Three Muslim students in North Carolina were shot and killed; the details and motive are still surfacing but it is clear that the murderer Craig Hicks is an atheist or anti-theist.
Since I identify myself as an atheist and a secular humanist, I am extremely saddened reading the news that the murderer is an atheist and the victims were religious.
May be his anti-theist thoughts had nothing to do with the motive and the parking dispute was the reason . But this incident poses a question that every atheist should confront.
Can atheism instigate violence on a personal level? Can someone who delves deep into Atheism as a philosophy at some point find a reason to physically hurt theists? Will they find theists a threat to their thought process…?
As people fiercely debate against religion and God will there be people who would be stitching a different perspective of those words? a perspective that does not include a love for humanity and a value for human life.
We can debate that atheism as such does not initiate violence but we have seen that totalitarian regimes where atheism is a state idea have carried out human rights violation and murders on a massive scale and atrocities committed against opposition and people of religion. So atheism can lead to violence if it is not identified with a strong secular humanistic view point.
In my opinion in our current world the secular humanist outlook is fundamental to even talk about atheism. If you say you are an atheist but not a humanist then you have a problem.
My heart goes to the family of the three victims. Nothing is in this world is worth at the cost of a life.
We should condemn any act of violence and also question our thoughts if we find it in common with the perpetrators; be it religion, atheism, belief systems, race, nationality, politics or ideology.