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Atheism 101: Why do atheists only focus on Christianity?

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Atheists in America often get criticized by Christians for “only focus on Christianity.” It is not unusual for Christians to even claim that atheists are afraid to criticize Islam. To address this issue, I’m going to start by criticizing Christianity.

Christianity teaches that Jesus was persecuted and that Christians should also expect to be persecuted for their beliefs. In fact, many Christians believe that if they aren’t being persecuted for their beliefs, then they aren’t doing it right. There are large numbers of Christian believers (mostly from the fundamentalist camps) who actually want to be persecuted for their beliefs. As a result they try to find any excuse at all to cry persecution despite making up a majority of the population.

I can’t speak for all atheists, but as a point of fact I do criticize all three Abrahamic religions. Yes, I have written several articles criticizing particular Muslims when they do something immoral as a direct result of their fundamentalist Islamic beliefs. In my experience, Muslim fundamentalists aren’t any more likely than fundamentalist Jews or Christians to taking criticism violently. In fact, I have gotten more threats from Christians than from any other religious group.

Still, it is true that I tend to criticize Christianity more than I criticize the other Abrahamic beliefs. There are two reasons for this. The first is rather obvious. I live in America and in American this is the breakdown of religious believers according to the 2008 ARIS report:

Muslims make up about .6 percent of all Americans.
Jews make up about 1.2 percent of all Americans.
Christians make up about 86 percent of all Americans.

So why focus on Christianity? It is in large part all about the numbers… but not entirely. While Sam Harris has argued that Islam is the most dangerous religion on Earth, I would argue that Islam is the most violent, but not the most dangerous religion. The way I see it, Christianity is the most dangerous religion of the 21st century.

In the 21st century, a violent fundamentalist Muslim extremist might get their hands on a single nuclear weapon or might be able to create a large explosive device capable of killing hundreds or maybe even thousands of people. In fact, they have done the latter, but the fear is that they could do the former. Harris makes the case in his book The End of Faith,” that strict fundamentalist adherence to Islam is and can be extremely violent.

In the 21st century, those similar elements within Christianity aren’t quite as violent, but they tend to believe similar things. The difference however is that it is very likely that such a violent fundamentalist Christian could get their hands on multiple nuclear weapons. The likelihood of such a Christian becoming President of the United States is actually pretty high. While former President George W. Bush didn’t use nuclear weapons in the Middle East, his Christian faith did guide him to use more conventional weapons in that region.

The fact is that Christianity is in a better position to affect people’s lives around the globe and many Christian dominionists in positions of power use those positions of power to the detriment of humanity. So while fundamentalists in all three Abrahamic religions consider homosexuality a sin, and while it is true that adherents of Islam are known for actually killing gays, it is the adherents of fundamentalist Christianity who are in a position to affect the lives of many more gay people around the world in a negative fashion.

If all the Imams got together and declared condoms to be evil, that would not affect nearly as many people as the Pope’s similar declaration. Plus, the Pope only speaks for Catholics and as we know, many fundamentals of other Christian sects believe the same thing and they too are in positions of power in which their beliefs affect many more lives.

My point is that Christianity kills more people and affects negatively on the happiness and general well-being of more people than Islam or Judaism possibly could in the 21st century. Islam is might be more violent, but Christianity is more dangerous.

Let’s say you are sitting in a room with two people. The first person is running around screaming that he will kill anyone who draws a picture of his friend or who offends him in the slightest. Sure, that guy is obviously scary and will probably kill someone violently. But the second guy is calm and sitting in a business suit. He owns a massive oil company that pollutes like crazy because he believes that God gave him dominion over the Earth. The pollution from his company kills thousands of people and makes tens of thousands sick. He isn’t scary and he probably won’t kill anyone in a violent fashion, but at the end of the day, he is the more dangerous of the two men in the room.

Please check out the Atheism 101 Series for frequently asked topics.

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