Atheism and Violence

Father Edward T. Oakes has written an awesome piece on the First Things blog, Atheism and Violence. It is a long hard read, but very worthwhile.

This addresses a number of posts I’ve made, most recently in The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost, and should, I think address Allen’s point in his comment on that post.

It boils down to this, when one removes the pillars or the glue that hold a particular society together, make sure that you replace it with something specific, otherwise a mess will ensue.

hat tip to: Roberto Rivera @ The Point


  1. “your atheism is too religious.”

    Father Oakes is using his own caricature of atheism to attack the caricature of Christianity that some atheists spout. I too was taken aback by Sam Harris’ comment about some ideas being so dangerous that their adherents must be put to death. But that’s the funny thing about atheism… it’s NOT a unified, shared, rigorously codified set of beliefs — no matter how much Harris, Dawkins and the rest want to make it so.

    So, by all means, attack the absurdity of the well-published professional atheists; but don’t assume that you’re attacking atheism.

    Human beings are capable of the most grotesque behavior towards one another. Sometimes these behaviors are undertaken in the name of God and at other times they are undertaken in the name of some other philosophy — or seemingly none at all. People can be cruel and unfeeling and, as humans, we’re all masters of justification after and during the fact.

    I’m sure that sometimes you open your browser and read about this or that Christian doing something because he knows it to be the “Christian” thing to do… and you scarcely recognize the motivation. Well, consider that sometimes I read about this or that atheist doing this or that… and I wonder the same thing.

    my $0.03.


  2. You make an excellent point, Allen. The form of Atheism being bandied about in popular media (the internet included) is “too religious,” or perhaps better stated, “religious mumbo-jumbo without the whole God thing, rites and all.”

    I think the point that actually both you and Fr. Oakes make (coming from different directions) is that the current self-proclaimed/anointed evangelists of atheism are indeed caricatures of the worst of the breed of both supposedly religious nutcases and the atheist ones.

    In the case of Dawkins and Harris (and the others like Singer), they are so busy trying to destroy faith that it has become hatred, and they have now transformed into the very thing they say they hate.

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