Atheists will need martyrs if they are to compete with Christians

The nature of writing for the media these days means you need to be sensational and controversial. This is true whether you’re writing for the Daily Star or the Telegraph. And so I suspect when Gerald Warner wrote “Atheists will need martyrs if they are to compete with Christians” he doesn’t actually believe most of what we writes, or at least not with the conviction to which he writes it.

Never the less I feel it is important to address the issues raised in his blog entry.

Most of what he writes is (or at least should be) laughable. Comments such as “it is good to see a Christian making difficulties for aggressive secularists” hold no real standing. I have yet to hear of a case of an atheist bus driving refusing to drive a bus with an Alpha advert on it nor has Ariane Sherine filed an official complaint with the ASA against them.

In reality of course the secular community is constantly under attack from the religious community. If they aren’t trying to indoctrinate our children with religious ideas at faith schools they’re trying to prevent our freedom of expression.

Quite frankly some of his writing his embarassing and would be far better placed within the pages of The Sun and The Daily Mail. Unrelevant comments with obvious connotations such as “Mr Heather, who served in the Royal Navy for 25 years”, “congratulations to this British sea dog for fighting back” are of the cheap tacky ilk you would expect to find on American news reporting.

From here the comments move to simple ignorance. “Is this not, in fact, an agnostic, rather an atheist, advertisement?” It is interesting that he later lists Dawkins in his post and yet seems to show no knowledge of Dawkins writings surrounding the subject. If Mr Warner had read The God Delusion he would in fact understand that these terms are essentially interchangable and it’s perfectly possible to be an atheist and accept there is a chance there is a god (indeed I don’t know a single atheist who completely rules out the idea).

This is followed by a good deal of very Christian thinking such as “since when was the message that there is no one in charge, nobody to protect us or lend succour, thought reassuring?” Not withstanding the fact that such a statement shows why many religious people would allow themselves to believe such an obvious falsehood, I find it hard to believe why some people can’t understand why some of us would actually be more comforted by the fact that we have free will as opposed to our destiny being controlled by a being with a rather genocidal past record.

Further more I almost laughed out loud when I read the claim that “many of the people who most zestfully enjoy life are Christians.” Mr Warner is clearly working on a very different sample set than I am.

To answer the underlying point though, atheist martyrs are already here. Not withstanding the treats we have received at A-Soc (and according to Alex at the BHA, they receive their fair share too), Salman Rushdie is only alive today because they couldn’t find him and Theo van Gogh has already died for his convictions.



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This entry was posted on Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 8:55 am and is filed under Religion & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.