Spencer’s most recent book is Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t. According to a Reuters’ article this week, the ad to be put out by Hier’s group states:
Suicide terrorists believe they act in God’s name and enter paradise as holy martyrs. Religious leaders must use every sermon and every publication to denounce this belief as nothing less than an abomination of faith and a perversion of all that is godly.
No! Suicide bombing is NOT an “abomination of faith and a perversion of all that is godly”; it’s a product of religious faith and a consequence of “godliness”. As Richard Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion:
However misguided we may think them [the terrorists], they are motivated, like the Christian murderers of abortion doctors, by what they perceive to be righteousness, faithfully pursuing what their religion tells them. They are not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith.
As much as I wish it weren’t so, I doubt that we’ll ever rid the world of the scourge of suicide bombing by the methods advocated by Hier, Spencer, and so many others; their way, more likely, will make matters worse. In essence, the message of such theists is: “You Muslims are wrong; your ‘holy book’ is wrong.” To which, loud and clear – deafeningly loud with each suicide blast – comes the bombers’ answer: “NO! YOU’RE THE ONES WHO ARE WRONG! GOD IS WITH US!”
In contrast to theists, scientific humanists have a simple, clear, rational, and scientifically defensible response to both sets of stupidities: “You’re both wrong; the evidence for the existence of any god is zip; suicide bombing is neither ‘godly’ nor ‘ungodly’; it’s a war tactic used by power mongers to extend their parasitic existence and their power over the people; it’s developed by brainwashing children in religious balderdash, and it’s deployed by maniacs unable to think for themselves.”
The way to stop such madness is to purge all theists of their god delusions. A critical step is to stop indoctrinating children in clearly invented balderdash; it’s another form of child abuse; instead, teach children the scientific method (“guess, test, and reassess”), which is the essence of critical thinking.
That is, the real “crime against humanity” is perpetrating belief and faith in God. Worldwide, spread the word: anyone and everyone who believes in God is bonkers. As Richard Robinson wrote:
We ought to do what we can towards eradicating the evil habit of believing without regard to evidence.
And we must stop such madness, such evil, since the consequences are potentially so serious. As Sam Harris wrote in The End of Faith:
Our technical advances in the art of war have finally rendered our religious differences – and hence our religious beliefs – antithetical to our survival. We can no longer ignore the fact that billions of our neighbors believe in the metaphysics of martyrdom, or in the literal truth of the book of Revelation, or any of the other fantastical notions that have lurked in the minds of the faithful for millennia – because our neighbors are now armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that these developments mark the terminal phase of our credulity. Words like “God” and “Allah” must go the way of “Apollo” and “Baal,” or they will unmake our world.
So please, Robert and Marvin, stop and think what you’re doing – and then, pause even longer to think about your thoughts, including their origins. Think about what Robert Ingersoll wrote more than a century ago:
For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other. This is the war between Science and Faith. The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter. The few have said “Think”; the many have said “Believe!”
As much as I’m sure you’re trying to help, I’m also sure that you can’t help humanity by, in effect, telling the terrorists that your god is better than their god. Think about what Bertrand Russell wrote:
What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires – desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way… So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence [italics added], they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.
Think about it: there’s no evidence to support anyone’s “belief” that any god has ever existed. Your faith in your god and your “holy book”, just like the terrorists’ faith in their god and their “holy book”, is a product of your childhood indoctrination and your unconstrained imagination. Instead of having “belief and faith in god”, hold beliefs only as strongly as relevant evidence warrants and, thereby, develop faith in the scientific method.
In reality, theists (aka “unscientific antihumans”) are the disbelievers and infidels: they disbelieve in the value of evidence; in their application of the scientific method, they’re infidels.