I help run and admin a great group of Christians at UK Apologetics on Facebook, occasionally members post some of the memes their enlightened Atheist friends share with them. Most of them are not very good, so after seeing a few over the last couple of days I thought I would examine some of them over the next few weeks. First on the menu is this cracker…
Admittedly this is some low hanging fruit but it does get shared a lot so at least some Atheists think it is communicating an element of truth.
Some (obvious) problems It’s sexist. What you will notice is that the two alledgedly ignorant persons are both women, but the ‘enlightened’ person is a white man. This might be because the majority of people who share memes like this are white male atheists and so by virtue of their confirmation bias are guilty of believing they are usually right. Lets be honest, it probably didn’t cross their minds to make a meme with a woman as the allegedly ‘enlightened’ one in the meme, make of that what you will.
It’s ignorant. Contrary to the Qur’an which is actually one book, the Bible is a collection of 66 books comprising of writings spanning over one thousand years. The Bible includes a number of different literary genres, including Poetry, Song, Wisdom Literature, Hellenistic Biography, Prophecy, Letters, and History. So if you’re inclined to being pedantic it isn’t accurate to describe the Bible as one book, especially if you’re trying to attack it. Please correct me if I’m wrong but as far as I’m aware, white Christian women are not a culture known for being a hotbed of violence and terrorism. I’m also not sure what the problem is with the woman holding a Bible and a gun at the same time. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one that doesn’t find anything intrinsically wrong with doing so (although it makes me uncomfortable), it just isn’t my style. Either way, owning a Bible and a gun isn’t a crime and neither is taking a picture of it. Although I don’t speak or read Arabic I’m assuming the woman holding the Qur’an and the machine gun isn’t just planning on using it at the shooting range but to dabble in some actual jihad because she has no respect for non-Muslim human life.
The facts. The woman holding the gun and Bible in front of an American flag is called Holly Fischer, she posted that picture on Twitter to annoy sensitive American liberals. Look, Americans are a bit weird about guns, I don’t get it either. Nevertheless, Holly Fischer is not a terrorist, she is a mother and wife to an ex-military husband and has no plans to commit a terrorist act. She’s too busy reading her Bible and doing target practice at the gun range where she exercises her constitutional right to own a firearm.
The woman holding a Qur’an is called Reem Riyashi, she is one of the many ‘successful’ female Muslim suicide bombers who have been responsible for murdering thousands of people. In 2004 she blew herself up killing four Israelis at the Erez crossing injuring several others. Reem had dreamed of turning her body into deadly shrapnel as a young girl…lovely woman. You can watch her charming farewell video here.
So, one woman is by all accounts a good wife and mother and the other blew herself up and left her children behind, but of course they are both holding guns so there must be some equivalence some where. I don’t know where, but an atheist posted it and we all know that because they all read more than one book that they can’t do nasty things. In the mind of some new Atheists facts don’t matter when your attacking religion, its like a form of mind blindness.
What book, not how many books. The meme seems to suggest that because the white Atheist man reads more than one book he can’t or won’t do bad things, nonsense. As far as I’m aware there is no causal link between reading one book and being violent. Also the assumption that Reem Riyashi only read one book is also probably false since she probably read the Hadiths and other Islamic literature. What matters is not necessarily how many books you read but what sorts of books you read. For instance if all you read was Mein Kampf and a manual for making homemade explosives you might end up inclined to blowing up Jews and non-whites. The fact that it is two books does not mean that reading two books will make you a terrorist, it depends what those two books are.
In Virtue Ethics reading is seen as a moral act because it shapes your character, seems legit. Reading that Jesus wants you to love your neighbor as yourself, pray for your enemies, care for the poor, widows and orphans makes it more challenging to justify committing evil in the name of Jesus. You have to kind of ignore everything Jesus said to use following him as an excuse for committing violence, this raises the questions of who exactly are you following?
Miscellaneous. The guy in the meme is holding Cosmos by Carl Sagan (A great book) but also has a number of popular new atheist books in his ‘library’, including ‘The End of Faith’, ‘Breaking the Spell’, and ‘God is not Great’ which is hardly a sign of intellectual rigour. Neither is it a particularly impressive library to be boasting about, most appear to be other (new) atheist books which is hardly indicative of someone who is willing to read books that challenge their ideology. Perhaps he’s more like the woman in the left corner than I thought. He’s also holding a telescope, because we all know that only Atheists love Science. I mean I’m sure the most popular new Atheist scientists have all contributed more to the world than just one Christian Scientist right? Wrong.
Conclusion. Like most Atheist memes this one is pretty stupid and it is unfortunate that people have to spend time responding to such banal accusations. Please feel free to send me your favorite Atheist meme and I’ll try to examine it here at the Failed Atheist. Just for giggles, here is a meme UK Apologetics member Sam Wigginton made to show how easy it is to use selective pictures regardless of context to make a point.