A Twitter conversation about atheism has now passed beyond what Twitter can handle (at 140 characters, the bar is not set high). Let me lay it out for you. For the record, I don’t think anything here is particularly daring or outrageous; I just wanted to state it clearly.
I do not believe in God. I do not believe in any non-material world. I believe that people who pull the “you can’t prove a negative” stuff have an understanding of “prove” that is narrow and not appropriate to this conversation*. I believe in science, and that includes taking a scientific approach to the history and effects of religious beliefs.
I believe many militant atheists are unscientific in their approach to religion. I believe many of them are using atheism as a cover to justify racism and atrocities carried out by imperialism against Arab and North African peoples in the name of big oil. I feel that twisting a scientific principle out of shape to use it to justify terrorism, the murder of children and other civilians, torture, and attacks on democratic rights is one of the ugliest, most evil things a human being can do.
Belief in God can, should, and (I believe) ultimately will be overcome by education and by the free exchange of ideas. When religious groups attempt to interfere with science or with the exchange of ideas, or attempt to impose their beliefs on society in general or education in particular, they can, should, and must be fought. But ignorance masquerading as science is horrid, whether it is creationism, or anti-Muslim hysteria with a faux-scientific cover.
*In itself, a fascinating question that I’ll have to talk about one of these days.