I had a situation in school, a Christian group got together everyday to sing and prey, so I decided to take my atheist group to the same floor and practice some of our beliefs, They approached us wanting to fight, shoot, and kill us, the principal took there side, saying we went down to start trouble, we did not do anything but stay in our seats, we even showed respect to those who came to our face and insulted us. This is a public school we are talking about here, I just don't get it, they are showing how hypocritical they can be. What do you think about this situation? What can I do about it? Is it wrong what they did?
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <email@example.com>
To: "Michael Adams"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Q_and_A:_Atheism_and_Outlook
Date: Sunday, September 17, 2000 4:32 PM
The principal must keep the peace, even if that means compromising someone's dignity. A common taunt is to stand before an unstable individual and do nothing, knowing that the unstable individual will start a fight. In his song Kicks, Lou Reed describes individuals who do this to justify murdering the unstable individual under the pretense of self-defense. In the song, they do this for kicks, to get the adrenaline flowing: "Hey, man, what's your style? / How do you get your adrenaline flowing? / Hey, man, what's your style? / How do you get your kicks for living?" Later it goes "You get somebody to / Come on to you / And then you (ungh!) / You kill him, now."
The principal knows that some people do this. He cannot read your mind, but he did have reason to suspect that you at least knew that the Christians were capable of starting violence (which they did, in fact, do). Was he unfair? Absolutely! Was there a better or easier way to handle this? Probably. Did he keep the peace? For the moment, but not in the long run.
Meanwhile, they are showing you precisely what the fundamentalist and exclusivist forms of religion are about. Learn from them. Especially learn what fundamentalism is, as opposed to human inquiry, and what exclusivism is, as opposed to universalism.
To me, this is not as much a theism-atheism issue as it is one of exclusivism born of fundamentalism. The exclusivist religions (and a few atheist groups are this way) teach themselves that only they are special and everybody else is inferior or mistaken or somehow "not one of us." It's one thing to think, in the privacy of one's own imagination, that one is special before a deity, but the tendency is to carry this attitude into one's day-to-day affairs. Here is where their religious belief stops being private and starts becoming everybody's business.
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