed their judgments were misguided by their lack of expertise on these matters. I still believe that to be one of their principal reason for disavowing Islam, rather than what Glenn Greenwald refers to as racist and apologist for the US’s atrocities. I don’t think these retired biology professors and self- appointed critics of religion care so deeply about profits for oil companies and weapon manufacturers. They’re driven by fear and disgust. There’s certainly some ugly crimes committed against women and non-believers by Muslims. Such an ill-founded judgment should not be met with the gross character assassination Greenwald and Aslan have put upon Sam Harris. Greenwald, someone I respect, and Aslan, someone I don’t, have a profound fear towards the subjugation of Muslims and minorities. A noble fear, but this does not mean one should endanger a person’s life. On the contrary, one should dismiss bad judgments born of fear with a cool judgment born from a lack of fear. Based on this defense, some may be curious what my stance on Islamic terrorism is. Recently, I’ve moved on from criticizing scriptures as primary sources of terrorism based on Scott Atran’s psychological data. They do have a role, contrary to Reza Aslan’s insistence that they have no role, but it is also not what Harris says it is. A scripture is written in the old days, full of violence and concerns for the well-being of its people. It influences the culture, which is then snowballed by other factors, such as Western Intervention and outdated attitudes towards Gender. A new culture is born: a mix of dirt, grass, and snow. This is my new take on terrorism.

Despite my lack of disgust towards Dawkins et al, I cannot bring myself to interact with their followers anymore. I’ve joined a Richard Dawkins group on Facebook, a few months ago, out of curiosity and the desire to learn more biology. It was my first time being exposed to other Atheists, to such a vast number, so it thrilled me very much. I learned many things, and debated passionately. I picked up on Dawkins’ brilliant contribution to biology, and cherished the welcoming of other Atheists. That is until I observed something peculiar. Whenever I would argue in a philosophical manner, I was shunned. I had to tell them many times I wasn’t an idiot who denounced Science to get the point across. Whenever posts concerning Islam surfaced, the level of hatred towards Muslims screamed through my noiseless screen. “Pigs, fascists, savages.” The former, I’ve noticed in other scientific circles. It is merely a consequence of philosophical ignorance. They just need to read more modern philosophy from the UK and the US, rather than France and its postmodern friends. The latter trend, I’ve noticed mainly in Atheist circles from YouTube comments to forums for months now. Many Atheists hate Muslims. Recently, there was a case, in which, an Atheist murdered a few Muslims in the parking lot. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins rightfully denounced it, as well as denying any connection to Atheism. They’re right. The dictionary definition of Atheism, which is the refusal to believe a God exists due to lack of evidence, does not advocate murder. The culture born from the followers of these writers has. This is why I choose to distance myself from this group; from the misogynistic Amazing Atheist I’ve repeatedly denounced in the past; from the Internet Atheists who call Muslims pigs; from Sam Harris as a religious critic. The writings of Dawkins on evolution, I still respect. The witty arguments against theologians by Harris and Hitchens, I will remember. My stance on secularism as a moral pillar, I carry on. But I do not bear with me the hatred of Muslims and mediocre analyses of terrorism. This is where the line is drawn. Beyond a herd of foul dreams. Beyond old and deluded mates.


2 thoughts on “This is where the line is drawn.

  1. I enjoyed reading your analysis. It can definitely be tricky navigating the waters of online atheist interaction. The followers can really detract from the speakers/writers on the subject. I find that these intellectuals’ stances are never quite as black and white as they at first seem. I have found Sam Harris to be very clear about what he does and does not condone, and do not recall him writing or speaking about hatred toward actual Muslims. But I could see how others might get carried away with that idea.

    Harris in particular has always seemed uncomfortable with the strict atheist categorizing, so it’s interesting to see him offer up alternative ideas. Here’s my review of his latest book if you are interested:

    Take care!


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