Just recently I discovered various videos of Dawkins, Hitchens and Dennett on YouTube (surrounding the AAI). They echoed opinions that are similar to mine and are quite harsh in their views on religion. I rediscovered this stance for me just recently again after a long time on hiatus. Now my experience is this: arguments on the ‘crimes’ of religions and their negative views are often met with justifications and relativizations; It is suggested that a position as mine is driven by hatred and intolerance.
There is the old question: How much tolerance for the enemies of tolerance?
Also recently, I found a documentary on the German church-critic Karlheinz Deschner (unfortunately not in English yet). It was titled: “the Hatefilled Eyes of Karlheinz Deschner’. The documentary is some kind of meta-discussion on his body of work which is, alas, not yet available in english, either. He basically wrote for 30 years, alone, on the “Criminal History of Christianity’ in 10 Volumes (!), currently writing the tenth and last one. Hopefull the whole is translated when he is done.
The title “the Hatefilled ‘¦’ is a quote of one of the Christian interviewees, who also appears in regular public TV sometimes. It reflects how some of the other Christian participants think. They are quite obsessed in trying to find a reason for Deschners engagement, trying to pull Ad Hominem Arguments against him. Deschner on the other hand is a rather gentle (very) old man, speaking softly and supports his work with tons of supportive evidence. He will probably not witness how his work is received and it may appear to him that it happens what the other side wants: that his book just collects dust (one of the christian interviewee says so).
The editor of his works states that when discovering all the lies, the blood and gore, the torture and extortion, how Christian church supported a great many of the big totalitarian systems in europe, someone like Deschner is the voice of the countless victims and being scandalized at this is a natural reaction. I think so, too. Perhaps this is to be expected, really.
It is impossible in post-war Germany to look past piles of corpses and stay cool about it. The other causes and perpetrators have been identified and brought to justice, yet the Church and the religion are not only around, No, they are chipper and are happily talking about their values and their Christian love as if nothing ever happened. Nobody ever enters an objection. It sounds like their whole religion brought just peace, love and harmony. Not only that, they behave as if this is obvious. By asking for evidence, or god forbid, entering an objection, they are outraged. In the video they even go as far and claim that Christianity was in resistance against the fascistic regimes in Italy and Germany (there is pretty strong evidence to suggest that this is not true).
This is, in my view, the reason Atheists are bullied into a defensive stance, polite, rejecting the belief but silently agreeing to their benevolent religion made of golden honey and sunshine that always fought for the good and the love. And this seems fairly harmless on the surface, I guess.
But, there is no possible way to be cool about that. There were very interesting comments from the Christian interviewees. One says bascially: humans are evil. They need a god that watches over them and keeps them in check, e.g. Yaweh, etc, etc.
My own action plan is therefore:
- Restore or correct historical facts of religious authorities
- Highlight the fact that so many “Christian” groups fought hard and bitter against humanistic improvements and only when their opponents succeeded and it was widely adopted, Christians would adopt and assimilate this view as if it was their own from the beginning. Poverty, Slavery, Fascism and so forth. Hundred years into the future, the Christians (fanatics) will claim they always wanted equal rights for gays and women.
- Christianity is NOT solely about love and values. The human rights are superior and were established against the church, not with their help or consent.
- Beating them in their own game: it is morally unacceptable that anyone (God, Spirit, Demon or Human) tortures human beings for an eternity for nefarious reasons (like disbelief). This is not okay. It is frankly absurd, and also rather hideous in concept. Supporting such a cause is evil and morally dubious at best, methinks.
Once this is done and the skewed, brainwashed views are refuted, there is room for the alternative: humans are good. They like each other without any supernatural agent looking over them or keeping them in check. They have developed values out of their inherent compassion. They are good people who learned gradually how to treat each other with respect how to wield arguments over weapons and use (serious) reasoning to settle disputes. Some ideas, political and religious can overwrite their inherently good nature, we know that. This is, to me, the main difference between (some) religious people, especially of the Abrahamitic religions and being nontheist.
If someone wants to be a Christian, or indeed, even if someone wants to be a racist or whatever, in the public sphere, they are protected by free speech. But the so-called values of Christianity or any other religion really, need be challenged, and vigorously so!
I will, if possible, I will try to find sub-titles somewhere. The film is from 1998. 🙂