Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tactics for a cause

Many atheists justify their confrontational and blatantly insulting tactics by comparison to the struggles of other causes.

Because anger has driven every major movement for social change in this country, and probably in the world. The labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, the modern feminist movement, the gay rights movement, the anti-war movement in the Sixties, the anti-war movement today, you name it... all of them have had, as a major driving force, a tremendous amount of anger.

These may sound reasonable on the surface, but we must first find out the general purposes of these causes. Let's see ... securing more rights or equality for workers, blacks, women,  and gays. The Sixties and modern anti-war protests had dubious results, at best. Those of the Sixties may have eventually turned political opinion against the draft, but also exacerbated the poor morale of the soldiers, coming home with increased drug abuse and little support. And there's no evidence that the modern protests had much positive effect either, other than perhaps an outlet for domestic frustrations.

So, can the goals of atheism be seen as securing more rights or equality for some group?

Anger, when it's directed at a real cause of mistreatment or injustice (towards yourself or towards others) is healthy, and it can be a useful, constructive motivator to change things.

This writer would have us believe that atheists are being mistreated. So what exactly do they want to change in order to address this? We already have separation of church and state, aside from the ridiculous assumption that people of certain world views should somehow refrain from allowing what they think to inform how they vote. We already have laws against discrimination based on creed. We already have a legal system through which to address criminal wrongs and civil disputes.

What many atheists want to do is restrict theist access to government, and some even want to go so far as to usurp parental rights. That is the opposite to securing more rights or equality. But somehow all of these purported intellectuals have missed this rather striking point entirely. You see, allowing people to have more rights doesn't tend to cost those who already have them anything significant. Removing rights is the sort of thing people in a free country fight against.

I'd be happy to hear from anyone who can show me what injustice is being fought with this anger.

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