I recently encountered a few atheists that were rejoicing in the church burnings that have made the news recently they went so far as to celebrate violence itself. I was taken aback by the ignorance and aggressiveness that was on display and even encouraged.
One individual claimed that they have always wanted to burn down a church and now they see how easy it is, they claimed that the news was "fucking awesome" and that all churches should be burned down. In response I said:
While I am completely unimpresed by religious belief and find what goes on inside a church to be lame I completely denounce arson. Burning down Churches is a very destructive and negative thing to do. If it turns out to be atheists then we have all been tainted by the morose actions of one or a few individuals. Who ever is going around and burning down any building for any reason is a criminal and an idiot, I really hope that this cannot be linked to atheism.
There was then discussion about violence and there were individuals claiming that they enjoyed violence, that it was necessary and that they would not hesitate to be violent. I then said:
I have found no reason to resort to violence and I find no reason for anyone else to do so. The only situation that I could foresee myself using violence would be if I, or those in my company, came under violent attack and physical force was needed to counter the situation.
Violence is a manifestation of our primal instincts and animal urges that should be overcome. We are afforded a highly advanced conscious awareness that is unequaled within the animal kingdom, we would do well to actualize our potential and harness our characteristics to the fullest extent possible. Violence is a characteristic of our lesser evolved ancestors and those that embrace such depravity have not yet fully grown into the human race. Humans have the ability to abolish needless and senseless violence and when one does not do their best to rid themselves of such animal behavior they endanger everyone.
To me violence is a form of irrational ignorance and I deplore both irrationality and ignorance so it is natural that I oppose violence. Being a secular humanist I believe that violence is never the answer and that one should use the power of their mind to resolve conflicts. We cannot afford to accept mindless violence and aggressive animal behavior.
While we deplore the violent Muslim reaction to the Muhamad cartoons we must also deplore the burning of churches. We must oppose not only religious violence but violence against religion, both are unacceptable. We need to promote peace, acceptance, tolerance and intelligence; only then will we know anything of true freedom.
“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov
“You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it.” – Noam Chomsky
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mohandas Gandhi
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
“Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.” – Victor Hugo
“All we are saying is give peace a chance.” – John Lennon