I’ll likely lose more followers in the shallow world of twitter– I already have– but I have never been one to join sides. I’ve always been a great believer in Mark Twain’s ‘Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.’ Perhaps the partisanship I see from some atheists is an import from the partisanship of U.S.politics? Perhaps it is because I am older (I do have two young grandchildren after all), and less passionate; at least I choose my battles more carefully.
At the risk of Gowdining myself, if I had not known Hitler painted in his youth, and had I as a child seen a painting of his, would I have rejected his painting as evil? I will concede they are not great paintings, but there is a ‘what if’ here .Going less extreme, what of other groups? Is everything as stated from one group evil because they are known as a hate group, or at least proclaimed by one side or another as a hate group? To someone like me, the answer is no since maybe I don’t know a group is supposed to be evil, or sometimes I don’t care. Truth is truth no matter who utters it.
I criticise ideas not people. What’s worse, I will criticise anyone regardless of the group they are in. This is hard to do in written media and impossible on twitter. (I wish more atheists would learn ‘The principle of charity’.) This puts me in the position of having friends in various groups who I admire, but the groups themselves seem to be at war. To those groups Ican only say — “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster…” (Nietzsche) Critising ideas is one thing, parody, dogged nitpicking of people without constructive criticism, is just as evil.
I continue to reserve the right to disagree with people, and sometimes vehemently. If you are an atheist, or even a theistic secularist we can agree that religion has no place in government and education, but anything else will have to be negotiated on a case by case basis. You are just going to have to accept that I might agree with you on one thing, but not another.
I am not your foot soldier in your war.