Thursday, February 12, 2015
No - REAL Atheists Don't Kill Muslims!
Craig Stephen Hicks - claimed to be "an ordained Atheist minister" - he was nothing of the sort
The news of the senseless, execution-style killing of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, NC was bad enough - but to then learn the perpetrator was an "ordained Atheist minister" named Craig Stephen Hicks was outrageous. That information alone has set the Twittersphere on fire, bloviating it "was all about religion". Oh no, not in any way!
First, Atheism itself is not a religion - though many uninformed people continue to assert it is. A religion has certain basic uniform attributes including: a) at least one sacred source of revelation or "sacred book", b) the acknowledgment or worship of some ultimate power beyond oneself, and c) a core set of common beliefs to which everyone subscribes, and d) a common ritual that periodically assembles like-minded believers for the purpose of (b).
Second and by contrast, atheists withhold belief, they do not invest it. This alone separates atheists from religionists or people of faith. Atheists make no positive claims for any transcendent existent that requires their worship or obeisance.
Third, Atheism is not the same as anti-theism. Anti-theism marks an aggressive opposition to all things religion to the point of evoking an aggressive hostility. Real atheists have or want no part of this.
This is relevant given Hicks' Facebook page professed his belief in "anti-theism" and stated that he wanted "religion to go away." He even included the word ANTI-THEISM in 48 point red font.
Hence, by his own admission Hicks was not an Atheist, but an Anti-theist. And further, the latter is no religion either.
When one actually plumbs the background to the man and the background to the incident, one learns: 1) he had ongoing anger issues, and 2) he was an avid gun owner and hated gun control.
The first is probably most germane in terms of the fact his neighbors all professed he had a running battle with the victims (and others) over parking spaces, and also couldn't handle noise outbursts. As we have seen from previous senseless murders, the intolerance of noise has frequently been at the core in provoking such aggressive responses.
Sadly, as the story and later trial unfolds it is almost inevitable it will be portrayed as a "religious" or "hate" crime, as opposed to a guy with several screws loose simply coming unhinged at what he perceived as one "insult" too many. The "straw that broke the camel's back" motif. But with three innocent Muslims paying their lives over his inability to count to ten, take a deep breath and take a step back.
Call Hicks what you will, but don't call him an Atheist!