I came across an article and I was going to comment but the whole "you must register to leave a comment" rigmarole seemed too troubling. Then I got to thinking. And then finally, sure I'll go ahead and blog this cause I haven't blogged in a while and I figured this needed addressing.
The article in question is at this location.
This is of course, an opinion piece. And Norris Burkes is doing well to spark emotions. On the Christian side, I am sure there are plenty of Amen's, at a boy's and pats-on-the-back. But for people like me this article evokes an emotional response so I will admit right up front, I am going to analyze this with a biased eye.
The part that really annoyed me was not even from Burkes' own words but a quoting of another article authored by Nicholas Kristof:
Dawkins encourages his readers to imagine a world without 9/11, Crusades, witch hunts, Israeli/Palestinian wars, Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, Northern Ireland "troubles," "honor killings" or "shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money."
Kristof asks you to imagine a world without the infamous atheistic leadership of Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot.
Thankfully, Kristof, a world traveler, sees another side.
"Every time I travel in the poorest parts of Africa, I see missionary hospitals ... churches (that) galvanize their members to support soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics that otherwise would not exist. Religious constituencies have pushed for more action on AIDS, malaria, sex trafficking and Darfur's genocide, and believers often give large proportions of their incomes to charities that are a lifeline to the neediest."
Firstly, the above argument set in place by Dawkins is valid. People do horrible things in the name and under the guise of religion. Religion gets a free pass, of any criticism. In Kristof's very weak argument that those horrible dictators did those horrible things they did in the name of atheism is laughable. They did those horrible things they did because they are horrible people not because they shun religion. Religion is not the basis of morality. If you are reading this and you disagree, ask yourself this. If there were no 10 commandments - no "thou shalt not kill" would you honestly go into your kitchen drawer and pick up a chef's knife and stab someone? Of course you wouldn't. If you believe, as I do, that killing is wrong, you just don't do it. If you still disagree, and would only not kill out of fear of God's judgment than I question your moral center. Saying that those dictators who all happen to be atheists did those things on the basis of their non belief is invalid. It is not the same as saying that the Westboro Baptist Church among a multitude of others promote hate on the basis of his religion. (which would be true - if you read the bible). I don't make the generalization that all Christians hate homosexuals. I am aware that religion does some good. I have heard that Hamas gives money to families in need and also Farrakhan helps young black men in getting off the streets.
In the last paragraph Its a good thing Kristof brings up AIDS and Africa. It is none other than the Catholic Church that has discouraged the use of condoms in AIDS stricken Africa. It is this example, where their dogma has a shocking human cost.