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Anti-theist murders three Muslim students in North Carolina

QinguQingu Registered User regular
NYT:
The shooting, which left three Muslim students dead, occurred Tuesday around 5 p.m. and according to two 911 calls that came in just after the incident, five to 10 shots had been fired.

The three victims, one man and two women, were of Arab descent, and photos on Facebook show the two women wearing head scarves, leading to speculation on Twitter and Facebook, much of it with the hashtag #muslimlives matter, that the killings might have been a hate crime.

But a statement released by the Chapel Hill police said, “Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking," adding that the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks was “cooperating with investigators.”

The suspect identifies as an "anti-theist" on his Facebook page and has spoken out against Christians and Muslims. One of the victim's father says the man has harassed them before. There isn't much information to go on yet, but it seems to me that a parking dispute is an unlikely explanation for a triple murder; it certainly is possible that this was a hate crime.

Richard Dawkins, as I guess the face of the "atheist" movement, has condemned the killings on Twitter but then some of his other tweets bother me quite a bit:





It's true that anyone who murders three people because of their religious beliefs is unhinged, but this also feels like a deflection. So does the inevitable "atheism isn't an ideology, it's a lack of a belief" and "atheists aren't centralized so there's nothing to take responsibility for."

There is an atheist community, diverse it may be, and it's based around the idea that a group of people is wrong about something important. It's not hard for human beings to go from "X group of people are wrong" to "X group of people are lesser people." And it's not hard to go from there to treating such people as subhumans. It's true that only fools would make these leaps of logic, but obviously there are dumb atheists. And there are disturbed atheists. And there are mean and hateful atheists. (I recently learned that MRA's have made huge inroads into the atheist Internet community, which is infuriating.)

As someone who would probably qualify as an "anti-theist," and a pretty divisive one at that, I guess I’d like to discuss how atheists can help prevent things like this from occurring. (Even if it turns out religion had nothing to do with this instance.) Is it possible to criticize religious belief while making it clear—clearer than it has been made—that the people who hold such beliefs must never be dehumanized? Particularly Muslims, who are already a vulnerable minority?

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  • Captain MarcusCaptain Marcus now arrives the hour of actionRegistered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    As someone who would probably qualify as an "anti-theist," and a pretty divisive one at that, I guess I’d like to discuss how atheists can help prevent things like this from occurring.

    Thoroughly condemn it and denounce it as the work of a madman, because it clearly is. Religious beliefs (or the lack thereof) are no reason to murder another human being, and anyone who does so is seriously disturbed.
    Is it possible to criticize religious belief while making it clear—clearer than it has been made—that the people who hold such beliefs must never be dehumanized? Particularly Muslims, who are already a vulnerable minority?

    There was a knock-down drag-out fight in the Middle East thread skirting around this topic, and I personally don't believe it's possible. It doesn't really matter what you believe as far as religion goes (or if you don't believe in it at all)- if you talk to someone else about their religion and it's not what you believe? There's this little tiny voice in the back of your head saying "this person's an ignorant dumbass" and they've got their tiny voice in their head too.

    It certainly explains why r/Atheism, the Catholic Church, and the Islamic theocracies are so smug- in their minds they're already one up on the other person.

  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington he.him.his History-loving pal!Registered User regular
    Pretty sure you can have respect for a person as a person, even if you find it hard to respect their beliefs. I thought that was a pretty core tenet of humanism.

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  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    It's true that anyone who murders three people because of their religious beliefs is unhinged, but this also feels like a deflection. So does the inevitable "atheism isn't an ideology, it's a lack of a belief" and "atheists aren't centralized so there's nothing to take responsibility for."

    Anti-theist is an ideology though.

    But I don't think it has anything to do with atheism.

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  • AsokolovAsokolov Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    The fact that he targeted three Muslims instead of three Christians for murder makes it seem like atheism was not the primary motive behind his crimes, which seems more likely based on pervasive hate specifically against Muslims in US society (if he just wanted to kill religious people in general, Christians would seem to be the far more common target in the United States, personal proximity to his neighbors notwithstanding). Hate crime is serious, the fact that people are murdered in the US for being Muslim should be seen as about the same as similar murders targeting other oppressed groups in US context. Basically, Islamophobic discourses need to be challenged as such, but I'm pretty sure that civil rights would not really be defended by, for instance, avowed jingoist supporters of drone strikes that mostly kill innocent Muslim civilians, or people who openly defend profiling on the basis that 'Muslims are not a race' (Bill Maher). A secular Islamophobia is as dangerous or more dangerous than a Christian Islamophobia, in that secular bigotries can be more efficiently oppressive than religious bigotries, compare Nazism to prior European anti-Jewish discourses. Nazism was not really a Christian discourse but of course made extensive use of entrenched Christian Judeophobia (Nazis were weird mystical neo-pagans but depended on a conservative Christian society to enact systematic oppression against Jews). Similarly a secular capitalist elite in the US promotes its own secular western Islamophobia alongside the entrenched Christian fundamentalist Islamophobia, both of these empowering the same processes. Islamophobia is basically a/the foundational basis for 'western civilization' as such as that's presently understood; the US did not have an extensive deep set of interactions with Islam until recently, although Hollywood fed very steady anti-Arab images to US audiences for many decades before that time. Untangling Islamophobia from a belligerent post-9/11 America in which Muslims are constantly identified publicly as people who can be killed off in large numbers without any moral consequence would seem impossible.

    Asokolov on
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    I know for a fact you can like and respect people while also thinking their beliefs are crap. I had plenty of Catholic and Mormon friends when I was in the Navy, and even a Muslim friend (not a huge number of Muslims go submarine for some reason, they are probably not stupid and or crazy enough).

    But of course it's much easier to respect someone despite not liking their religion when you, you know, actually know them as a person and not just as a person attached to a religion.

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Asokolov wrote: »
    Islamophobia is basically a/the foundational basis for 'western civilization' as such as that's presently understood...

    Nah.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Pretty sure you can have respect for a person as a person, even if you find it hard to respect their beliefs. I thought that was a pretty core tenet of humanism.

    I think that is very hard to do when you build a personal identity around being opposed to a set of beliefs.

    Being an anti-theist... as instead of say an atheist, secular humanist, skeptic, strong agnostic, or any of the multitude of other thing people who don't believe in deities can be...

    It seems a footing that lends itself poorly to tolerance.

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  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington he.him.his History-loving pal!Registered User regular
    Maybe, but I'm sure they can still tolerate the person and be against that belief. Maybe a version of hate the sin, not the sinner?

    I guess I haven't run into many anti-theists in my time. Plenty of the other categories you listed, though.

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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Asokolov wrote: »
    The fact that he targeted three Muslims instead of three Christians for murder makes it seem like atheism was not the primary motive behind his crimes, which seems more likely based on pervasive hate specifically against Muslims in US society (if he just wanted to kill religious people in general, Christians would seem to be the far more common target in the United States, personal proximity to his neighbors notwithstanding). Hate crime is serious, the fact that people are murdered in the US for being Muslim should be seen as about the same as similar murders targeting other oppressed groups in US context. Basically, Islamophobic discourses need to be challenged as such, but I'm pretty sure that civil rights would not really be defended by, for instance, avowed jingoist supporters of drone strikes that mostly kill innocent Muslim civilians, or people who openly defend profiling on the basis that 'Muslims are not a race' (Bill Maher). A secular Islamophobia is as dangerous or more dangerous than a Christian Islamophobia, in that secular bigotries can be more efficiently oppressive than religious bigotries, compare Nazism to prior European anti-Jewish discourses. Nazism was not really a Christian discourse but of course made extensive use of entrenched Christian Judeophobia (Nazis were weird mystical neo-pagans but depended on a conservative Christian society to enact systematic oppression against Jews). Similarly a secular capitalist elite in the US promotes its own secular western Islamophobia alongside the entrenched Christian fundamentalist Islamophobia, both of these empowering the same processes. Islamophobia is basically a/the foundational basis for 'western civilization' as such as that's presently understood; the US did not have an extensive deep set of interactions with Islam until recently, although Hollywood fed very steady anti-Arab images to US audiences for many decades before that time. Untangling Islamophobia from a belligerent post-9/11 America in which Muslims are constantly identified publicly as people who can be killed off in large numbers without any moral consequence would seem impossible.

    Christianity is so common in American that is the norm.

    If I am an American who hates religious people, it is going to be easier to identify religious people who stand out more by nonstandard dress, behavior, and other aspects.

    A Sikh or hasidic Jew or Amish or whatever would possibly also, and have in the past, made tempting targets. Cause they stand out.


    Or not.

    Cause specific intolerance of Islamic people is quite widespread. Just, not definitely the only motivator in this case.

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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Maybe, but I'm sure they can still tolerate the person and be against that belief. Maybe a version of hate the sin, not the sinner?

    I guess I haven't run into many anti-theists in my time. Plenty of the other categories you listed, though.
    This has always seemed obvious to me, and I'm sure it is to most atheists (and people in general)—but now I am worried the idea is getting lost or ignored in the discourse. I don't know what goes on on the reddit atheism board; I can't imagine a bunch of people talking about nothing except how much they dislike religion is very conducive to tolerating religious people.

    I also worry that power dynamics are not being taken into account. For example, Dawkins describes religion as a delusion and a disease. I've always thought that was maybe a bit strong but since atheists were the "underdogs," it was fine—Christians could learn to deal with some hurt feelings. But now it seems that atheists are not really so much underdogs anymore, and this language also applies to Muslims who clearly have a lot more to worry about than getting their feelings hurt.

    Qingu on
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    This could definitely turn out to be a hate crime. But it's also possibly not. As I mentioned in the police thread, neighbor conflicts can and do turn into murders. It's definitely not uncommon at all. If you'd ever had a feud with a neighbor you'd not be so quick to discount the possibility. Those sorts of conflicts can get extremely ugly. They typically follow a pattern not dissimilar from what we know happened here, where it starts with complaints, becomes harassment, then comes the vengeful property damage/vandalism/pet murder, and finally ends in murder. There is often police involvement at various points along the way which means the feud is documented, which means conviction at trial. People don't get away with it in these circumstances. Hell, there was a recent case in the next town over from me. The guy tried to invoke Alabama's stand your ground law, and he got convicted and sent to prison. A girl I went to grade school with, (this was in afluent suburban California mind you) her brother was murdered by a neighbor who was furious about his boom box (this was the 80's). Just walked over and shot the kid in his front yard, music was too loud.

    So, hate crime, maybe. Not definitely. The police charged him with murder and arraigned him so that he stays in jail while they investigate the hate crime. People calling for an instant hate-crime charge are apparently dense. Hate crime charges are very difficult to prove at trial, and won't be proven at trial with a 2 day feel-good non-investigation to make people happy.

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    I don't know very much about hate crime law, but it does seem like a neighbor dispute is more likely to turn into a murder if the murderer views the victims as "others."

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Qingu wrote: »
    I don't know very much about hate crime law, but it does seem like a neighbor dispute is more likely to turn into a murder if the murderer views the victims as "others."

    People murder their neighbors over loud music, unwanted tree-pruning, dog-poop etc.

    It's similar to road rage in that it is almost comically senseless. Ideologies of hate, though senseless in a different way, are rather different.

    All I'm really saying is "murder over a parking space" is most definitely something that can happen.

    -edit-

    The way hate-crime laws work is, if I understand correctly, if the basis for the crime is hate. If the basis for the crime was parking, then its not a hate crime. If other people who weren't muslim were also stealing this guys parking space (assuming it was even really his parking space, which I'm not) and he didn't act against them, then he'll have difficulty claiming that was his motivation.

    Regina Fong on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    Yeah, I agree it's way too early to draw any conclusions about what happened and why. It's just got me soul-searching.

  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    Just a really sad story. Touching to see so many people coming out in support.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I do think that a lot of atheists - and especially those who would bill themselves as "anti theists" - wind up coming off as assholes. It is probably a vocal minority sort of thing, though.

    That said, I have rarely seen sentiment from atheists suggesting violence against theists, certainly not in the way that the fringe theists might endorse, say, nuking the Middle East into glass. It's not something I perceive as a real problem.

    If this guy killed his neighbors for reasons that had nothing to do with religion, I think there's little to be gained from using it to open a discourse on violent atheists. Atheists are already broadly condemned and distrusted.

    And if the guy did kill the folks because of their religion, condemn it and move on. If a crazy guy thinks his dog told him to murder the mailman, you don't need to open a national discourse on pet ownership. Similarly, I don't think there necessarily needs to be a dialogue on this, beyond: "oh, wow, crazy asshole did something crazy."

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    If he killed some folks because they have religion that'd make him fairly unique

    Atheists aren't really a violent bunch, by and large

    Atheists have been murdered by religious people in America on the basis of their (lack of) belief before, more than once. I'm not really aware of any cases of the inverse? This might be one of the first

    override367 on
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    Maybe, but I'm sure they can still tolerate the person and be against that belief. Maybe a version of hate the sin, not the sinner?

    I guess I haven't run into many anti-theists in my time. Plenty of the other categories you listed, though.
    This has always seemed obvious to me, and I'm sure it is to most atheists (and people in general)—but now I am worried the idea is getting lost or ignored in the discourse. I don't know what goes on on the reddit atheism board; I can't imagine a bunch of people talking about nothing except how much they dislike religion is very conducive to tolerating religious people.

    I also worry that power dynamics are not being taken into account. For example, Dawkins describes religion as a delusion and a disease. I've always thought that was maybe a bit strong but since atheists were the "underdogs," it was fine—Christians could learn to deal with some hurt feelings. But now it seems that atheists are not really so much underdogs anymore, and this language also applies to Muslims who clearly have a lot more to worry about than getting their feelings hurt.

    How does the idea of regular meetings of athiests, where similarly minded people can get together and talk about how their understanding of god not existing relates to their own personal lives, their families and the community around them. It could serve as a sort of gathering place where people could sort of share whatever they were moved to, a way to organize greater collective action as a community and understanding beyond 'god(s) don't exist'.

    Maybe, start with fairly egalitarian humanist principles as being part of the whole thing. Build a sort of community around that.


    Basically,
    Atheist society of forumers.
    Or whatever.


    It's nice cause you can be an atheist without having to be responsible for what all the other groups of athiests are doing, while sort of creating an organization of people you can't point to and say 'see these people, when it comes to marginally important things, we stand for the same things.'

    If you get any sort of toehold going, stick by principles of tolerance, acceptance and respect for people and their lives, you don't have to worry about people with half a clue thinking you are... well... someone who would have any sort of tacit support for people or beliefs that give rise to hate crimes.


    Thinkg you wear funny hats? Confusion with groups that are totally abstinent to the point of basically dying off? I don't really have advice for dealing with those sort of things.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    I don't know very much about hate crime law, but it does seem like a neighbor dispute is more likely to turn into a murder if the murderer views the victims as "others."

    People murder their neighbors over loud music, unwanted tree-pruning, dog-poop etc.

    It's similar to road rage in that it is almost comically senseless. Ideologies of hate, though senseless in a different way, are rather different.

    All I'm really saying is "murder over a parking space" is most definitely something that can happen.

    -edit-

    The way hate-crime laws work is, if I understand correctly, if the basis for the crime is hate. If the basis for the crime was parking, then its not a hate crime. If other people who weren't muslim were also stealing this guys parking space (assuming it was even really his parking space, which I'm not) and he didn't act against them, then he'll have difficulty claiming that was his motivation.

    During the Sydney hostage crisis, in which 2 people died, over the same time period it unfolded there was a domestic dispute which turned into a shooting in which 5 people died in Colorado.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    If he killed some folks because they have religion that'd make him fairly unique

    Atheists aren't really a violent bunch, by and large

    Atheists have been murdered by religious people in America on the basis of their (lack of) belief before, more than once. I'm not really aware of any cases of the inverse? This might be one of the first

    Being a skinhead is not totally incompatible with being an atheist... Judaism is a religion...

    I think it is stretching both concepts.

    None of the antisocial little dweebs that shot up their schools? Just for the sake of worrying mommy and pa, you'd think some of them would have claimed atheist identities and motivations...

    It just seems statistically unlikely more than anything else.

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  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    If he killed some folks because they have religion that'd make him fairly unique

    Atheists aren't really a violent bunch, by and large

    Atheists have been murdered by religious people in America on the basis of their (lack of) belief before, more than once. I'm not really aware of any cases of the inverse? This might be one of the first

    Being a skinhead is not totally incompatible with being an atheist... Judaism is a religion...

    I think it is stretching both concepts.

    None of the antisocial little dweebs that shot up their schools? Just for the sake of worrying mommy and pa, you'd think some of them would have claimed atheist identities and motivations...

    It just seems statistically unlikely more than anything else.

    I'm not really sure where you're going with this. Atheism isn't an ideology, and the only thing atheists have in common is the lack of belief in a higher power. Everything else comes from the various cultural baggage etc.

    It's supremely difficult to ascribe anything more to it due to a lack of any shared dogmas etc. I don't know how people would even form groups based on that, other than as a sort of support group in a very religious area.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    redx wrote: »
    If he killed some folks because they have religion that'd make him fairly unique

    Atheists aren't really a violent bunch, by and large

    Atheists have been murdered by religious people in America on the basis of their (lack of) belief before, more than once. I'm not really aware of any cases of the inverse? This might be one of the first

    Being a skinhead is not totally incompatible with being an atheist... Judaism is a religion...

    I think it is stretching both concepts.

    None of the antisocial little dweebs that shot up their schools? Just for the sake of worrying mommy and pa, you'd think some of them would have claimed atheist identities and motivations...

    It just seems statistically unlikely more than anything else.

    I'm not really sure where you're going with this. Atheism isn't an ideology, and the only thing atheists have in common is the lack of belief in a higher power. Everything else comes from the various cultural baggage etc.

    It's supremely difficult to ascribe anything more to it due to a lack of any shared dogmas etc. I don't know how people would even form groups based on that, other than as a sort of support group in a very religious area.

    ....

    Did you quote the wrong posts, or do you think this one is implying something other than, 'it is almost weird how little violence, outside of random crazys, is committed by athiests."

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    separation of belief and identity is pretty difficult! This is something people struggle with all over the place.

    I think a lot of the issue as it pertains to religion stems from the fact that very religious people (or extremely enthusiastic atheists, I guess) go out of their way to positively make their belief system part of their identity. In sufficiently homogenous societies this winds up enshrined in custom and policy, which is why (for example) religious conservatives in the U.S. can honestly feel as though they're 'under attack' by gay marriage. It's difficult to have a mutually respectful discussion about belief systems when one side starts from the premise that they walk the One True Path. Even if you've put in the work to think yourself into a reasonably neutral place the other person probably hasn't, and if you both have you probably aren't arguing in the first place.

    in this particular case it seems likely that the acute cause of the killing was the parking dispute, and perhaps the fact that they guy had a beef with islam was an ancillary factor

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    Maybe, but I'm sure they can still tolerate the person and be against that belief. Maybe a version of hate the sin, not the sinner?

    I guess I haven't run into many anti-theists in my time. Plenty of the other categories you listed, though.
    This has always seemed obvious to me, and I'm sure it is to most atheists (and people in general)—but now I am worried the idea is getting lost or ignored in the discourse. I don't know what goes on on the reddit atheism board; I can't imagine a bunch of people talking about nothing except how much they dislike religion is very conducive to tolerating religious people.

    I also worry that power dynamics are not being taken into account. For example, Dawkins describes religion as a delusion and a disease. I've always thought that was maybe a bit strong but since atheists were the "underdogs," it was fine—Christians could learn to deal with some hurt feelings. But now it seems that atheists are not really so much underdogs anymore, and this language also applies to Muslims who clearly have a lot more to worry about than getting their feelings hurt.

    the late, great david foster wallace once wrote something on this subject that I like to keep in mind: in the end, everybody worships something. People worship money, beauty, intellect, family, safety, whatever, and in the grand scheme of things choosing to worship an amorphous celestial father figure (and associated moral teaching) is among the less objectionable options.

    dawkins' rhetorical style is a way of trying to knock religion off the pedestal it occupies in western society; you can't really have these conversations without some critical examination, which generally doesn't happen if we're all too busy going on about how respectable one another's beliefs are. So he starts with the premise of not giving or asking respect and goes from there. Conveniently, he is also a huge asshole.

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  • KilnagaKilnaga Registered User regular
    in the grand scheme of things choosing to worship an amorphous celestial father figure (and associated moral teaching) is among the less objectionable options.

    When those associated moral teachings including religious justifications for slavery, patriarchy, infant genital mutilation, as well as straight up genocide; what exactly are they less objectionable than? Because I find this stuff pretty damn objectionable.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Atheism is in the unfortunate situation where advocates for it are always working through an ideology or perspective that doesn't relate to atheism itself, while theology tends to have its own ideologies that can at least compete with whatever else a person has informing their perspective. A Christian might hold Russian Orthodox values filtered by humanism or objectivism. An atheist egoist would basically just be an undiluted egoist, but might still think that to just be atheism. And for all their issues, religions do tend to encourage basic socialization...

    Basically Dawkins' and the like's atheism is just not capable of filtering any goosery.

  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    redx wrote: »
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    redx wrote: »
    If he killed some folks because they have religion that'd make him fairly unique

    Atheists aren't really a violent bunch, by and large

    Atheists have been murdered by religious people in America on the basis of their (lack of) belief before, more than once. I'm not really aware of any cases of the inverse? This might be one of the first

    Being a skinhead is not totally incompatible with being an atheist... Judaism is a religion...

    I think it is stretching both concepts.

    None of the antisocial little dweebs that shot up their schools? Just for the sake of worrying mommy and pa, you'd think some of them would have claimed atheist identities and motivations...

    It just seems statistically unlikely more than anything else.

    I'm not really sure where you're going with this. Atheism isn't an ideology, and the only thing atheists have in common is the lack of belief in a higher power. Everything else comes from the various cultural baggage etc.

    It's supremely difficult to ascribe anything more to it due to a lack of any shared dogmas etc. I don't know how people would even form groups based on that, other than as a sort of support group in a very religious area.

    ....

    Did you quote the wrong posts, or do you think this one is implying something other than, 'it is almost weird how little violence, outside of random crazys, is committed by athiests."

    I'm not trying to imply anything. I just honestly don't really understand what you've been trying to say. Probably a failure on my part, as I'm currently reading the thread on a phone and I always miss stuff when doing that.
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Atheism is in the unfortunate situation where advocates for it are always working through an ideology or perspective that doesn't relate to atheism itself, while theology tends to have its own ideologies that can at least compete with whatever else a person has informing their perspective. A Christian might hold Russian Orthodox values filtered by humanism or objectivism. An atheist egoist would basically just be an undiluted egoist, but might still think that to just be atheism. And for all their issues, religions do tend to encourage basic socialization...

    Basically Dawkins' and the like's atheism is just not capable of filtering any goosery.

    It's pretty easy to dismiss the geese. When an atheist attributes anything other than the lack of belief to atheism, you know they're mixing things up. It's one reason I never really got the hang of some of these cliques.
    Now, there's a whole bunch of ethical/philosophical/whatever ideologies that people can relate to, and the honest ones mention those first and foremost as influencing their opinions.

    Rhan9 on
  • MulletudeMulletude Registered User regular
    If he killed some folks because they have religion that'd make him fairly unique

    Atheists aren't really a violent bunch, by and large

    Atheists have been murdered by religious people in America on the basis of their (lack of) belief before, more than once. I'm not really aware of any cases of the inverse? This might be one of the first

    I strongly doubt this happened because they have religion.

    Reality is more like A.) He actually did kill them over parking. B.) He's racist and parking was an excuse to harass and eventually murder them.

    Any reason is horrid but the idea that it was an idealogical 'they must die because they have (any) religion' is prob the least likely by a wide margin.

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  • rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    OP kinda stuck in my craw a bit because with the charley thing we had a ton of people pointing out that Muslims didn't have to apologize for the actions of people of their faith but this (which mind might not have had anything to so with Atheism) is different.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    Maybe, but I'm sure they can still tolerate the person and be against that belief. Maybe a version of hate the sin, not the sinner?

    I guess I haven't run into many anti-theists in my time. Plenty of the other categories you listed, though.
    This has always seemed obvious to me, and I'm sure it is to most atheists (and people in general)—but now I am worried the idea is getting lost or ignored in the discourse. I don't know what goes on on the reddit atheism board; I can't imagine a bunch of people talking about nothing except how much they dislike religion is very conducive to tolerating religious people.

    I also worry that power dynamics are not being taken into account. For example, Dawkins describes religion as a delusion and a disease. I've always thought that was maybe a bit strong but since atheists were the "underdogs," it was fine—Christians could learn to deal with some hurt feelings. But now it seems that atheists are not really so much underdogs anymore, and this language also applies to Muslims who clearly have a lot more to worry about than getting their feelings hurt.

    the late, great david foster wallace once wrote something on this subject that I like to keep in mind: in the end, everybody worships something. People worship money, beauty, intellect, family, safety, whatever, and in the grand scheme of things choosing to worship an amorphous celestial father figure (and associated moral teaching) is among the less objectionable options.

    dawkins' rhetorical style is a way of trying to knock religion off the pedestal it occupies in western society; you can't really have these conversations without some critical examination, which generally doesn't happen if we're all too busy going on about how respectable one another's beliefs are. So he starts with the premise of not giving or asking respect and goes from there. Conveniently, he is also a huge asshole.

    Hmmm...

    Is there anything to indicate that a professed belief in and faithfulness too an abrahamic god prevents or even discourages worship at those other alters?

    I mean, you add beer and wine and cheese to the list(which already includes intellect, safety and beauty(and people fraternity)), and even most monastic life would be easily questioned.


    More over, people use their faith as an excuse for really pretty awful things, all falling into those other more material motivations. Man as spent centuries carrying out wars that were based in/defended by religion. Individuals where pretty typically motivated by, or at least heavily rewarded with, land treasure power and status.


    Not only do I find that it doesn't prevent those other forms if worship to be true, it has the capacity to make them worse.


    Even in their rawest most hedonistic forms, are the other things so intrinsically bad? It is hard to imagine a modern culture so based, more so, around beauty that it would pauperize itself to the degree of those that built various religion monuments/cathedrals.

    Meh... I go to SoCal in a couple weeks(the O fuck C) and expect to find it annoying, but I not actually deleterious to my heath and I think we can keep an embassy open in that strange hedonistic backwater without worrying about the staff being murdered.

    So would say there are issues with that argument...or whatever the appropriate term is.

    Shrug... Various sects of eastern religions may also take issue with all of these forms of worship, and the idea that they are a required part of the human experience? Like, they'd all seem to keep one tied to, desirous of, illusions like money and salvation.

    They moistly come out at night, moistly.
  • MillMill Registered User regular
    I'm waiting for details on this one. On the preliminary, I'm leaning more towards this has nothing religion and possible nothing to do with race. From what I understand, this was a dispute over parking and I can completely buy the idea of some dip shit losing their cool, grabbing their firearm and killing someone over a fucking parking space.

    If there is a broader issue to be discussed here, it's not going to be islamophobia in the states, which is an issue in the US. I have an American-Indian in-law who was attacked by bigoted assholes shortly after 9/11 because to the asshole racists, think anyone with certain skin color are all Muslims, even if that doesn't match reality. He also had some old racist asshole, walk up to him as he was finishing parking his care and tell him to get the fuck out of the country last fall because the asshole assumed he was a Muslim immigrant (funny thing is, dude was born in the US).

    Now that last incident segues nicely into my next point because as the piss ant racist was walking off. A young gentlemen walked up to him apologized for the treatment that my in-law suffered and suggested that he really should beat the shit out the racist dude. My in-law said that he wasn't going to do so because that is the wrong response. Sadly, in the US, we still have elements of our shitty patriarchal heritage influencing how our society behaves and one of those shitty remnants is "might makes right." For any slight, be it legitimate or perceived, the "strong" response is to not take that and beat up someone for drawing one's ire because being reasonable is considered weak. Throw in how easy guns are to get a hold, on top of it being easy to kill someone with a firearm. One an get the recipe, where someone that isn't a fucking bigot, will gun someone down over some really fucking stupid shit because "it's my parking sport and I have the right to murder people over it!"

    Granted the toxic US gun toxic and can make that scenario so much worse because it's fucking appalling. So it's not why I'm not leaning towards dismissing racism altogether, but I do think the "he killed because they were Muslim, is reaching." Sure it sells headlines, but I get the distinct impression that he would have killed them if they weren't Muslim and maybe even if, they were as white bread as an individual can get. I'm wondering how the NRA and their ilk will shit all over this story because it's a pretty great example of why the saying "an armed society is a polite society," is such fucking bullshit.

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    rockrnger wrote: »
    OP kinda stuck in my craw a bit because with the charley thing we had a ton of people pointing out that Muslims didn't have to apologize for the actions of people of their faith but this (which mind might not have had anything to so with Atheism) is different.
    Well, I was involved in that discussion, and it's interesting that the idea of people needing to "apologize" for the actions of their ideological brethren is itself a conflation of individuals and beliefs. I agreed that Muslims did not need to apologize; at the same time I argued that the ideology of Islam is worth examining and criticizing.

    I'm not going to retread that argument here because that would be grotesque after what just happened, but I do think the same thing applies to the atheist subculture, such as it is. For example, I don't think Dawkins needs to apologize for what happened, but I do worry that his characterization of religion as a "delusion" and a "disease" may serve—unintentionally—as a justification for a subset of atheists to feel superior, and flat-out hate religious people. When the targets are Muslims, who already face widespread hatred, this language may be especially dangerous.

    I guess what I am realizing is that discourse against religiosity that seems, to me, to be academic and unemotional, or snarky at worst—my own discourse definitely included—may in fact serve as ammunition for more hateful or disturbed people.

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    So long story short, I know a few (white, Christian) people that live in the area and this guy was known as a crazy loose cannon who had similar altercations with neighbors in the past. Not saying that islamophobia isn't a problem in the area, the whole thing over Duke Chapel holding services for islamic students was abhorrent. It does seem like all the evidence so far says that in this case, however, a cigar really was just a cigar.

    Jealous Deva on
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    So long story short, I know a few (white, Christian) people that live in the area and this guy was known as a crazy loose cannon who had similar altercations with neighbors in the past. Not saying that islamophobia isn't a problem in the area, the whole thing over Duke Chapel holding services for islamic students was abhorrent. It does seem like all the evidence so far says that in this case, however, a cigar really was just a cigar.

    Yeah. It's starting to look like this guy was mentally ill, well-armed and primed to kill somebody. The victims just had the bad fortune to be the people who lived directly above him.

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Atheism is in the unfortunate situation where advocates for it are always working through an ideology or perspective that doesn't relate to atheism itself, while theology tends to have its own ideologies that can at least compete with whatever else a person has informing their perspective. A Christian might hold Russian Orthodox values filtered by humanism or objectivism. An atheist egoist would basically just be an undiluted egoist, but might still think that to just be atheism. And for all their issues, religions do tend to encourage basic socialization...

    Basically Dawkins' and the like's atheism is just not capable of filtering any goosery.
    I think it's a bit more complicated. Atheism isn't an empty set; it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. And it's not hard to see how this position dovetails with a "sheeple" mentality.

    This Vox article about an MRA fellow is what got me thinking about this.
    "I think religion is probably one of the biggest threats to society," Max says. "I think feminism and statism and all of that — it's not explicitly about God, but it's definitely the same religious impulse, you know?"

    For Max, religion is something of a starter pack for a lifelong indoctrination into Big Lies. "I know it isn't realistic or anything, but I think if we got rid of religion, that whole kind of way of thinking about things, where you just subscribe to what you're told, where you believe these ridiculous statistics about women or in stuff like the wage gap." (Max has a very long explanation of the "wage gap myth," one that seems cobbled together from multiple readings of a few different blog posts.)

    It's true that there's nothing in Atheism (or, I'm guessing, Dawkins and Harris's books) that says that atheism is just one of several big lies, feminism and statism being the others. At the same time, I do think the discourse has a tendency to frame atheists as being "enlightened," at least about this one subject, and this is a problematic way to frame things because the corollary is too easy to draw that people who are "unenlightened" are dumb sheeple.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    I think atheism in particularly religious cultures tends to become an identity - being an American or Saudi Arabian atheist places you in opposition to various groups in your society, whether you think that's logical, fair, or not.

    But I think atheism in many less religious places doesn't really seem to mean anything, identity-wise. It's just the lack of religious belief that it is posited to be.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • KilnagaKilnaga Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Qingu wrote: »
    I think it's a bit more complicated. Atheism isn't an empty set; it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. And it's not hard to see how this position dovetails with a "sheeple" mentality.

    I really don't think its as complicated as you're making it out to be.

    You're framing of what constitutes atheism is the problem here. Atheism is an empty set. It is very simply the lack of belief in theistic claims and naught more. I find the wording rather disingenuous, especially given it could be applied to any group.

    Christianity, it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. Where X = (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc). Repeat ad nauseam for every other ideology under the sun.

    It can be applied to every group. Trying to peddle this sentiment off as if it applies only to atheists and not every group with a differing world view is a disingenuous attempt to atheists as "enlightened know it all types." Granted, some egoists do buy into the line. But I've seen plenty of theists who act like pious, enlightened, know-it-alls as well.

    Kilnaga on
    "The psychedelic mind is a higher dimensional mind, it is not fit for three dimensional space time."
    - Terence McKenna
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Kilnaga wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I think it's a bit more complicated. Atheism isn't an empty set; it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. And it's not hard to see how this position dovetails with a "sheeple" mentality.

    I really don't think its as complicated as you're making it out to be.

    You're framing of what constitutes atheism is the problem here. Atheism is an empty set. It is very simply the lack of belief in theistic claims and naught more. I find the wording rather disingenuous, especially given it could be applied to any group.

    Christianity, it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. Where X = (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc). Repeat ad nauseam for every other ideology under the sun.

    Well yes. And that's why many ideologies lead to identities, groups etc.

    But if the ideology is not particularly relevant to your locale or culture, it doesn't have to mean very much. Like being a Man City supporter in Mongolia is a very different thing to being one in Liverpool.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Kilnaga wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I think it's a bit more complicated. Atheism isn't an empty set; it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. And it's not hard to see how this position dovetails with a "sheeple" mentality.

    I really don't think its as complicated as you're making it out to be.

    You're framing of what constitutes atheism is the problem here. Atheism is an empty set. It is very simply the lack of belief in theistic claims and naught more. I find the wording rather disingenuous, especially given it could be applied to any group.

    Christianity, it is the position that X group of people are wrong about something important. Where X = (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc). Repeat ad nauseam for every other ideology under the sun.

    Well yes. And that's why many ideologies lead to identities, groups etc.

    But if the ideology is not particularly relevant to your locale or culture, it doesn't have to mean very much. Like being a Man City supporter in Mongolia is a very different thing to being one in Liverpool.

    Yeah. If I was back in my small Southern town, being an atheist would be a major issue and actively confrontational to the local culture, to the point where I would either have to hide it or embrace it as some form of counter-cultural statement. As a dude who works for a university in a small city, it's just another thing that I don't believe in so don't have to think or do anything much about it.

    It really only becomes an issue when dating, and even then not really. If you are a young, educated professional in a city - even a Southern American city - it's basically not a big deal. It would probably be more of an issue if I was a business professional or in some other more conservative profession where networking was my lifeblood. Even then, its not hard to hide it with vague generalities, since even a lot of "Christians" are only nominally religious.

    It's worth remembering that polling shows that only 39 percent of Americans say they go to church on a regular basis. And there's a lot of research comparing the number of churches (declining) and observed church service attendance (low) that shows that even that number is highly inflated for cultural reasons. The main thing to realize is that a lot of Americans use "religious" as a short-hand for a cluster of other desirable qualities - ethical, caring, love your family, "good person" - that is divorced from the regular practice and belief of religion.

    Phillishere on
  • rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    Qingu wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    OP kinda stuck in my craw a bit because with the charley thing we had a ton of people pointing out that Muslims didn't have to apologize for the actions of people of their faith but this (which mind might not have had anything to so with Atheism) is different.
    Well, I was involved in that discussion, and it's interesting that the idea of people needing to "apologize" for the actions of their ideological brethren is itself a conflation of individuals and beliefs. I agreed that Muslims did not need to apologize; at the same time I argued that the ideology of Islam is worth examining and criticizing.

    I'm not going to retread that argument here because that would be grotesque after what just happened, but I do think the same thing applies to the atheist subculture, such as it is. For example, I don't think Dawkins needs to apologize for what happened, but I do worry that his characterization of religion as a "delusion" and a "disease" may serve—unintentionally—as a justification for a subset of atheists to feel superior, and flat-out hate religious people. When the targets are Muslims, who already face widespread hatred, this language may be especially dangerous.

    I guess what I am realizing is that discourse against religiosity that seems, to me, to be academic and unemotional, or snarky at worst—my own discourse definitely included—may in fact serve as ammunition for more hateful or disturbed people.

    It just doesn't seem to me that Atheism does that any more than any other ideology (atheist are all immoral just to start)

    I mean, you could say that no one should do that and I would agree but it seems wrong to single atheist out when you have so many groups with actual violent rhetoric.

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