My signature-mantra throughout this blog makes me an iconoclast, but not a criminal nor a terrorist nor an anti-religious fanatic. Christianity has a scandalous history of literally waging war and inflicting genocide through the wanton destruction of the property and the lives of “heretics” within its ranks, and even more savagely those of “heathen” who practised a different religion. Today an internal battle within Islam is being waged between followers of its Shi’ite and Sunni traditions. Saudi Arabia’s intolerance is not limited to its determination to stamp out the Shi’ite opposition to its Wahhabi version of Islam. Its Grand Mufti, in March, 2012, broadened his nation’s religious intransigence by issuing a fatwa, convinced that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian peninsula”.
Militant atheists like myself hopefully have no desire or project to destroy – God forbid ! – religious edifices. Our goal is to destroy religious belief and practice by undermining their ideological foundations, not their buildings. In Western countries, religions cannot any longer – thank God ! – employ oppression and brute force to impose their ideology. Atheists would not want to, even if they could. If we can’t make our convictions contagious by exposing the absurdity of religion, we would never resort to force or destruction. Religions must be left free to practise their piety and promulgate their propaganda. Religion however must be destroyed, not by bulldozers but by inviting believers to recognize that their faith is both unfounded and ridiculous. Any of their churches of historical or architectural value should be preserved as museums of medieval, primitive credulity. The others can find, as real estate, a second life, like the believers who will have abandonned them. Meantime my mantra remains :