Now, it’s the atheists’ turn to be held accountable by some people for the actions of individuals.
Last night, three North Carolina students were shot to death. That they were also Muslims immediately brought speculation that the deaths were related to religion. It might have been. It might not have been. We don’t know.
But that doesn’t stop us from creating a reality in the absence of information, even though police are theorizing that the killings may have had something to do with a parking space.
“The news sparked outrage and a viral Twitter hashtag, #MuslimLivesMatter, reflecting users belief that the crime was religiously motivated and frustration with what they saw as the media’s failure to report the incident,” the Washington Post said.
The alleged shooter was an atheist, according to initial news reports.
P.Z. Meyers, an atheist, writes on Pharyngula today that the killer doesn’t deserve attention, but it’s unavoidable.
“You can guess what the mailboxes of prominent atheists look like this morning,” he writes.
He says there are two things for atheists to take away from the crime:
* Maybe next time you determine that all Muslims are savages because some of them engage in terrorist violence, you should stop and think about how you like being judged by the example of the atheist who murdered Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. I don’t think you’re going to be able to forget that, because I guarantee you that every anti-atheist from now on will be throwing the terrorist violence of this killer in your face, just as every Muslim has had 9/11 pinned on them.
* Maybe it’s time to abandon this pretense that atheism has no moral consequences, that all it means is “There are no gods” and “We are smarter than everyone else”. Atheism should be a philosophy that says we’re all alone in this life together, there is no divine paragon whispering in the ears of our righteous leaders about what to do, and we have to find our moral compass in our relationships with other human beings, the living organisms we are co-dependent upon, and Earth itself, not holy authority.