Atheists want to destroy religion

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Religious apologists sometimes claim that atheists or secularists are trying to destroy religion. [1] This actually is true for some atheists. However, a significant proportion of atheists have realized the impracticality of such a goal and aim rather to encourage religions to reform or to minimise their harmful effects on society.

"What worries me is the rise of a radical secularism arguing that religion must be expunged from public life. The extreme form is exemplified by Richard Dawkins's claim in The God Delusion that teaching children religion amounts to child abuse[2]"

"Religion is not the root of all evil, but it gets in the way of [determining] how we got here and where we find ourselves"

Richard Dawkins

"[...] new militant atheism [...] is not just anti-God but anti those who believe in God [...] Secularism feels it holds the default position in society, and new atheists are about destroying religious faith. It has been stated that 'scientists should do everything that can be done to weaken the hold of religion'."

John Lennox[3]

"If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion.[4] [...] Consider the case of alchemy: it fascinated human beings for over a thousand years [...] Faith-based religion must suffer the same slide into obsolescence.[...]Given the link between belief and action, it is clear that we can no longer tolerate a diversity of religious beliefs than a diversity of beliefs about epidemiology or basic hygiene.[...]Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.[5]"

Sam Harris
"So, if you can’t enact a successful prohibition on religious ideas, and it won’t work to kill all believers, how do we fix the issues that stem from or are justified by religion? We work to reform religion – to fight against the aspects of it that are harmful and allow people to practice those that aren’t – and promote secular religious education to help people better understand religions and how they arise.[6]"

"What, then of all the glories of our religious tradition? They should certainly be preserved, as should the languages, arts, the costumes, the rituals, the monuments. Zoos are now more or less seen as second-class havens for endangered species, but at least the are havens, and what they preserve is irreplaceable.[...] My own spirit recoils from a God Who is He or She in the same way my heard sinks when I see a lion pacing neurotically back and forth in a small zoo cage. I know, I know, the lion is beautiful but dangerous; if you let the lion roam free, it would kill me; safety demands that it be put in a cage. Safety demands that religions be put in cages too-when absolutely necessary."

Daniel Dennett

Atheists that support the existence of religion

"The church always wanted the destruction of its enemies; we, we immoralists and Antichristians, find our advantage in this, that the church exists.[7] [...] Here are priests: but although they are mine enemies, pass them quietly and with sleeping swords! [...] Bad enemies are they: nothing is more revengeful than their meekness.[8]"

Friedrich Nietzsche


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. The End of Faith
  6. [5]
  7. [6]
  8. [7]
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