Atheists are Cowards?

The author(s) of Blazing Cat Fur seems to have his or her panties in a wad over atheists. I realize it’s not hard to imagine that right-wing, conservative, religionist blogger might find himself in that predicament, but in this case he seems to be having a good time re-hashing that tired, old argument that atheists are always afraid to criticize muslims. This argument is, of course, completely falacious -even more than usual the way it is presented:

“[Atheists fear Muhammed] And run scurrying like cowards…

University atheist society president forced to resign after cartoon of Muhammad having a drink with Jesus is posted on Facebook…”

Blazing Cat Fur links, of course, to another article at Answering Muslims, which has a somewhat different take on the matter:

The president of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society at the prestigious University College London (UCL), Robbie Yellon, has stepped down over the controversy.

But the Society still refuses to take down the image – claiming its right to defend ‘freedom of expression’.

Secretary for the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, Michael Paynter,said: ‘Robbie stepped aside because he signed up as president to organise events and run a student society.

‘He did not appreciate the stress he would be under when dealing with a controversy like this, so he wanted to make way for someone else.’

When you got to the Facebook group page for The University College, London (UCL) Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, you see that there’s been a bit of intra-group politics going on. Something that isn’t unique to atheists. From what little I’ve read, the out-going president has a differing opinion that many of the more hardline members. And his position is understandable: he’d like to foster debate, interaction, and eliminate some myths about atheists. But I also empathize and agree with the positions of those that take umbrage to limitations on free speech. It should not be okay for one group to silence another simply because they don’t want their beliefs and delusions discussed, debated, or even made fun of.

So, Blazing Cat Fur: where do you get “scurrying like cowards” and how do you arrive at “forced to resign?”

A small sample size (n=1) makes the author of that blog look very stupid. Particularly since that person was neither scurrying nor representative of the atheist population. From just the article BCF linked to, it was pretty clear he didn’t want to deal with controversy -no one “forced” him to do anything. Indeed, the point of the resignation was to not allow himself to be “forced” into something he wasn’t keen on!

BCF also linked to an atheist in Jakarta who was beaten, apparently in an effort to support the argument that atheists are cowards. It wasn’t clear how an assualted atheist in Jakarta, Indonesia relates to a university freethought club in London, England, but the implication is that since atheists aren’t speaking out about this obscure story, we’re “scared” of muslims and, therefore, aren’t “rushing out to defend this guy.”

Here are some criticisms of Islam and Muslims by atheists:

Atheism in Indonesia: Two Articles
About.com Describes Islam
Honesty: The Muslim World’s Scarcest Resource
When Debating Muslims
Are Atheists Afraid of Criticizing Islam?

Oh, and the UCL is apparently so afraid of Islam and Muslims they’re hosting a debate titled, “Do we need God?” on March 1, 2012.

Atheists aren’t afraid of Muslims. Christians are. And they project that fear on us.

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