Hold the Religious Accountable for Their Beliefs
Posted on Mar 12, 2006
A prominent Slovenian-born atheist, surveying the violence done in the name of Islam, argues that we should submit that faith, along with all other religions, to a “respectful, but for that reason no less ruthless, critical analysis. This, and only this, is the way to show a true respect for Muslims: to treat them as serious adults responsible for their beliefs.”
N.Y. Times: FOR centuries, we have been told that without religion we are no more than egotistic animals fighting for our share, our only morality that of a pack of wolves; only religion, it is said, can elevate us to a higher spiritual level. Today, when religion is emerging as the wellspring of murderous violence around the world, assurances that Christian or Muslim or Hindu fundamentalists are only abusing and perverting the noble spiritual messages of their creeds ring increasingly hollow. What about restoring the dignity of atheism, one of Europe’s greatest legacies and perhaps our only chance for peace?
More than a century ago, in “The Brothers Karamazov” and other works, Dostoyevsky warned against the dangers of godless moral nihilism, arguing in essence that if God doesn’t exist, then everything is permitted. The French philosopher Andr Glucksmann even applied Dostoyevsky’s critique of godless nihilism to 9/11, as the title of his book, “Dostoyevsky in Manhattan,” suggests.