Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Theistic Threats? (Atheistic Myths #5)

When it comes to myths, it gets hard to tell what is or is not true. Myths, especially those spread on the internet, can be passed around so much, for so long, that they become virtually indistinguishable from facts. Such is the case with today's Atheistic Myth. And, for the first time, it does not stem from a lack of understanding the definition.

"Why do all Atheists think all Theists are murderers?"

First, the short answer is that we don't, not all of us, anyway. There are some that do, but they typically aren't in the mainstream.

However, that is not where this myth comes from, that's just part of the underlying truth. In the past, there have been many instances where people have killed and tortured in the name of their god or gods. Most Atheists these days know better than to lump all Theists together under the banner of murder just because some Theists in the past killed others.

What the majority of Atheists do say, however, is that the religion has killed people, which is very true. There are many instances where a particular religion was responsible for a lot of deaths. These facts cannot be denied. However, does this mean that Atheism could have avoided these deaths? Probably not.

As I stated earlier, there are many people today who do not kill just because it is in their religion. In fact, they have altered their religion significantly to avoid the bloodshed. This means that Theists are not the problem, just the old religions combined with people who were pretty close to unstable already. The religion would simply be the final push they needed. This does not, however, clear the religion of being at fault, if only partially, as it was the final straw, a straw that would not have ever existed otherwise. The person may have been messed up to begin with, but it was the religion they held that ultimately made them decide to kill.

Atheism and Theism cannot kill anyone. These two things, by themselves, cannot do any harm. You cannot kill in the name of Atheism or Theism. Anyone who tries is just using an excuse, as neither of these things have ever commanded death. While there have been Atheists and Theists who have killed people, their Atheism/Theism never told them to. That is simply part of the bigger truth that there are murderers in every large group.

There is, however, another bit of truth to this myth, one that is uncomfortable for others to hear. There are those today who are perpetuating this myth on both sides. While there are those Atheists I've already mentioned who hold this belief, there are also Theists who are constantly wanting the deaths of Atheists, who openly pray for Atheists to die, and who occasionally take it upon themselves to kill Atheists. These same people will also occasionally kill those of other religions, but within this group, those particular people are fewer in number.

As an example, there was a story recently about a girl who noticed a prayer hanging on the wall in her public school, something that goes against the US constitution. She informed her teachers about this, and they did nothing. She informed the school board about this and they did nothing. She was eventually forced to go to the courts to get it removed. All they needed to do was revise this prayer to not include any religious element and it would have been able to stay. They were adamant about not removing it because it was a tradition in their school, one that could have remained just by altering it slightly.

Why am I bringing this up? This girl has since received a never ending supply of hate mail and death threats. As I said, these people are perpetuating the myth. There was also a story about FOX News who had interviewed an Atheist. Simply from that, the FOX News story on Facebook got hundreds if not thousands of death threats against the Atheist, to the point of needing to remove the story from their wall.

These are not the first instances of this happening, either. Theists have been sending death threats against Atheists for a long time. Every time we try to do something that they disagree with in the slightest, there are death threats made.

As I have already said, this is not the fault of Theism, it is the fault of those making the messages. However, the religion is not entirely faultless. It is the religion that taught them to not respect other's beliefs or a lack there of. These are the people who have chosen not to follow the new versions of their religion in the new age. These are the people who are still of the mentality of their ancestors who murdered people in the name of their religion.

So where does the myth stand? The myth is just that. It is a myth that all Atheists think all Theists are murderers. However, some of us believe this, and some Theists aren't making it easy to change their minds. We each need to get these people to stop pushing this myth into the realm of fact, before we have death threats on both sides actually being fulfilled.

A myth is only a myth as long as people don't act upon it.