Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Shot in the Dark

A Reuters article says that "Baptists see atheists books as sign of panic."

"If you shoot down an alley and you hear a yelp, you know you've hit something," said Mark Coppenger, a professor at the Kentucky-based Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"Apparently Bible believers have hit something and so it is a measure of the success of the church that the opponents are so stirred up right now," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.

This is not a wholly inaccurate assessment. Part of the reason for these atheists books is precisely because of a growing fear, spurred on by 9/11 and the Iraq war, that religious belief is going to get us all killed or, at best, bring about another "dark age" of superstition and suffering.

The "shoot down an alley" is particularly appropriate, because this describes the source of the worry - theists shooting into the dark on "faith" that they will hit something worth hitting, only to end up doing harm to innocent people.

As long as religion seemed relatively harmless or benign (or the worst of it was "over there" far from our shores), then there was no reason to take it seriously. When it became deadly - not only in terms of terrorist attacks, but laws blocking medical research that could cure disease and save lives - then it makes sense for those who would be harmed to find the nerve to protest.

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