I admittedly don’t know an awful lot about the incident at Chapel Hill whereby an atheist gunned down three Muslims. As a skeptic, questions automatically come to mind, such as, given the notion that a lack of belief in a deity isn’t really enough content as a proposition to cause any action other than disbelief, then what really were the extra causal factors and motives behind the killings? There are many similar questions and discussions to be had. It is well worth reading Michael Nugent’s analysis of the guy and his beliefs and motivations here (where he presents evidence gleaned from his online writing declaring ambivalence to the mosque at Ground Zero, his great anger at certain driving issues and other such interesting points). The police have so far concluded no evidence of hate crime.
However, lets imagine that he did kill those people on account of his atheism, if that even makes sense.
In fact, let’s count up all the killings by atheists on account of their atheism over, say, the last decade. I am not talking about political Marxist revolutionaries who may have killed on account of their politics, but people who have done so on account of their lack of belief in a god. I can’t think of any, personally.
Then let’s count up the deaths as a result of belief in a god, such as is happening in the Middle East. Let’s even take the example of the 21 Christians beheaded by Islamic State on account of their being nonbelievers.
In one day, Islam (for example) has outperformed atheism in death horror.
I am not belittling the horror of this Chapel Hill shooting. Any such death is a terrible loss. However, like many others, I am calling for perspective. There has been such a backlash against atheism from two fronts: religionists who are delighting in atheism, which has been in the moral and statistical ascendancy; and fellow liberals who are claiming people like me have not spent enough time shouting about this incident.
On the latter, I have been criticised on facebook for not posting much anything about Chapel Hill. The simple reality is that it passed my by initially because, as you can see, my focus on economics has been all consuming. I have given a huge output in the last 2 weeks which has taken all of my time, both in writing, and replying to the original commenter. My fellow SINners here have covered the event in enough detail.
But I don’t need to post about this incident because is a huge and unrepresentative rarity. It is not a problem. The atheist community does not have this problem. In fact, I can guess that gun ownership in the atheist community is far less of a problem than in the religious community.
Perspective, people. Perspective.