Oh, the irony…

New Zealand shooting: suspect Brenton Tarrant charged with murder

Apparently, the alleged shooter is an immigrant himself, from… Australia. His internet pawprint indicates he’s a white supremacist.

Goes to show, you really need to be careful who you let into the country. These ozzies are obviously prone to criminality and violence! Ban them all!!

To make the point, had this alleged terrorist been a Muslim shooting up a Christian church, the far right loons, mostly but not all white males, would be outraged against the Muslim communities. There would be cries for hanging, deportation, imprisonment and persecution, and, of course, revenge. We would be told how no Muslim could be trusted, that to let one in opens the door to terrorism.

Strange how silent they are when the alleged terrorist is one of them.

Let’s make no mistake, this was a vicious and evil act of terrorism. I haven’t read whether the alleged shooter is a practising or nominal Christian – nominal is most likely – or whether he identifies with any of the Christian sects. However, it’s correct to point out that religious sectarianism has been the cause of much violence globally, and virtually no religion or sect, not even Buddhism, is innocent of it sometime, somewhere. It is also correct to point out that most of the fanatical anti-Muslim rhetoric is coming from the Christian far-right.

There is no point saying that atheism is as bad, pointing to Stalin (and sometimes to Hitler, who also hated atheists) as an example of a brutal atheist. Stalin’s violence stemmed not from atheism, but from Marxism and Communism, the notion that a favoured ideology can end the lives of its opponents or non-adherents.

But atheism is not an ideology or theology, the way a religion or political theory often is. It has no church, no priests or imams, no pontiff or ayatollah. There are prominent spokes-persons for atheism, go-to folk who are well known in the press and media, but they can’t command obedience by fiat, and there are no atheist armies or terrorist groups. In fairness, some of these prominent media atheists have also spoken out against Islam, but they speak out against religion in general. Islam has been more in the news recently where violence is concerned.

There is no single belief system atheists must adhere to in order to be called an atheist – merely a denial of any version of “god”. There it is in a nutshell: “I do not believe in a deity” is the sum total of atheist ideology. Everything else is rationalisation, unique to each atheistic individual.

Some atheists won’t even go that far, and equivocate. They call themselves agnostics and while they mostly live atheistic lives, do not want to commit themselves even to that nutshell statement.

In short, religion is the problem here. Not just Islam, either. It’s aggressive theology, the notion that some small group of clerical insiders have a special insight into the desires of their particular deity, and that infidels, apostates and us general pagans must be coerced and punished into conformity with their particular revelation. I’d further argue that any theology that becomes mainstream or otherwise acquires secular power becomes an aggressive one.

Religion is the sick man of human philosophy. I’d like to say it’s time for reason and humility to replace it, but it’s been past time, for centuries and most likely millennia. I have no reason to be confident there will ever be a time in human history when religious and other ideological thinking will be forever banished, because we no longer desire it like some drug. So until the human species exterminates itself, through war, other strife, or climate change, we are going to be stuck with sectarian violence.

Leave a Reply