Atheists and Agnostics, like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher, are routinely scrutinized by both the left and the right.
We all know that the religious right-wing have always targeted atheists, agnostics and freethinkers in theological debate/critique.
Atheism/Agnosticism has a new enemy it seems; one that seems almost contradictory.
I speak, of course, of the “social justice left” or the “regressive left”. Those who fashion themselves as intellectuals and progressives, but have, unbeknownst to them, clumsily slipped into a modern day witch hunt and assumed the role once perpetrated by yesteryear’s puritan:
“Purge the evil forces of society!”
I understand that progressives envision a society built on coexistence, tolerance, peace and acceptance. I understand that there are individuals who know absolutely nothing about Islam and flaunt their ignorance by conflating extreme factions of Islam (like Isis) with most modern day Muslims. (The same way individuals try to conflate the Westboro Baptist Church with your average Christian.)
I get that there are obnoxiously uninformed bigots who dislike/hate Muslims as a result of their limited, narrow-sighted knowledge of them.
Most Atheists/Agnostics, however, don’t criticize Islam from a bigoted standpoint. We criticize Islam the same way we criticize other Abrahamic religions; by referencing doctrine.
It isn’t the people, or the fact that the majority of Muslims are non-white (American Muslims have no majority race), it’s simply the religion itself that is criticized, the same way we criticize Christianity or any other religion.
A portion of Americans, particularly those who identify as progressives, have manufactured something unique and quite bizarre. So much has their defense of Muslims (against bigots) intensified, that the doorway into the world of legitimate critique has virtually been closed.
This word “Islamophobia” is just another weaponized word authoritarian leftists use to quell arguments, silence opposition and deliberately ignore rational debate.
The interesting thing, to me, is that most of the atheists and agnostics I know, or have conversed with in the past, are in fact leftists.
These new Marxist wannabes, on the other hand, hate conservatives and right-wingers so much that they’re forgetting that religions like Islam are power structures worthy of criticism. I quote Vladimir Lenin:
“Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism, of the theory and practice of scientific socialism.”
It’s okay to intellectually criticize Islam. Criticizing a certain religion doesn’t inherently make you a bigot. That is a preposterous and invalid claim.
As an agnostic I have absolutely no qualms with associating with religious people, be it Christians or Muslims, Jews, Buddhists etc. Most of my family, friends and acquaintances are religious to some degree.
The Muslim people I have known in my life are wonderful, courteous and polite people who accepted that I am not religious and treat me with reasonable kindness. The same with the Christian people I know.
We can criticize, debate, and discuss philosophy, theology and politics without hating each other and wanting to kill one another. It is possible, I assure you.
Just remember, Atheism does not equate to “Islamophobia”.