The Chapel Hill Shooting & Atheism

Ok, so after the cluster fuck of a “discussion” I had on twitter, with someone who clearly just wanted an argument, on Saturday I figured the best thing I could do was write a short piece to explain my position. After all, it’s a whole lot easier to get a point across when you don’t have a 140 character limit in which to do it.

But before I get into I want to say a few things:
1) I won’t name who the “discussion” was with as I’m not giving them the attention(if that’s what they wanted) or setting an angry mob on them.

2) I’m fully aware that atheism is simply the state of not believing in the existence of a god(I’ve probably had that debate more often than half of you reading this will have).

3) I don’t subscribe to this notion that atheism is a community. But some people do, and that’s why I’m writing this.

4) I don’t for a moment believe that Craig Hicks actions were motivated by atheism or anything in the “atheist community”. His anti-theistic stance may have contributed to them, but anti-theism is not atheism.

Now into the meat of the matter:

The exchange in question was sparked by a tweet in which I stated that if Hicks claimed that his atheism motivated his actions, then atheism would have an issue to deal with.
Now I freely admit that the above statement seems strange as I’ve already acknowledged that atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. The reason for the phrasing was, as I explained several times during that exchange, solely due to twitters character limit.
What I meant when sending the tweet was the following:
If Hicks states, at any point, that the experiences he had in the “atheist community” or that the actions/arguments of prominent members of the “atheist community” motivated him to kill the people he killed then anyone who claims there exists an “atheist community” needs to take action and publicly condemn him on behalf of their “community”.
This is no more and no less than we would ask from any other community, and whether people like it or not, there exists a relatively large number of people who argue that an atheist community exists. And to those people I say this:
You can’t have it both ways, if you want to claim to be a community then you need to hold yourselves to the same standards as you would any other community.

Now if, like myself, you don’t subscribe to this notion of a community existing around the concept of atheism then this really doesn’t apply to you. You can publicly condemn the killing or not, I honestly don’t care. I assume most people do condemn the killing purely because they’re human beings and not total assholes.

That’s it, that’s all I wanted to say.


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