Monday, August 13, 2007

A Special Kind of Militant

There are some who speak in defense of using the phrase 'militant atheist' by claiming that they mean by the term, 'one who passionately defends his beliefs, even if not by military means.'

Darwins Beagle has an informal initial survey of news articles that suggests that this is a special use of the term 'militant' that appears to apply only to atheists. When Islamists, Christians, and fundamentalists in general are described as 'militant', this means that they are eager to blow people up or otherwise kill them. In other words, it implies a willingness to impose one's beliefs by miltiary force. Muslims, Christians, and fundamentalists merely argue passionately for their beliefs, the term 'militant' seems not to apply.

I would be interested in seeing a more formal study done of this trend, and to see it published. If Beagle's claims are verified on a more formal setting, it would be useful evidence to show the descrimination that is used against atheists.

Revealing this special use of 'militant' when talking about atheists would, in Richard Dawkin's sense, count as a genuine case of 'consciousness raising' - a type that does seriously need to be done.

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