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← The Pakistan killings are not about blasphemy

AlexP's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by AlexP

Even the supposedly militant "new atheists," whom genteel commentators damn for their vulgarity, steer clear of religions that might kill them. Close readers of Richard Dawkins will notice that almost all his examples of clerical folly are drawn from the Catholic and American evangelical churches, whose congregations are unlikely to firebomb his publishers.

Indeed. Professor Dawkins even goes so far as to call catholicism "the second most evil religion". Wait a minute. I wonder which religion beat it to the first place?

While I agree that there is a tendency to drown cricism of islam with political correctness and accusations of islamophobia and racism ( regardless of the critic or critique ), I don't quite agree that criticism of christianity is much more present and vocal solely because of either terrorism or cultural relativism.

Christianity is still the dominant religion in the west. And while islam has gained influence, it'll take some time to compensate for christianity 's head-start. In the mean time, I don't think "new atheists" ( or regular atheists. Or anyone else, for that matter ) can be blamed to concentrate on the most influential religion in their immediate vicinity. And its not that islam is spared from cricism. "Even" from Professor Dawkins.

Another thing is: I don't think we can simply criticise islam and try to limit its influence where it is considered harmful, without questioning our general stance towards religion itself - and in the west, this means christianity for the most part. We need to dismantle the idea that religion is "special", that it deserves additional respect, that opinions gain any amount of weight simply by being based on religious belief.

As long as we hold christianity in undeserved - and unquestioned - esteem, we can hardly blame muslims if they demand the same kind of respect for islam. Either we elevate islam to the same level of respect in our society - good luck with that, especially where it disagrees with christianity - or we bring all religions down to the same level. And the latter means concentrating on christianity - without ignoring islam.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 15:28:18 UTC | #599379