Tuesday, December 8, 2015

An atheist's thoughts on Donald Trump

I could write a scathing critique of Islam, based on my reading of the Koran, my reading of Hadith, my studies of the history of Islam, my readings of articles and speeches by Muslims, my experiences in countries with large populations of Muslims and the activities of people that say they are Muslims - and not just extremists, like members of Daesh or Al-Queda or the Taliban. Scathing. In all sincerity.

I could write a scathing critique of Christianity, based on my own experiences in various churches and with thousands of Christians whilst growing up in the Bible Belt of the USA, my reading of different translations of the Bible, the history of how the Bible was compiled and edited and mistranslated over the centuries, my readings of articles and speeches by Christians, and the activities of people that say they are Christians - and not just extremists, like members of the Ku Klux Klan or the Westboro Baptist Church or Jerry Falwell or Franklin Graham or Rick Warren. Scathing. In all sincerity.

I could write a scathing critique of other religions, based on similar criteria.

I'm an atheist. I see all of the ways religion creates misunderstanding, fuels fears, discourages thought, divides people, inspires people to hate and to act on that hate and to feel justified in acts of hate. It's my hope that humans eventually reject religion, all religion, in favor of universal moralities based on humanism, value of our environment, value of knowledge, and love of the arts and sports.

So please know where I am coming from when I say that Donald Trump is disgusting. His call for a ban on all Muslims coming to the USA is fascist, it's Hitleresque, it's un-American, and it must be condemned by anyone with any shred of sensibility - particularly Republicans and Christians in the USA - with no qualifications whatsoever.

what USA mass shooters have in common

Whether young and white, old and white and Christian, or young and Muslim, the men that shoot up or bomb schools, movie theaters, women's health clinics, military bases or recruiting offices or special events in the USA have a lot in common:
  • they believe they are absolutely, positively, morally righteous / justified in their actions and their violent feelings of hate
  • they are consumed with anger and hate - it dominates at least some aspects of their life (family gatherings, activities outside of work, conversations with friends, what they watch on TV, etc.)
  • they believe they must commit this act of violence, that it is essential
  • they love guns - they have experience shooting a variety of guns, and they greatly enjoy shooting guns 
That's the profile of mass shooters in the USA. Yes, there was a woman that murdered people in San Bernadino, but, so far, she's an exception - though I've long feared an armed woman walking into a Planned Parenthood clinic and opening fire.

What frightens me is that I regularly see people, the vast majority of them men, with this profile on social media in the USA. There are many thousands of men in the USA - mostly Christian, but also Muslim, Atheist, probably Jewish as well - that fit this profile. Many thousands. Many of the men that fit this profile - including mass shooters - also hate women in particular, blaming, women for the problems of the world - or, at least, the problems that they, the haters, are having (unemployment, lack of money, lack of a social life, and lack of sex).

I'm not the only one that sees these patterns.

I'm an atheist, but I never assume someone is bad, or stupid, or both, just because they are a member of a religion. And I never assume someone is good just because they are an atheist. But there is a profile I do fear.

Since this profile transcends religion, since religion seems just an excuse for men's murderous impulses, how in the world do we address this?

I don't know...