Friday, October 17, 2008

Am I militant?

I try to lead an ethical life. I often find myself with great empathy for others; though admittedly, not all of the time. I most certainly believe that the retention of knowledge and the supression of an open forum for debate are the most unethical things possible (burning books comes to mind.) Nonviolence ought to always be the answer, even though there are times where it doesn't seem to work (Hitler, anyone?) But, I am an outspoken atheist. I'm a member of a student group in which a majority of the members are atheists. I identify with a very specific group of people who are all outspoken against theism, irrationalism, and blind faith in all of its forms.

Of course, this makes me a militant atheist. The term was apparently coined by Lenin, but I've seen the phrase thrown around a few times recently; by pundits, religious nuts, and to my surprise, even the author of a popular science book.

If, by this accusation, they mean that certain atheists are outspoken with their beliefs, then they're damn right. Of course, the word militant itself doesn't seem to fit here. For example:

That's who they're talking about. Guys on YouTube who are angry and bitch a lot! Nevermind the countless deaths caused by the Islamic extremists, the bombings of abortion clinics and murdered doctors caused by the religious right, and the countless atrocities justified by the holy books throughout history... Any highschool history textbook will show you the atrocities religion has caused (public highschool I should say.)

Given these facts, it seems like the phrase militant atheist is, go figure, a scare tactic.

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