I just finished reading "I Don't Believe in Atheists" by Chris Hedges. It's a pretty interesting book about the risk of atheists taking their ideas too far and winding up just as narrow minded and ignorant as the current religious fundamentalists. I found myself agreeing with a lot of his "he who fights monsters" argument, but there was one point about the war on terror that didn't sit right with me:

"Those who externalise evil and seek to eradicate this evil lose touch with their own humanity and the humanity of others. They can no longer make moral distinctions. They are blind to their own moral corruption. In the name of civilisation and great virtues, in the name of reason and science, they urge us to become monsters. It is this inverted logic that allows these atheists to sign on for the worst curtailment of our liberties, the broad abasement of basic human rights, permanent war and the use of torture."
(pages 154-155)

Is this 'signing on' really happening? Is it likely to? I was under the impression that the applause for Bush's wiretapping and waterboarding crusade stemmed almost exclusively from the Christian conservatives who put him in power. I personally would not have expected to find much support among the atheist community, with it's left-leaning political slant and weary knowledge of times when human dignity has been trampled in the name of ideology.

My question then: How many atheists really support the methods of the war on terror?

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Dumb fundies always accuse atheists of that which they are guilty.

Those who externalise evil:
Christians blame the devil for everything. Isn't that externalising evil. If I do something wrong I stand up and take responsibility for it. I pluck up the courage to apologise if I've been rude to someone or done something dumb. Fundies blame the devil and pray to Jesus for forgiveness.

... seek to eradicate this evil lose touch with their own humanity and the humanity of others. Religious has no value for non-believers. Humanism, which is often the world view held by atheists, demands that we treat living creatures with respect. Christianity demands that women be treated as second class citizens and people working on the sabbath be stoned. Accusing us of their crimes.

They can no longer make moral distinctions.
Refusing to accept dogmatic distinctions is making better moral distinctions than fundies.

They are blind to their own moral corruption. Not blind to moral corruption, just don't believe in the existence of moral corruption. If I am not hurting anyone while doing my thing it is none of your business what I am doing. Before you presume to tell me the only right way of living you should try living by your own rules, even if it is only to see whether or not they work.

In the name of civilisation and great virtues, in the name of reason and science, they urge us to become monsters. How, when, why? When has the lack of belief in gods naturally lead to being monsters? Make your case. Does atheism call for those accused of witchcraft to be burnt alive? Does atheism give us dominion over other creatures, to kill them as cruelly as required to pacify a jealous god? Burning of a city because they allow gay people to be gay? This is a statement but it requires a proof. To me, this statement better reads: "In the name of theirold testament and virtues, in the name of Jesus, Mohammed and creation, they urge us to become monsters."

It is this inverted logic that allows these atheists to sign on for the worst curtailment of our liberties, the broad abasement of basic human rights, permanent war and the use of torture. I accuse religion of all of these things. Curtailing of liberties: they don't want alcohol, porn, homosexuality, working on sabbaths, shell fish, eye glasses, arguing with parents... the list goes on. The only thou shalt not for atheists is: Thou shalt not "thou shalt not' others. Permanent war: christianity has had 2000 years to show itself as a peaceful religion. We are still waiting. Torture: Show me the strong atheist contingent in Abu Grab or Guantanamo bay. Show me the atheists burning people at the stake.

Hedges' whole argument may be good for emotionally triggering the tithing masses but it is just nonsense. I refuse to read apologetics books. I don't believe that I am immune to contracting the religion virus. This crap has been pushing the buttons of humans for a long time.
I sat here in my relatively safe Canadian home and following 9/11 I watched the US government take away, apparently without protest on the part of American citizens, the citizens' freedom of assembly, freedom to communicate with whomever one wished, the imposition of rules for access to aircraft with lists of US and world citizens who were not allowed to fly in aircraft. All this was done in the name of providing security for the American people. I watched while every country who wished to fly aircraft into the USA were given rules which they had to follow. I watched while the government in power in the USA attacked Iraq for reasons that seemed apparent only to the government in power. The preemptive attack and the thousands and probably tens of thousands of lives it cost did not concern me safe in my Canadian home. I watched the development of prisons in parts of the world where it was not illegal to torture prisoners, and still I did nothing, after all, what can one person do? It was easy for me to say "I'm an old man, it's not my concern."

And yet, it must be my concern and the concern of all of us when we see our freedoms vanish in any country, not just our own. Giving up freedoms for the sake of security is voluntarily placing ourselves in a prison of our own making. I am currently reading a book "The Family" by Jeff Sharlet which gives some idea about the collapse of American (and Canadian) freedoms as it is slowly being accomplished. If you haven't read it, it is worth a read.
Check out my book: www.drtel.net/~old17dodge

Your chapter sub-titles are enough to convince me that you have either read "The Family" very carefully, or you are offering absolute proof of the veracity of the information that I am gleaning from Sharlet's writing.

By the time I was old enough to go into the services I had already completed my second year at university, so my degree had become far more important than a war in a land I would have to look up in an atlas to find.

I have a rather limited budget to spend on books, so I probably will ask my local public librarian to order your book for me to read. It certainly sounds interesting enough.
I've been terrorized by jews, evangelis, baptists, mormons and cathies for too fkn' long pal.
"I personally would not have expected to find much support among the atheist community"

Then your expectations are misguided. "Atheist" is a peculiar word because, unlike most terms ending in "ist", there is no "ism" that follows from the "ist". Being an atheist does not oblige one to adopt any particular "ism" with regard to politics, economics, ethics, art, science or any other matters of human experience and concern. The idea that being an atheist requires adoption of some "progressive" socio-political doctrine is just crap. The "community" you refer to is about politics, not being an atheist.

"War on terror" is an unfortunate misnomer, which everyone understands but many choose to use to deliberately confuse the issues involved. To the extent that it is acually a war against theorcratic, Islamic, imperialism, I support it. I don't understand how any "atheist" could be against fighting theocracy in any form. As to whether it is actually a war, I'll take Osama bin Laden's and the Iranian Ayatolahs' word for it. According to them it is and they're behavior does not suggest that they're joking.
Regarding methods, I'll accept the Geneva Conventions as moral authority, for now. I am satisfied that, to date, U.S. policy meets the requirements. The claim that violators, who have been and are being prosecuted, somehow reflect policy is like claiming that an atheist thief and murderer exposes true atheist morality (whatever that is).

So, I guess this makes me one of your, and Hodges', "sign-ons". Fine. We're not all going to "sign on" with you, or Hedges, just because you, and he, try to use "atheist" as a hook to promote an "ism" that you want to think follows from the "ist".
The time I was most terrorized though was when bush go in a second time. And this:
Then terrorized by a dementia-ridden, menthol cigarette smokin', lousy manager and print broker that left me unemployed for not knowing her way around the digital world... surely the cathlic/jewish/crackheads and illegals did not want an accountable atheist working for such an outfit!

So terror comes in many shapes and forms
there is no 'war on' anything
just stupid people with stupid ideals in-turn draggin' down the fabric of American or world society because they fear change

get pissed then:
hold your camera, hold your technology and take a bite:

democracynow.org (forget about foxcnn) almost all there is to know on a daily basis; on Link TV there's also mosaic if you can stomach the culture shock.
It's terrorism, you neocon.
get your grain o salt out, here goes:

man, we're just freethinking Americans that happen to be either super-duty atheist (armor plated in my case) or get-along with everybody atheist.

co-existence is a virtue nowdays; societies are fragmented badly due to the eco/culturo smash and grab for crack etc...

people will die on you, this is nature
and yourself will die from some natural happening in time

why not educate on how every human individual or group thinks
if you isolate too much though in armor plating that can be a negative too
"the soul is sacred it defines our being and without the body the soul is freed leaving only a shell
the land increases" - not sure how exact I was there but those are Sick of it All lyrics
some folks just can't jive with the hardcore music era that still exists today
they're quite happy with the soft-corporate life, that's fine but those landfills are not
sometimes the get-along is not either for it leads to loop-holes

I'm glad the fed agencies are cracking down on ethics


The rational view on the "war on terror" can only be achieved by attempting to detach yourself from the pathetic current definition of humanity.

The only real answer (as will be with many coming conflicts) is "Let the dogs eat the dogs."

Really. Christian vs Islamic, East vs West... the best part about a two sided conflict is that you don't have to be on either side. Only those who chose a side find themselves fighting the war.

We being atheists find ourselves in the best possible point of conflict... observers.

I have no intention on being anything but one.

Let them grab their rifles, scream to their respective imaginary friends as they fill each other with lead over a hundred meter border of mud.

Just because everyone else is jumping off that bridge doesn't mean you should.
Unfortunately, religious crazies taking shots at each other have notoriously bad aim. People who don't choose sides are frequently harmed anyway.




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