Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An "Atheist" Video Game

I need to interrupt the Pledge Project for a moment.

This morning I encountered news of a "video game" where:

The object of the game is to stop the spread of Christianity and Islam by murdering Abraham and the authors of the Bible, before beheading Muhammad.

According to the article:

The new game, not yet released, is giving a voice to the atheist community, that’s according to the game’s creator, a University of Virginia graduate student. He wouldn’t release his name, for fear of his safety.

It's not giving voice to this corner of the atheist community.

This corner of the atheist community says that the only legitimate way to prevent the spread of some idea is through words and private action. Never with violence. This is the whole idea behind freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

The very idea of trying to prevent the spread of an idea through violence is repugnant. It is a type of thinking that has destroyed more lives and well-being than any other force in history. There is a tendency among atheists to attribute this kind of thinking only to theists. Yet, we see here, it is not the case.

I have written repeatedly that atheism is not a virtue - any more than the belief that the earth is round is a virtue. You do not make somebody into a moral person by getting him to believe that no God exists. You simply make him more proficient at pursuing whatever good or evil he desires.

The inventor of this video game simply provides me with a living example of those claims. Atheism has apparently not taught the inventor of this game that countering ideas with violence is wrong - that ideas should only be countered with better ideas promoted through words and private action.

Ultimately, I want the inventor of this game to very quickly realize how wrong his actions were and to issue an apology. Issue a sincere apology - unlike those that we typically get from people who denounce atheism. It would not be an apology that says, "I'm sorry that others were offended by my action," but an apology that says, "I'm sorry that I advocated the use of violence as a way of spreading, or preventing the spread, of ideas. Those methods are entirely inappropriate." And says so in a way that shows that he understands these moral principles and will live by them in the future.


Anonymous said...

"Atheism has apparently not taught the inventor of this game that countering ideas with violence is wrong"

Are you confusing atheism with humanism (or some other 'atheistic' philosophy)? Atheism doesn't teach anyone anything. Atheists simply deny supernatural beings.

Atheists can counter religious ideas with violence if they want. It's unwise and illegal but 'atheism' doesn't support or condone any actions. This person may think they are depicting violence 'in the name of atheism' but they are wrong.

If any apology is needed it is that the author needs to apologize for linking the game to atheism. It would make slightly more sense for him to say that this game gives a voice to Hinduism or Scientology because at least they have dogma that refutes Islam and Christianity, but even that is ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

Are you confusing atheism with humanism (or some other 'atheistic' philosophy)? Atheism doesn't teach anyone anything. Atheists simply deny supernatural beings.

Actually I think that was Alonzo's point. There are some people who claim otherwise, and this was being used as a coutner-example. If I read correctly.

Anonymous said...

um ... dude, you missed the fucking point - i'm sorry to be the one to let you know that there are many atheists out there that would happily destroy a few religious fanatics to save the lives of the millions of innocent victims of these so-called 'religions' since the middle ages
if you could stop a young hitler before his rise to power - would you??

Alonzo Fyfe said...


And there are more than a few religious fanatics who are willing to kill a few atheists in order to better spread God's word. You could probably make a good video game where the object was to go around and kill all the infidels in order to help bring about some religious utopia.

Oops, sorry, already been done.

And . . . what was Hitler's crime again? Yes, Hitler had his own plan for bringing about utopia by killing a bunch of people.

We are always going to have disagreements. Even if society were 100% atheists we will likely see it break into camps where one group of atheists (e.g., libertarians) and another group of atheists (e.g., Marxists) think that the other needs to be wiped out in order to make a perfect world.

The way out of this is to simply declare that, regardless of our disagreements, the only legitimate response to words are words and private actions. Spread that message, and there will be no future Hitlers, or Bin Ladens or Pol Pots or the rest of them.

In fact, I would not go back in time and kill Hitler because Hitler was not the problem. The problem was a doctrine that said that it's okay to have plans that involve killing people to promote one's own idea of utopia. That's what needs to be killed. Otherwise, there will be another Hitler down the road a ways.

TheEO said...

I agree with the original post. There is no point in becoming as bad as the opposition in an attempt to reform them. Atheists need first to define and adopt the popular moral high ground and then distance ourselves publicly from disreputable projects such as this one.