Yesterday a fellow named “The Irish Atheist” responded to my article “Three wheel Christianity” by claiming that I should compare Christianity to snakes:
“Perhaps instead of comparing Christianity to cars, you should compare it to snakes. Yes, some snakes are harmless, but once you’ve been bitten, you tend to avoid snakes, especially if it’s repeated.”
Hmmm, and while we’re comparing Christianity to snakes, why don’t we compare atheism to cockroaches? Yes, some cockroaches are harmless, but once you find them hiding in your cereal box, you tend to avoid cockroaches, especially if it’s been repeated.
Of course The Irish Atheist would be outraged at the comparison of atheism to a type of vermin, and rightly so. But he thinks it’s just fine to compare Christianity to another type of vermin. Apparently he doesn’t accept the common wisdom of the Golden Rule.
This is all most unfortunate. When you label a diverse belief system a type of vermin, the descriptor inevitably is extended to adherents to the belief system. If Christianity is “snakes” (an awkward ascription, to be sure), then by extension Christians are viewed as snakes.
We all know something of the terrible history of the social marginalization, oppression and destruction of various groups. And typically that process begins with identifying members of the group as vermin or pestilence.
I hope The Irish Atheist wouldn’t label Jewish people in similar terms. And I hope if he did that other atheists would forcefully censure the action. Personally, I have long railed against Christians who engage in a similar practice of atheists.
Unfortunately, I have encountered many atheists who engage in the same type of behavior as The Irish Atheist. They seek to marginalize Christians by labelling them as vermin or some other kind of pestilence. They are the children of Richard Dawkins with his reprehensible metaphor that religion is a “mind virus”. And it is time for more atheists to stand up to such despicable, incendiary rhetoric and to flag it as an enemy of true free thought and the open society.