What is an example of a militant atheist

UNITED STATES. (wr / hpd) Dave Niose, president of the American Humanist Association, commented on the legend of "militant atheism" after the assassination attempt on Salman Taseer last Tuesday. He asked if it wasn't finally time to put an end to this defamatory myth.

Because representatives of religious organizations repeatedly talk about militant or aggressive atheism when ideologically motivated conflicts become an issue.


Dave Niose / Photo: AHANiose: "Even if millions of atheists walk through the streets every day, it is very difficult to find someone who is actually correctly described by the term" militant "."

Pakistani politician and businessman Salmon Taseer was fatally hit by nine bullets on January 4, 2011. His bodyguard killed Taseer because he had previously campaigned for liberal laws on religious criticism.

Salman Taseer, writes Dave Niose, had publicly questioned Pakistan's blasphemy laws in bold audacity and he paid with his life for this sin.

Now the father of several families is on a list with other victims who lost their lives under militant religions. For example, the doctor George Tiller, who was murdered for carrying out abortions in 2009, and Theo Van Gogh, who, as a Dutch filmmaker, was brutally killed for his provocative portrayals of Islam.

"Against this background, it is particularly puzzling that the American media and the public still uphold the stereotype of so-called militant atheism," writes Dave Niose.

Finally, he hears the disparaging phrase "militant atheist" being used regularly. This implies a notion that, of course, militant atheists also roamed the streets of the country.

This is also the case in German-speaking areas, where the phrase “militant atheism” is used again and again both in the media and by church representatives. You can also choose to read or hear about “aggressive atheism”, which can trigger worry and fear of secular groups and their concerns among unenlightened people.

The Magdeburg Bishop Gerhard Feige, for example, declared before Christmas that he perceived what was atheism as "aggressive" in its own way - admittedly without proving where aggression against him and his church members was carried out in any other way than sharp contradiction or fundamental criticism.

In fact, despite the millions of atheists walking the streets, it would be difficult to find even one who could be described as "militant" because of his identity as an atheist, Niose continued. And looking at American history, it is very doubtful that anyone was ever killed or injured in the name of atheism. Dave Niose stated, "Militant atheism is an entirely imaginary product."

A particularly crude phenomenon is that church members have for decades made an inconceivable mood against atheists and their ideas with reference to Hitler's fascism or communism. Benedict XVI. linked Nazi tyranny and atheism during his first speech on his last state visit to Britain.

When the media and others refer to "militant atheism", the object of that denigration is regularly an atheist who has the nerve to question religious authorities and verbally express his views on the existence of a god. Traditional wisdom, explains Niose, quickly tells us how shameful and tasteless such behavior should be. Hence the outrageous atheist is labeled as "militant".

Religious groups are now not subject to such standards. It should be publicly declared that someone is a sinner and will burn in hell forever, provided that one does not submit to superstition. The opinion holders of such views are almost never described by the media or the public as "militant", but rather as "strict believers" and their churches as "evangelical".

The lesson is simple, continued Niose. Anyone who is an atheist should shut up. Anyone who openly and verbally stands up to their godless worldview is a “militant atheist”. You have to be quiet, even if passionate representatives of fundamentally different views are not subject to these rules.

This explains, among other things, why so few Americans openly identify as atheists. The president of the American Humanist Association referred to recent surveys that 81 percent of Americans believe in some kind of “God” and only 19 percent don't.

A study of other statistics leads to the inevitable conclusion that millions of people in the United States are skeptical about religious beliefs.

Ultimately, this leads primarily to religious rights being confirmed and legitimized - because it gives the impression that there are some deficiencies in secular worldviews.

By ultimately suppressing the opinions of atheists in this way, religious people can co-opt the issues of high morality and unduly influence state politics.

Isn't it time, AHA President Dave Niose asks, to put an end to the legend of militant atheism?

Arik Platzek

First published at Wissenrockt.de