Killing in the name of atheism?


I think most if not all of you are aware of the development in Chapel Hill, North Caroline where three members of a family were killed by Craig, not the other one. From what I have read in the news so far, Craig is an atheist and those murdered were Muslims. I have read it could have been a dispute over parking space.

The death of any man is a tragedy and killing someone for a parking lot is something I can’t fathom though I know of people who have killed for less.

Is it possible to construe atheism in such a way that it is possible to kill in its name? Or can we say that anyone who kills and claims atheism is the motivation has conflated the meaning of atheism and something else?

In my view, I don’t see a way in which atheism can be a motivation to kill. It is a descriptor of just what one doesn’t believe in. The mere label of atheist doesn’t tell you what I believe in. Since the murders, I have read of people who expect that celeb atheists should come out and condemn such acts on behalf of the atheists. I don’t think I see the sense in any of this. For one, atheism has no tenets, no leaders. Each man is his king and priest. If any one atheist feels moved sufficiently to condemn the murders, it must be construed he is doing it in his person as a free man and not as representative of any atheist group.

Does speaking out consistently against violence and murder visited on people in the name of religion fuel hatred towards the religious group? What should we do faced in a world where people are butchered in the name of a prophet? Should we cow in fear or are we called upon to oppose this violence?

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

45 thoughts on “Killing in the name of atheism?

  1. If this guy did kill these people in the name of “atheism” he is obviously VERY mentally ill and VERY confused as to what atheism means. It is a horribly tragic event. Murder of innocents always is, but to say one is killing in the name of atheism is akin to saying you are killing in the name of your disbelief in Big Foot and Superman, in other words the person making such a claim is bat-shit insane. Killing is wrong. Especially this sort of blind, meaningless murder where an innocent peaceful family is wiped out over, perhaps, a parking space. What causes such a rage to build up in a person that he would murder a whole family over a parking space? Scary, disturbing stuff. And very sad.

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    • makagutu says:

      I think to kill one over a parking dispute is going too far. Sadly I have heard of cases where a person has lost their lives over salt or boiled eggs. Yes.. you read that correctly.
      Expecting atheists to take responsibility for this murder is like expecting footballers to apologize if one of them robbed a bank.

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  2. Atheism cannot be held accountable just how feminism cannot be handled accountable for misandry – these are things that are not part of its doctrine. Atheism means not believing in God – it only describes a thought.

    Anti-theism – an active opposition to religion can be more in favor of hurting the religious. I’d be just as critical of anti-theists though – if you feel the need to bother people because they fast on Yom Kippur you sure lack problems in your life.

    Speaking out consistently against a violent religion can induce hatred. However, anyone who takes this narrative and turns it into an excuse to hurt innocent Muslims misses the point of opposing Islamic terrorism.

    We oppose Islamic terror because there’s A LOT of it, and it hurts almost everyone – gays, kikes, Muslims, and women. TheReligionOfPeace, the website, documents attacks even if they hurt Muslims. They also have an article about how each individual is responsible for his own action. Hurting innocent Muslims is just as bad.

    Why focus on Islam, then? Well, is there any other group that causes so much death? Is there any other group that has CURRENTLY organizations like ISIS?

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    • makagutu says:

      We can talk about Islam or Buddhist monks[?] killing Muslims is it in Taiwan.
      Well said

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      • Killing a Muslim because of his religion is just as bad as a Muslim killing a Jew because of his religion. However, since the amount of killing done by Muslims is much higher (Again, I refer to TROP. I’m willing to check any conflicting sources though) it gains and deserves more focus.

        If a lot of members of a certain religion kill a lot of people, constantly view themselves as victim (“Charlie Hebdo attack was terrible, but..,” #I’llRideWithYou), and get offended over silly things (The Sudanese Teddy Bear story, HarperCollins making a map without Israel so Muslims won’t be offended) there might be something seriously wrong with the religion and a lot of members of that population.

        By the way, I encountered a few claims the killer was on the leftist-liberal side of things. That’s the side that’s commonly associated with being sympathetic to Muslims. I haven’t verified it though.

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  3. john zande says:

    James at Isiah Project was almost giddy with excitement trying to beat the drum of this being an “atheist killing!”

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  4. Nobody kills in the name of atheism. Given that it is NOT a belief (where have we heard this one before?) how can one kill in the name of something that no exist?

    If someone asked me to condemn a murder by an atheist, I’d abhor it as I do any murder, but treat it no differently. But to,expect other atheists to publicly pronounce against it is dangerous territory, trying to put onto atheism the same old belief system. Quite frankly, whatever someone’s beliefs, or lack of, a murderer is just that. beliefs may influence the loopy ones, non-beliefs can’t, because by definition, non beliefs just aren’t.

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    • expecting atheists to stand and condemn the murders is not only misplaced, it is much like the crazy old cat lady coming home to find her sofa all scratched up and asking the cats to identify the guilty one.

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    • makagutu says:

      There is a lot of talk about double standards in this case so far. The first have heard is that because the dude is white, it is a mental illness and the second is that atheists are disassociating themselves from it while if it was religiously motivated, guys would be tripping over one another to decry the effects of religion in society

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    • makagutu says:

      I have been thinking about this issue for sometime now. There are memes claiming there is a double standard applied here. They claim because the dude is white guys are saying he could be mental while if it had been a black man or a Muslim, the whole groups could be under fire.
      Do you think this is the case here?
      I think those who want atheism to be made responsible either don’t know what atheism is or are hanging on straws

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  5. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Good points, my Nairobi brother! Atheism, like all cultural groups, is not exempt from attracting followers who are plagued with mental disorders. The man who committed this atrocity obviously suffers from one. These murders are hate crimes, no matter what the xenophobic and bigoted authorities may state. This act is a human tragedy.

    I do disagree on one point with you. You wrote that atheism isn’t organized and has no leadership. We do have one supreme pontiff, my friend. You! You are the sanctified Father Of All Fathers! LOL! Much love and many naked hugs! 🙂

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  6. themodernidiot says:

    The dude was mental, and he had a gun. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think an ongoing parking feud would be enough to make someone snap. Parking is a bitch. Even Buddha would’ve bitched about his neighbors; apartment complexes suck.

    But let’s ignore what the media wants this to be, and look at what it is. The dude was 46, and going to school be a paralegal. That’s a good sign his finances were not awesome. Add that stress to his being forced to change careers, perhaps not for the first time; he was a former parts salesman. Chapel Hill is an auto manufacturing area. It has other resources, but the auto industry employed, and downsized, a lot of workers. Now his self-worth is losing steam.

    He was married (stress); not a home-owner like they told us we should be (stress); he doesn’t look in stellar health, which throws off brain chemistry (stress); and he played with guns, plural. There’s a southernness to guns and individualism I won’t try to generalize about too much, but I’ll take a redneck to a fight even before a quick-fisted Yankee.

    Sadly, this incident doesn’t surprise me any more than the thousands like it here every year, neither does the media’s need to make it about hate and Muslims, especially on the heels of Fox News versus Paris.

    This isn’t about religion. It’s systemic pressure slowly squeezing normal people into insanity. Like the woman who lost her shit on the airplane over some macadamia nuts. No one asked what her religion was, did they?

    Think about it, if they hadn’t been wearing head scarves, no one would even give a damn.

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  7. Atheists can be racist assholes just like everyone else. But there is no atheist handbook preaching racism and douchebaggery. If only the media would notice the difference.

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  8. My biggest concern is that news stories are trying to tie this person’s comments on atheism to the shooting incident. If anything, the quotes I’ve seen so far do not espouse any particular form of violence. Rather, they express a disdain for religious belief that is, at worst, brash.

    I think the reason why this is even being brought up is to spur emotional reaction from religious groups. These groups do not need much in the way of provocation anyways, and it will generate viewership/readership if suddenly the world’s first atheism-inspired murder took place.

    You’re right that atheism can’t be used to justify homicide. Unfortunately non-atheists don’t seem to be able to grasp that.

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  9. ladysighs says:

    Feeding Frenzy will begin.

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