Some of those who hold religious beliefs can at times act like complete twits and say some truly obnoxious or outrageous things, but I should add that many who do truly believe do not, and are decent honourable human beings.
So what happens to people when then give up religious beliefs, do they demonstrate anything different?
The short summary is no.
The longer version is that regardless of belief or non-belief people can and do still continue to be blind to their own behaviour and so this is something I’ll illustrate with an actual example.
Michael Nugent, a writer and also chair of Atheist Ireland, is truly one of the nicest most decent people you could ever possibly meet, and will always go out of his way to stand up for the oppressed.
He has been accused by a specific faction of Atheists over on the Freethought Blogs that his own blog is a Haven for Rapists, and in response has carefully and diligently gone through the claims being made in great detail, sliced and diced it to shreds, then asked for an apology.
Now let’s be clear about this, I like PZ, I often agree with what he says, but on this matter, Michael has the facts on his side; PZ is clearly wrong.
Others have leaped in and contributed to the discussion and it is now getting a tad “them” vs us. In Mr Nugget’s latest posting he outlines the latest twitter conversation he has had, and I must confess the attitude of those attacking him is quite frankly weird.
So what can we learn from this?
One clear lesson for us all is that you do not have to be religious to be irrational, clearly atheists can also be irrational as well, and rather sadly Mr Nugent appears to have become the target for rather a lot of completely irrational assertions that simply do not have a single jot of evidence to back them up.
A Haven For Rapists
One thing did bemuse me, Stephanie Zvan put up a posting in which she attempted to defend the claim that Mr Nugent’s blog is a haven for rapists, specifically for the people commenting on his blog. Mr Nugent then patiently slices and dices the absurd claim in a posting here, and in response to that, she comments on his blog (2nd comment).
So, if we are indeed supposed to believe that the commenters on his blog are rapists, and she herself commented on his blog, how should we then view her? (assuming of course we accepted the absurd claim).
People who do not believe in a god, due to the lack of evidence, yet happily dispense generic accusations of rape on the basis of exactly zero evidence are being wholly inconsistent and also utterly irrational. Mr Nugent has asked for either evidence or an apology for what is an extremely serious accusation, and has received neither, and has instead simply been blocked, which is perhaps not such a bad outcome, if they do indeed wish to wallow in such nonsense amongst themselves and block everybody else out, then that’s fine.
If this specific posting comes to their attention, I might myself end up on their block list, but then given the thought that those on the list of individuals that they happily smear includes most of the prominent atheists such as Peter Boghossian, Richard Dawkins, DJ Grothe, Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne and of course Michael Nugent, then I’d be honoured to be counted amongst them.
Meanwhile the rest of us can get on with actually making the world a better place.