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“Fanatical atheism is no worse and no better than fanatical religion, though it may be more bitterly ironic,” writes Brad Hirschfield in the Washington Post. “There is something pretty odd, dare I say hypocritical, about a bunch of people who call themselves ‘freethinkers’ and ‘humanists’ not only verbally abusing people of faith, but actually tearing up verses from the Bible as an act of protest, as they did on a pier in Huntington Beach, California Saturday morning.

“It doesn’t sound terribly humane to me, and I am quite sure that destroying texts, however much one may object to them, is the opposite of free thought,” notes Hirschfield:

15 members of a group called “Backyard Skeptics,” proved nothing so much as their own ability to act out in the name of no God, in precisely the same obnoxious ways which they associate, too often accurately, with how they are treated by people of faith. Are we really still at the level of needing to recall that two wrongs don’t make a right?

If atheists/agnostics/freethinkers/humanists object to being insulted and talked down to by people of faith, as well they should, perhaps they should refrain from the same behavior. While they may not draw on traditions such as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Love your enemy,” there are plenty of parallel teachings in secular thought which are just as ennobling.

If one really can be “good without God” as the California protestors’ signs proclaimed, then why not be so, and let the proof be in the experience of their living?

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