None of us likes to be accused of harboring or fomenting hate. Am I, in this Blog, innocent in this regard ? I have often insisted that as a militant atheist – no doubt more intense than many other atheists who were never ministers of religion as I was – I respect believers but should not be expected to respect their (crazy !) beliefs. “Blindfaithblindfolly” is itself a war-cry, surpassed only by my mantra “Delenda Religio” (usually softened through realism to “Ridenda Religio”).
But do I instill hate against believers, against Jews, Christians and Muslims whose faith is a defining element of their personal identity ? Do I hate them ? I can only reply “NO !”. People who know how much I loved my brother Jim, who lived and died a Catholic priest, who know how much I love everyone in my family, the believers, the atheists, the agnostics and the indifferent among them, would never ask the question. I am fortunate to have a family and friends on both sides of the planet, Down Under and Up Over, who accept me as I am, who refuse to let their faith-stance or mine affect the love we share. I know that some of them must find it hard to read the Blog, which pulls no punches in ridiculing religious beliefs, rules and rituals. But I am confident that they all realize that my objective is not to demolish the faith of the convinced believer (an almost impossible dream) but to get Believers on the Brink to develop the doubts they already have. Some would much prefer that I keep my atheism to myself. But I have many times explained that as a former priest and theologian I feel I owe it to others to help them discover the myths, wishful thinking and, yes, the absurdity of most of their beliefs.
Fortunately the Law protects my freedom of speech. My conscience, common sense and human decency prevent me from hating sincere, non-violent believers. Honesty obliges me to admit, however, that I do hate murderous maniacs and especially religiously motivated fanatics who blindly terrorize and massacre, indifferently, innocent men, women and children – believers or not. “Father, forgive them: they know not what they do” is beyond me. Terrorists deserve more than ridicule. They deserve extermination.