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Should we execute people that promote religion? Watch

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    (Original post by Kolya)
    I don't think it is right to bring Hitchens into this. He is big on civil liberties - he has written a book on Thomas Paine and the Rights of Man - which is, I think, why he moved to the US. Given that, I strongly suspect he would defend first amendment rights rather than run-over them.
    I think it's perfectly reasonable. I don't deny that Hitchens is big on civil liberties. But three of his other talking points are the dictatorial nature of God, the actual evil of religiosity, and the right to hate one's enemies. My point is not that Hitchens himself would advocate the killing of a religious person - it's that these talking points of new atheism (and others besides), translated into state policy and law, would make it MORE likely that this hypothetical government would take positive action against those who it perceived as its enemies, those who promulgate the oppressive evil of religiosity, not LESS.

    I have thought this many a time when listening to Dawkins et al. If these 'new atheistic' excurses about the status and mental well-being of the religious and the end of religion itself were allowed to inform political and civil ethics, what would be the result? If a secular government GENUINELY believed that [a] religious people are deluded; [b] religion is an evil; [c] religion and God are forms of dictatorships; [d] religious people are stupid and lesser than the secular minority; [e] that we should positively reject the commandment to love enemies; [f] that proselytism is nefarious, ETC, then what would that government do and what would its country look like?

    Again, i'd suggest that it would be MORE likely that this government would violently suppress the religious than not. (As a footnote, I'd like to observe that this suggestion is quite impervious. I've not caricatured new atheism's followers here. I've seen these opinions repeated on this thread, on this forum, on TSR, on the web, on YouTube, in debates that i've watched and participated in, and in some cases, in the works of Hitchens and Dawkins.)
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    He is also a Trotskyite who isn't bothered by the Jacobin and Bolshevik anti-clerical massacres.

    "Amis had also made the mistake, in a letter to Hitchens, of urging his friend to turn his back on Trotsky because Hitchens’s “prophetic moralist” was really a “nun-killer.” Amis should have realized that an appeal based on sympathy for nuns was hardly the way to his friend’s heart, and Hitchens responded by mocking Amis for having a “special horror of Bolshevik anti-clericalism.” What Amis has a “special horror of” is eloquently described in his book: a regime that killed 2,691 priests, 1,962 monks, and 3,447 nuns of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1922 alone. None of this bloodshed bothers Hitchens, who has recently written that “Secularism ... only became thinkable after several wars and revolutions had ruthlessly smashed the hold of the clergy on the state.” Since the American Revolution did not produce a single executed clergyman, Hitchens is here singing the praises of the Jacobins and the Bolsheviks."

    - The American Conservative - The Purest Neocon
    Interesting. Highly disturbing, but unfortunately not TOO surprising. Thanks for posting this.
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    (Original post by starsdream2)
    As a Muslim I am so totally going to be for this....
    Maybe we should then think about executing Muslims who distribute the Qur'an. You'd like that, huh?
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    (Original post by Ramadulla)
    Maybe we should then think about executing Muslims who distribute the Qur'an. You'd like that, huh?
    I was being sarcastic......:rolleyes:



    Freedom of speech...people should be allowed to promote however much religion/ or lack of religion/ or anything else as they please.
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    (Original post by NathanL)
    I think it's perfectly reasonable. I don't deny that Hitchens is big on civil liberties. But three of his other talking points are the dictatorial nature of God, the actual evil of religiosity, and the right to hate one's enemies. My point is not that Hitchens himself would advocate the killing of a religious person - it's that these talking points of new atheism (and others besides), translated into state policy and law, would make it MORE likely that this hypothetical government would take positive action against those who it perceived as its enemies, those who promulgate the oppressive evil of religiosity, not LESS.
    More likely relative to what hypothetical government?
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    More likely relative to what hypothetical government?
    Hi Kolya - relative to a hypothetical government NOT convicted or seeking to be governed by what i've here termed the 'new atheistic' talking points (the dictatorial nature of God/religion; the deluded/stupid worldview of the religious; the demand to be allowed to hate one's enemies; etc). My question - not to labour the point - what would a government/country look like if it adopted these talking points as true or desirable? I'd suggest that there would be a good chance that this hypothetical government/country would violently or oppressively pursue the religious than not.

    (It's one of the reasons why I see the new atheism as ethically compromised, not because atheists can't possess morality [we all know that's bull], but because the NEW atheism [as opposed to its intellectual heritage] talks very, very dangerously indeed. If you talk about God/religion as dictatorial, you're in danger of seeing the suppression of both as conducive to freedom - if you talk about religious people as stupid, you're in danger of endorsing a particular intellectualist hierarchy of humanity; if you talk about religious people as deluded, you're in danger of advocating the 'treatment' of religiosity as a mental illness; if you talk about religion as indoctrination, you're in danger of forbidding the teaching of religion full stop in all contexts; and if you talk about the right to hate one's enemies in conscious defiance of the love commandment, then in the light of these previous dangers, one is probably going to regard religion as the enemy and the religious as those to hate. It's not that these conclusions are promulgated by the New Atheists - they're not necessarily - it's that they have been promulgated in the 20th century, it's that the New Atheistic movement has suggested some if not all of these conclusions already [indeed this thread is testament to this], and it's that these conclusions are at first glance logical inferences from their premises. This worries me greatly.)
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    (Original post by NathanL)
    Hi Kolya - relative to a hypothetical government NOT convicted or seeking to be governed by what i've here termed the 'new atheistic' talking points (the dictatorial nature of God/religion; the deluded/stupid worldview of the religious; the demand to be allowed to hate one's enemies; etc). My question - not to labour the point - what would a government/country look like if it adopted these talking points as true or desirable? I'd suggest that there would be a good chance that this hypothetical government/country would violently or oppressively pursue the religious than not.

    (It's one of the reasons why I see the new atheism as ethically compromised, not because atheists can't possess morality [we all know that's bull], but because the NEW atheism [as opposed to its intellectual heritage] talks very, very dangerously indeed. If you talk about God/religion as dictatorial, you're in danger of seeing the suppression of both as conducive to freedom - if you talk about religious people as stupid, you're in danger of endorsing a particular intellectualist hierarchy of humanity; if you talk about religious people as deluded, you're in danger of advocating the 'treatment' of religiosity as a mental illness; if you talk about religion as indoctrination, you're in danger of forbidding the teaching of religion full stop in all contexts; and if you talk about the right to hate one's enemies in conscious defiance of the love commandment, then in the light of these previous dangers, one is probably going to regard religion as the enemy and the religious as those to hate. It's not that these conclusions are promulgated by the New Atheists - they're not necessarily - it's that they have been promulgated in the 20th century, it's that the New Atheistic movement has suggested some if not all of these conclusions already [indeed this thread is testament to this], and it's that these conclusions are at first glance logical inferences from their premises. This worries me greatly.)
    I think you're being a little pessimistic.

    Firstly, a couple of the points you made, while possibly interpreted negatively, are just as easy to interpret positively. The point about a dictatorial god might contribute to our understanding of the sociology of religion. Is God the unyielding chieftain who helped keep earlier peoples on the straight and narrow more than those without the unyielding chieftain? Possibly. The point about indoctrination, while also possible to interpret negatively, might also be seen positively as a desire to make sure we give our young people an education about the variety of faiths that exist in the world. I certainly didn't receive anything of the sort, although I have been told that the situation has improved since I was in school. We should see how it is working and see if it can be improved. I think this goal - while coming from atheists - can be agreed upon by all theists as well. I don't understand the "hate your enemies" comment so I can't respond to that.

    Secondly, regarding the other points, it is disappointing to see atheists make those points. It is important that society does not make the mistakes of the past and let theists become the atheists of the 18th and 19th centuries. However, I do not see any danger of restrictive laws being past any time soon, for the currents of Western society - a liberalism and pluralism - are pointing the other way. Now, naturally we must watch and make sure changes do not happen, but I feel confident that, at the moment, we are in control of those currents. There are strong feelings on both sides, and we just need to make sure that they don't overflow and affect the wonderful liberalism and pluralism that our society has adopted.

    In other words: chill a little, Nathan. :p:
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    Hi Kolya,

    Forgive me if this sounds sycophantic, but I revere your charitable readings. Unfortunately, I'm pessimistic because your new atheist brethren are not as charitable or positive. I've seen the conclusions I posit being promulgated, not only on this thread but elsewhere (it was either John Loftus, Rook Hawkins of the RSS or Richard Carrier of Infidels.org that talked about religion as a mental disorder needing to be corrected. I think it was Hawkins.) The bit about God being dictatorial isn't a retrospective look at the past as much as it is Hitchen's statement about belief in God in the present; Hitchens' concern is not sociological. Similarly, Dawkins does not stop at positive, multifaith education - he states that raising a child on religion is to be rejected, full stop. Oh, and the hate your enemies thing is Hitchens' talking point - see his debate with Doug Wilson of the Westminster Theological Seminary. (Curiously, the atheist crowd speak mightily disparagingly of Wilson in this debate; I watched it the other night, I genuinely think it was more even; Hitchens was proven factually incorrect on many occasions. Anyway, that's by the by. Give it a watch, see what you think.)

    But like I said, I completely and wholeheartedly applaud your liberalism and your charity. I wish the new atheist crowd - on the whole - were more like you in these matters. For me, as I read the Theology forum or indeed this thread, I immediately discount the opinion of whoever calls the religious 'deluded' or 'dumb' - not only because they're almost always wrong, but because of the ethical and political implications of such an assertion translated into praxis. I'm glad however that you're quite right - western society thankfully isn't going the way that I'm talking about. I personally think the new atheist 'craze' as relatively short lived - it's as popular as Dawkins and as Hitchens and they won't be in the public light forever; that, and it's predominantly populated by young people whose sharp edges almost always are blunted with time and a little life experience. I doubt, therefore, that it will find its way into grown up politics. So don't worry, I'm not all doom and gloom :p:
 
 
 
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