The atheist, once again, is the voice of reason, compassion and empathy. When confronted tonight with the question of “What should we do with Islam?” I expressed my concerns while trying to avoid a bigoted stance. That is to say, I didn’t want to make generalizations about all Muslims, nor did I want to present an ethnocentric response to my antagonist. That said, I too, believe Islam is dangerous. Likewise, I believe that Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Neo-Paganism, Astrology, and a number of other unsubstantiated belief systems are dangerous. Not, perhaps, in the sense that I fear catastrophic or violent results as the sole derivatives thereof, but in the sense that they perpetuate disdainful behavior. That is, they exemplify their degeneracy more often by cognitive obstruction, impeding individualism and critical thinking.
I don’t want to kill people or prevent them from believing in such things, however. I just don’t want their beliefs to influence public policy; I want them to remain private. I would be lying, however, if I said that I didn’t want more people to be atheists, because I do. I think it provides individuals with the freedom necessary to live a full, rewarding and positively moral life. I would also be lying if I said that I didn’t fear catastrophically violent outcomes from their naturally divisive and intolerant beliefs. I simply refuse to advocate violence – am I the Buddhist?
Returning to my conversation, this was the Buddhist’s answer: “Kill every last one of them. Deport them from the West and Bomb the Middle East.” That’s right! The Buddhist thinks we should kill every Muslim! Now, people can argue whether or not he was a true Buddhist, but let me remind you that just as Christianity has 40,000 different denominations, Buddhism is also similarly fractioned. Likewise, Buddhism also proclaims to be a “philosophy” of peace, just as Christianity and Islam. I withheld from challenging Buddhism’s “philosophy only” predicament, by the way. Instead, I tried to illustrate the parallels between his statement and fundamental Islamic and Christian views.
First, all three – Christianity, Islam and Buddhism – claim to profess peace. All three, it appears, want to kill each other. Additionally, all three are certain that they are right. Now, should I be surprised by the Buddhist’s response? Yes, probably; but at the same time I should have expected it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard similar statements by Christians. I can’t say the same thing for Muslims because I don’t know very many, but I’ve read a lot of nasty things from the Qur’an, and I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous behavior from “moderate” Muslims in the news – remember the Muhammad cartoons and Salman Rushdie?
Anyway, theists (and Buddhists???), remember this the next time you partake in a Gallop poll: atheists, almost universally, are humanists. We aren’t the ones advocating violence, you are. Be tolerant! If you disagree with a particular worldview, do so peacefully. Is the world really so fucked up that Buddhist’s are now advocating violence? If so, then maybe we are beyond saving.