Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Proper Response

What would happen if Pastor Terry Jones decided to burn copies of The God Delusion, instead of the Qur'an?  Anson Cameron speculates:
A spokesman for the Atheist Brotherhood in Australia was quoted as saying: ''We feel strangely unaffected and will seek revenge by raising our eyebrows and shrugging our shoulders. I've already sent Pastor Terry a message wishing him good luck with his ecclesiastical grandstanding, and I feel sure he can grab a TV slot on a Baptist network with a weekly conflagration of tomes he hasn't read and doesn't agree with.''
In Britain and France, countries that remember the Enlightenment, and in Russia, with her seven decades of secularism still befuddling her, nobody burnt Uncle Sam in effigy and mobs of unbelievers didn't riot and burn churches, nor were believers flogged or beaten. So far the body count is nil. Atheists have turned the other cheek. Christians have called this a nasty plagiarism.
We even get a fake quote from Dawkins that I think he would approve of, if I may be so presumptuous:
Professor Dawkins himself, when asked about the burning of his book, said: ''It seems a little old-fashioned and pointless to burn a book in the age of the internet. Like knee-capping a town-crier. Still, the burning of a book is as much a freedom as is the reading of one. It is, to be sure, insensitive and provocative and perhaps foolhardy. But if freedom of speech were not, at times, all of these, it wouldn't need protection by law.''
 Just in case anyone was taking this too seriously, there is a disclaimer:
*All quotes have been concocted for the purpose of clarity and truth.
Although it's satire, I'd like to think this is exactly what would happen if Jones, or anyone else, decided to actually burn atheist books.  Burning books simply makes the point that one prefers ignorance to enlightenment.  And when someone is content with their own ignorance, the only useful response is to shake your head, make a few jokes and move on.
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