March 19, 2005

What atheists should know about religion

Many atheists are very hostile toward religion. They consider it a wicked superstition that is holding society back, and that the world would be much better off without it. I would be the last person to say they are wrong, but none of us can deny that there are a lot more believers than non-believers. That's the reason so many atheists also consider believers stupid. They can't understand why so many people would espouse such damaging ideas.
In response to a statement that "Islam's relentless expansion is wrecking the world" I replied "no more than Christianity did in the last thousand years."
When America was founded, Christian women were required to cover their heads. Many European countries went through a period of torture and mutilation for criminals. The West is trying to "help" Islam skip over several hundred years of injustice, religious and political, never realizing that freedom, unearned, is also oppression.
The freedoms we want to give them are the freedoms we earned after years of fighting. Pushing the Iraqis to include women in politics shows the sanctimoniousness of a new convert. Women in the West have been fighting for hundreds of years and still don't have guaranteed slots on the ballot or in office.
You can't learn someone's lessons for them. Much as we may resent it, Christians wrecked the world and now it's Islam's turn. We didn't get our freedom until we were willing to fight and die for it in the long term. If we really want to help Islam we should shut up and let them get on with it.

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