Tag Archives: atheists

A Strange Emphasis

A man was recently charged with shooting and killing three Muslims in North Carolina, and many of the newspaper accounts found it necessary to report that the accused is an atheist. Almost immediately there was finger-pointing about how atheists are somehow more dangerous than believers. One good example, reported in the Washington Post, was that

Writing in the New Republic, Christian writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig demanded  a reckoning, framing the murders as a wake-up call to atheists about dangerous tendencies among them. She argued that the cocksureness that comes with atheistic certitude has allowed more-rational-than-thou young white men to blind themselves to a growing strand of hatefulness. Atheists, she said, need to consider the possibility that such violence is an “outgrowth of a system” that fails to sufficiently question its moral commitments.

The Curmudgeon would like to note, just for starters, that had the accused been Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian, Unitarian, or Catholic, no newspaper would even have mentioned that.

He also would like to state, as an atheist himself, that he believes atheists are no better and no worse, no less moral and no more moral, and certainly no less or no more inclined to kill people than anyone else.  Trying to paint any group with such a broad brush is almost always a mistake.

And for the record, the following are things for which believers, not atheists, are responsible:

  • The crusades
  • The inquisition
  • Pogroms
  • Slavery in the U.S. (and elsewhere)
  • The assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King
  • The Holocaust
  • The mass murders in Rwanda and Cambodia
  • The attack on Pearl Harbor
  • The attacks of 9/11
  • The internment of the Japanese in California during World War II
  • The mass murders in Columbine, the University of Texas, Virginia Tech University, and Fort Hood
  • The actions of Ted Kaczynski, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Richard Speck, the Son of Sam, and the Subway Vigilante
  • The Boston Marathon bombing

A guy killed those three Muslims in North Carolina – a guy with some serious mental problems. He happened to be an atheist. He could just as easily have been a Christian – and based on the history of murder and mayhem in this world, the odds were overwhelming that the man who murdered those three Muslims in North Carolina would have been Christian. On this particular occasion, though, those overwhelming odds didn’t reconcile with reality.

But when the odds point in the right direction, as they usually do, no one ever points a finger at Christianity and suggests that Christianity could be behind the murder and mayhem.

They shouldn’t point a finger at atheism, either – because that would be a downright un-Christian thing to do.

And just plain wrong.