Monday, April 18, 2011

The Arrogant Atheists vs. The Dogmatic Religious

This reminds me of the popular Atheist vs. Religious debates: O'Reilly vs Dawkins, The Richard Dawkins Forum (which I had once been a regular contributor), Reddit Atheism, the Hitchens vs. Hitchens debate and several other Youtube videos.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a hardy laugh at religious ignorance; as well, I can appreciate an eloquent argument by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, or Sam Harris. Although they can be amusing, these discussions are usually futile and breed resentment. 

By giving attention to what we don’t like, we actually strengthen its stance. This creates a looping effect where each side gets firmer in their stance and more resentful of the other.

Lastly, both sides tend to make the same fundamental error of judgment; they both appeal to the absolute worst/must harmful individuals of the other group. This is especially evident in the Hitchens vs. Hitchens debate where Christopher generalizes the fundamentalist stance on ‘religion’. The same goes for Christians who think all atheists are arrogant or immoral. We should be careful of the tendency to judge ourselves by our best characteristics and the other by their worst.

I find discussions on religion quite fascinating and think they have the potential to unite differences rather than merely dividing them.