I wanted to add this onto the whole “Syria” lie that Pat Condell pushed. As I thought about I realised something rather important.
See, we as Atheists have no imperative to be nice. There is nothing in the rules of atheism that say I shouldn’t kidnap orphans to make them fight to the death to make me feel even a little in my jaded existence.
There is nothing to stop us being terrible human beings.
Religion however has rules. Rules that if one follows prevents them from being judged as terrible. Now most of the rules are “good”, it’s the few bad ones that give us trouble.
But we have no such system of rules. However, as many atheist authors have spoken from Philip Pullman to indeed myself, should we not hold ourselves to be morally better?
Terry Pratchett recognised that the world revolved around suffering and that all life is based on the suffering of others. For the deer to survive the lion must starve, for the lion to survive the deer must die. Such suffering is the way of nature.
But humans tamed nature. We turned the brutal struggle of the hunter gatherer into farming. We eliminated diseases and we have constantly moved to a fairer and more equal society.
Pat Condell’s take on Syrian refugees was a gross insult to me because I used to be a refugee. And I heard someone say the same thing as he did.
We lost our passports during the first Gulf War and were not allowed into Israel as refugees. But we were accepted into Jordan. We stayed in a Red Cross camp along with Palestinian refugees. It was the first taste of a lack of compassion along side a taste of compassion.
I have stated before, we do not live in a Kingdom of Heaven but in the Republic of Man. And it is in our best interest to be compassionate. Most of us do not struggle. We live comfortable lives which we are often rather thankless for. We regularly bemoan the evils of capitalism on our Mac Books and complain about the stresses of society while drinking water straight out of a tap (and not falling sick!). Our children grow up to be healthy and complain that they are bored in a world surrounded with entertainments.
There may be no rule in atheism that says you should show compassion for your fellow man but if you don’t then who else will? You cannot simply say that it’s not my job as you watch others do it.