Bashing Re: [FoRK] Christians and atheists

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar <drernie at> on Fri May 11 16:54:55 PDT 2007

Hi Tom,

On May 10, 2007, at 3:30 PM, Tom Higgins wrote:
> Those were not Atheists in the USSR, those were Soviets, followers of
> a state...see my list above. It is a fact that much of the USSR were
> actually Christians by choice and Soviets by force. So what you have
> there and then was not folks who disbelieved in the hocus pocus of
> some higher all powerful authority who controlled their ethics,morals
> and daily life...what you had there and then was folks who
> belived/were forced to belive in a higher all powerful authority who
> controlled their ethics,morals and daily life...the state...
> Thus NO SALE on your bashing of atheists.

So, help me out here. I  see three categories of atheists:

a) One (like you) seeks the moral high ground, and sees atheism as  
intrinsically *more* tolerant of Christianity

b) Another (like Communism) sees their brand of atheism as justifying  
intense persecution of Christians (and any other believers, as well as  
other dissenters)

c) A third faction (Jeff) sees religious people as *deserving*  
disrespect, and perhaps active suppression

I am genuinely interesting in finding out:

I.  How you do distinguish between what you consider "true" atheists  
and those who *claim* atheism but are actually "true-believers" in  
state or some other ideology?  For example, militant humanists count  
as "atheists" or "true believers"?

II.  Do you consider Jeff's position closer to (a) or (b)?

>> Perhaps we need a better term, so as not to confuse the good people
>> of FoRK with those atheists who have perverted a noble secular ideal
>> into something used to bash, kill, and harm belivers.
> Nope, because then you would seek to smear that term.

Actually, no.  I really do want to know how you'd like me to  
differentiate between so-called atheists (e.g., Communists) who  
persecute Christians (and other groups) vs. what it is that you  
believe (or disbelieve).

I agree it may well be unfair to lump such groups together, but I  
honestly don't know the best way to characterize the distinction.

In particular, can you give me a solid reason to believe that people  
like Jeff wouldn't end up like (b) out of their desire to purge the  
world of Christianity?  I certainly hope not, but I wouldn't mind a  
little reassurance...

> Also, why just
> limit it to exclude bashing, killing and harming "belivers"???? Are
> Unbelievers not covered as well? Fraking amazing what comes out of
> otherwise rational folks sometimes.

I'm sorry, I was just inverting the initial comment.  You're right, of  
course; Christians and Communists have persecuted both believers and  
non-believers.  In fact, if I recall my history correctly, Christians  
have generally done far more violence towards other Christians than to  
any other group.  Would you disagree?

-- Ernie P.

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