Apparently someone thinks so. Since my initial response of “WTF” isn’t too educated, I’m going to break down my reply.
But I’m no longer okay with atheist evangelizing. Firstly, I’m not okay with evangelizing, period. I don’t care if you’re a fundamentalist Christian, an agnostic Buddhist, or Richard Dawkins, I want you to leave me the fuck alone. You do it your way and I’ll do it mine.
You know what, once atheists start knocking on doors, trying to get schools to teach that there is no god, and threatening people with suffering and harm if they don’t convert, then I’ll agree with you. But atheist “evangelizing” in no where near the same as Christian (for example) evangelizing. What horrible things has Richard Dawkins done? Wrote a book that no one is forced to buy or read? Give talks that no one if forced to attend? I don’t think I’ve seen him on a college campus with a microphone shouting “There is no god, you bloody twits!” And you know, even if he did, he has the right to do that. Just like any other person you don’t agree with, you can just stop listening to them.
I’m happy to talk to politics with you, but my religious practice — which harms no one and in no way impinges on any other person’s rights — is really, really none of your business. I don’t care if the origin myth you’re peddling comes from science or from mythology. I don’t care how much history or evidence is on your side. I just want to be left in peace; I will do the same for you.
Again, once religious practices DO stop harming people and impinging on others rights, maybe we’ll shut up a bit. My goal as an atheist isn’t to convert people – if it doesn’t affect others and it makes them happy, so be it. But while planes are still being flown into buildings, while people are being fired at work for being atheists, while myths are being taught over science to our children, while gay marriage is having a hell of a time being legalized, your beliefs become my business because you’re not keeping them to yourself.
And as I said before, religious beliefs are no different than political beliefs. They don’t deserve any sort of special treatment, and should receive criticism like anything else.
The big reason, though, is that atheist advocates a la Dawkins and the rest are ethnocentric, colonialist cultural supremacists. When Dawkins says that sending a kid to Sunday school is child abuse, or that reasonable, tolerant, law-abiding people who happen to be religious are enablers of violent fundamentalists, he is not merely saying that religious people should stop believing in God/gods. He is saying that they should forfeit their culture.
Um, no. First of, do you know anything about Richard Dawkins? He, like many atheists, still joyfully celebrates Christmas complete with tree and religious songs and all the same traditions and culture that he had before he was an atheist. This past Easter many people commented on all the egg finding and bunny eating and family gathering that was going on. What’s the difference? We can still enjoy the culture we were raised in without cheapening it with supernatural nonsense.
The implicit claim here is that wealthy, white, Western secularism culturally neutral, the norm. And that’s bullshit. White, Western secularism is as much a subjective human culture as any other. There is no neutral. You can give up your ancestral culture, but it will be replaced. It will be replaced by white Western capitalism. This is what the atheist evangelists are advocating (or, if you prefer, advocating implicitly and spectacularly failing to disavow): assimilation.
Well, I disagree with you, but apparently since I’ve been implicitly advocating this all along, let me take a moment to disavow it: assimilation sucks. Culture and tradition are important. But, I have one caveat. Just because something is a tradition doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good or that we have to keep doing it. For example, prayer at public high school and college graduations. If the school’s principal or President argues “tradition” for keeping it, that is a giant cop-out and unwillingness to deal with separation of church and state (and not just for the sake of nonbelievers, but for minority religions as well).
Now that that’s out of the way (probably not), I’m not quite sure how atheism = capitalism. I openly admit that I am woefully uneducated about anything economic, so if I’m off base here, let me know. But I know from our club, a good chunk of our members are socialists or anarchists, aka, Very Much So Not Capitalists. Our current treasurer has a hernia if anyone says anything remotely pro-capitalist. But really, I have no idea what rejecting supernatural belief has to do with economic practices anyway, so this just seems like a random stretch to me.
And I refuse. I refuse to replace Judaism with capitalism. I refuse to replace my traditional foods with McDonalds. I refuse to replace my history with the vulgar lie of pilgrims and pioneers sweeping across an empty continent. I refuse to believe the claim that wealthy white men are the most evolved, the most enlightened; I refuse to believe the claim that white culture is superior.
Good for you! Keeping your culture is great! My Jewish atheist friends still call themselves Jewish. I’d pick yuvetsaki or pastichio or tiropita or anything delicious food from my Greek heritage over a greasy burger. I’m pretty sure most atheists don’t advocate rewriting history with lies either, since we’re kind of concerned…um…with truth.
And pigs will fly to the moon and back before you hear Richard Dawkins say anything along the lines of wealthy white men being the most evolved. That’s just…there are so many things wrong with that statement, I don’t know where to begin. Do you know anything about evolution? The vast majority of evolutionary biologists would never make such a claim because it’s undeniably false – and when some idiot does try to insinuate something racist by using biology (Watson, I’m looking at you), they get torn apart and shunned by their fellow biologists and atheists.
And I’m still not getting where this “white culture is superior” thing is coming from. Can I get a quote of Dawkins saying that, please? Because until then, I can’t help but think of Christian slave owners making their slaves leave their tribal religions, or Christian missionaries today going to Africa and changing their culture, or our Christian-motivated government under Bush “freeing” Iraqis…and then all the atheists who have stood up and said This Is Bad.
If you think my attachment to my culture is a problem (even though I agree with you about every important political issue!), you’re a white supremacist.
Well, thankfully I don’t think your attachment to your culture is a problem. Culture can be good! But I just hope you don’t really mean that anyone who disagrees with you about the rest of your comments is a white supremacist, because that’s just silly and unproductive.
Lastly, it’s another lie that religion is the problem. Yes, religious fundamentalism (like all fundamentalism) is extremely destructive, and many innocent people have been killed in the name of religion. But secular, capitalist Western “democracy” is, today, just as destructive a force. This system is literally destroying the world as we know it — just ask a polar bear.
Me: Hey Mr. Pol
ar Bear, those shrinking ice
caps sure do suck, huh?
Mr. P. Bear: Why yes, Jennifer, they do. They make me a sad panda-I mean, polar bear.
Me: But has anyone tried to help you out?
Mr. P. Bear: Well, yes! Most of the people who are trying to help are scientists, many of which are atheists. And even non-scientist atheists realize this is a huge problem because this is the only life they have!
Me: But what about the religious people?
Mr. P. Bear: Well, a lot of them think that God gave man dominion over all the plants and animals on earth, so they feel they can do whatever they want to us. And they think any sort of catastrophic end is God’s plan through Armageddon, so they don’t want to stop it!
Me: Well golly gee! I guess it’s all the atheists faults for magically promoting capitalist democracy somehow!
Mr. P. Bear: Logically.
Now, does atheism have a hard time attracting and keeping minorities? Yes, I would say so. The movement is disproportionately white males. I know in our own club it’s only about 10% female, and probably 99% white. But is this because atheists are inherently racist and sexists? I’d argue no (though there are always a couple bad seeds in any sort of group). And if I had to give my best guess why this is (which is just a guess, I admit I’m not an expert) it’s that religion is such an important aspect of culture for these groups. So yes, culture is an issue to an extent…but that’s because people assume (like the person above) that atheism means abandoning your culture. No! You don’t have to. And even if you don’t want to keep your same old traditions but you need something, more and more atheist groups are forming to fill that void.
So do I think militant atheism is white supremacist? No. But of course, I guess that makes me a white supremacist. Darn.