by Amanda Bingham
“Religion is the number one cause of all the world’s problems,” an angry anti-theist said to me recently during a social media debate. “Every single major war, genocide, conflict… all human
problems trace back to people doing evil in the name of god.” This is an oft-repeated mantra of the “New Atheist” movement, or as they have become more commonly known, the Anti-Theists.
Anti-theism is defined as “doctrine antagonistically opposed to theism; denial of the existence of a god; opposition to god.” The anti-theistic (not to be confused with classic atheism, which is merely a disbelief in the existence of deity) movement has been picking up momentum in the past decade, complete with
Facebook pages such as “Religion Poisons Everything” (137,647 likes) and “Anti-Theism” (15,250 likes) to back it up. “Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is now time for reason, education and science to take over.” is the banner as stated by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the woman solely responsible for restricting the rights of children to pray in public schools. The Anti-theism movement has hardliner Atheist celebrities like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens to provide an ever-renewing source of anti-religious quotes and sound-bites for the perpetuation of their machine of ideological warfare and hatemongering against all faiths.
Certainly, some terrible things have been done in the name of religion or by purported practitioners of religions. However, the crucial thing to note is that these horrendous acts were prohibited by the religions in whose name they were done. (Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder”; Quran 5:32: “On that account, We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person, unless it be in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew all of mankind: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humanity.”) Anti-Theists and Atheists alike have repeatedly challenged that no violence is done in the name of Atheism. While that litmus is impossible to reach since Atheism is not a unified set of beliefs; we can analyze the Atheist dominated societies.
If the oft-repeated assertion that “Religion is the cause of all the world’s problems” is correct then an anti-theist society where religion is banned (such as North Korea, the USSR or China) should be a utopia. The reality is that somewhere between 40 and 259 million people have been killed by anti-theistic regimes just in the past 100 years. This is ranging from Joseph Stalin’s USSR to Pol Pot’s Cambodia to North Korea. In an attempt to expunge religion (which they perceived to be the true ailment of human society) from the face of the earth, these regimes have committed acts of evil that any group claiming to act upon religion would be hard pressed to match.
In the age of modern conflict, asymmetrical, decentralized, non-state actors are becoming the major players and agents of evil on the world’s stage. “Religious” lone-wolf terrorists as well as non-
state armies and extremist groups have largely stolen the global stage from organized government evils. The “religious” terrorists hardly have a monopoly on dangerous rhetoric, or, as the triple assassination in Chapel Hill, NC recently proved,
on terrorism. The dangerous seeds of the idea that one group (all religious people) are responsible for all the world’s problems (like the Jews in 1930s Germany) is being sown by some individuals and groups within the atheist and anti-theist movements. They must be plucked by the roots before all society reaps a foul harvest.
How can Muslims fight such an oncoming storm of hostility, hatred and ignorance? The best way is to practice the method of ongoing dawah in the way of Muhammad (SAWS) and extend knowledge in the face of ignorance. As Muslims we should never despair from the mercy of our Lord. We have it better in America than so many Muslim groups did who experienced (and still suffer) oppression or occupation. We have legal power in the form of reinforced rights guaranteed by the constitution and the American legal system, we have economic power and we have the power of Allah’s message. As Allah has told us in 21:18 of the Qur’an “We fling (send down) the truth (this Quran) against the falsehood (disbelief), so it destroys it, and behold, it (falsehood) is vanished.”
His book: End of Faith p. 52 – 3
Interview by Laura Sheahen at the 2005 “World Congress of Secular Humanism.” Interview entitled “Why Religion Must End: Interview with Sam Harris” Published by Beliefnet.
February 2005 appearance on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country”
Introduction (pg. XIX) of Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future by Rod Parsley, 2007
Interview published by Oogenhand April, 2013 “Richard Dawkins’ Anti-Islam/Anti-Muslim propaganda exposed.” The statement was first published in an original article by Dawkins on FaithFreedom.org which has since been removed. The quote has been corroborated by the team at LoonWatch and The American Muslim.
Quoted in Shatz, Adam (23 September 2002), “The Left and 9/11”, The Nation