As I said, I am not sanguine about being preemptive. I did not say I wouldn't be. As with just about everything else in this world, that would be purely situational ... and here I go, quoting Robert Heinlein again:
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
The religicons are sheep. They are lead. How many would stay the course if the leaders of the Religious Right were taken out? How many would stick if religicons became the minority? How many would hold out in the face of real oppression?
I don't think the ends justify the means. I do think individuals should be held accountable for the consequences of their behavior.
If human beings operated as enlightened animals, they would critically evaluate issues. They would make rational decisions. Unfortunately, even the best of us make our daily decisions in life based on emotion, conditioning and instinctual drives. Otherwise, we'd all be eating healthy diets, exercising regularly, meditating, abstaining from drugs, tobacco and alcohol, behaving with empathetic understanding, treating each other with dignity and respect...
Humans learn in three ways: Operant conditioning (rewards and punishments), classical conditioning (pairing) and social learning (observation). By and large, humans require external structure to live in harmony with each other. I don't like this idea. It is not romantic... but it is true. A utopian world of empathetic, critical thinkers might be possible, but is certainly not likely.
The book "The Island of Dr. Morrow" was not a story about animals who couldn't maintain their humanity... It was about us.
The "means" are whatever you want them to be. The "ends" is the ridding of religion from our world. The question being, "Does the lofty goal of getting rid of religion justify using any method at our disposal?" From arguing in public forums to deadly viruses that target stupid gullible people to armageddon. In other words "Is it worth it to use any means?" I look forward to your rational response. =)
Actually, back in high school, the biggest bully hit me and I went down. I stood back up and called him a coward. He was pretty freaked out. The threat of violence had, until then, usually worked in his attempt to get his way. The use of violence had always taken care of the rest. Either he got his way or the other guy used the same technique to get his. I was the outlier that scared the crap out of him.
The next day he told me that he had never hit anyone harder. He actually treated me with deference from then on. He feared that I neither feared him nor felt the need for him to fear me.
I would suggest that, eventually, intelligence will win out no matter how dark things seem in the interim.
70,000 years ago there were 2,000 of us. Do you think those were the ones who relied on unimaginative violence to survive?
However, I think religionists are morally guilty of distorting facts and misguiding people for various reasons including shear selfishness. They are also responsible for most of the miseries of our current world and for most of the destructions and carnages of the past. So they should be treated as morally objectionable lot.