On Sunday, 26 Dec 2010, the Associated Press published an article entitled "Pope Lunches With Poor, Denounces Church Attacks." He denounced the Christmas day attacks on Christians in the Philippines, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Mr Akawu wondered "Why Christians?"
As a human rights activist, I deplore all of this violence too. But somewhere along the line, we must analyse why this constantly occurs. Please note that groups of scientists who are atheists do not riot against one another and kill one another. Most likely, scientists who are still practicing a religion are also not involved in such violence. That said, why are Muslims and Christians destroying property and killing one another in Nigeria?
In India, some months ago, Hindus rioted against Christians because the former disapproved of the Christians' proselytising Hindus. This is a matter of money. Fewer Hindus, less money to Hindu priests, priests get very angry, sermonise about this during worship services, and as soon as services are over, Hindus go on a killing rampage against Christians. Even though news reports (created by journalists with a religious belief of their own to protect), do not explain the underlying cause of these endless killing sprees between religious groups. What can be said about the violent relations between Hindus and Christians, also explains the violent relations between all ideological groups against one another.
News articles written by religious journalists are far more biased than those written by atheists. Atheist journalists are more apt to report objectively, but religious journalists have their own theological agenda and biased view of the world.
But to answer Mr Akawu's question, Christians also have a history of committing gross violence against Jews. Recalling from memory, it was around 1891, after an Easter sermon, Christians in Pinsk, Belorussia poured out of their church that afternoon and broke into the homes of frightened Jews, maiming and murdering dozens. The reason: the claim by the Christian priest that Jews killed Jesus. (So silly, since "Jesus" is only a mythological character.) This was the basis of many pogroms of Jews before the rise of Adolf Hitler. The Pope is really not in a position to condemn Muslim killing of Christians.
We have the reverse now, with Muslims arrogating unto themselves the Divine right to kill Jews, Christians and all other "infidels." So when we think of atheists and scientists who do not start wars against our religious neighbours or against each other, Christians will jump up and remind saying "Josef Stalin was an atheist, and he killed MILLIONS!" This is true, but there are some fine points here. Stalin grew up in a Russian Orthodox culture and attended for three years Tiflis Theological Seminary in what is now Tbilisi, Georgia, about 87 km from Russia. I see this among atheists all the time. They rid themselves of the god belief, but still retain so much of their earlier life's indoctrination which colours their view of life. Some male atheists are still oppose to abortion, some are still anti-LGBT, some are still male chauvinists, etc.
What is an atheist?
Like Robert Mugabe, Josef Stalin was intelligent and a bully. Had I been an atheist under the Stalin regime, I would have feared him and joined others to fight his murderous oppression.
Is Robert Mugabe an atheist? No, he is still a Catholic and a bully. Nonetheless, it's not that hard for bullies to substitute one ideology for another. In Stalin's case, Marxism became his religion--plus the fact that he was an ego maniacal force unto himself. In 1996 "Mugabe and Marufu were married in a Roman Catholic wedding Mass at Kutama College, a Catholic mission school he previously attended." --Wikipedia
Atheism is not an ideology. Words ending in "-ism" are usually ideologies of some sort. But "atheism" is the opposite because the "a-" is a Greek prefix meaning "without." Atheists are without "theism" or a god belief. Greek "god" is Theos. Atheists are simply people who don't believe in a god. From there, atheists are many other things. Most of us are rational people in that we see no need for violent conflict between people, and we seek peaceful solutions to problems--including practices leading to population stabilisation.
Overpopulation caused by religion
The Philippines is 90% Christian, 90% of which is Roman Catholic. It has a population of 80 million presently. In 1962, when Uganda became independent, the population of the Philippines was 28 million. This very rapid population growth is due to Roman Catholic opposition to abortion and artificial birth control. Catholic women who practice "natural birth control" are called "mothers."
The land area of the Philippines is 300,000 sq km. For comparison, Uganda's land area is 2,698 km, and we have 31 million people. The Philippines has 266.6 people per sq km. Uganda has 11,490 people per sq km. When I saw these figures on my calculator, I thought I made a mistake. But yes, double-checking, my calculations are correct. I knew Uganda was overpopulated--but good grief!! No wonder half the population of Uganda is starving!
And this is my point: hungry people have a choice: a) to peacefully lie down and die, or b) form armed groups and kill perceived enemies. Religion provides the justification for violence--since there are so many stories of violence in the Old Testament and the Qur'an. Religious violence is caused not only by disagreement over theological interpretations, but by dwindling resources--water, food, land being the most basic.
Increased population leads to soil degradation and progressively lower annual yields. India's Green Revolution, starting in 1965, has been overwhelmed by continued population growth and soil degradation. Today, 230 million people in India are undernourished. "Foodgrain harvest during 2008-09 is estimated to be a record 228 million tonnes. However, the requirement for the national population would exceed 250 million tonnes by 2015."
As an atheist with a focus on ending violence and food hunger, I see it necessary to substitute science education for religious belief.
My favourite quote: "For every morsel of bread given to a stranger in need, hundreds have died from diseases whose cures were thwarted by organized religion's traditional opposition to science." --Charles Sutherland
A scientific approach to life would be to look at the world as a whole, to look at 7 billion people and population growth in Third World countries and why these countries remain poor with unchecked population growth. This becomes a vicious cycle. For certain, the Roman Catholic pope is one root cause of the world's misery. But let me say that all other religions are working with the pope to continue this suffering of the world's peoples--while these pious scoundrels call for suffering people to keep faith with their oppressors so that they can continue their oppression. This is also called: Mass Insanity.
To conclude: Your religious belief and your financial contributions to any religious organisation is harmful to everyone--religious and non-religious alike. Religious belief is selfish, irrational and cruel.