The events that led to this post are beyond trivial and petty. They are, frankly, nerdy, dorky, and ridiculous, but they show a way of thinking that needs to be corrected. And when I agree with right wing conservative evangelicals about an issue, I no longer consider it trivial.
Prepare to zone out on boring nerdy explanation before the point of this post –
There is a (stupid) game that people on so called smart phones and tablets play called Kingdoms At War. It consists of touching your device to gain gold, build an army, engage with others in non-strategic battles to garner more gold, and, from time to time, fighting against other players to try to take their gold. Repeated attacks on a player are called “farming” which is particularly annoying when a player is trying to save gold to expand his armies.
Recently a player named islam_4_ever began farming me (repeated hits to deplete another player of gold and forces). This is part of the game, so I hit back. Then he hit back – and it went on for a few rounds. Finally, I had had enough and told the guy to quit (cease fire). His terms for a cease fire were, “Post on my wall that you submit only to ALLAH and Accept Mohammed (PBUH) as his Prophet.”
Being the sarcastic atheist I am, I replied to him, “I submit to Allah. Just kidding. There is no god. None. Including yours.”
Cue the absurdity. For this reply I was called a “racist” and booted from a team for making “religious slurs”. The part that is really absurd is that it wasn’t Muslims calling me a racist or accusing me of making religious slurs. It was non-Muslims! Even at least one Christian.
I wish I could say that this is an edited version of events meant to show my version of the story in a positive light by selectively including only certain exchanges. That isn’t so. What you see is the full extent of my interaction with the other player.
Author and lecturer Sam Harris – labeled a racist, bigot, and Islamaphobe for criticizing Islam – said this:
…prejudice against Muslims or Arabs, purely because of the accident of their birth, is despicable. But like all religions, Islam is a system of ideas and practices. And it is not a form of bigotry or racism to observe that the specific tenets of the faith pose a special threat to civil society.
When I insult religion – as I frequently do in this blog – no one, not even the most fundamentalist evangelical Christian, has accused me of being racist or making religious slurs. Why is Islam socially off-limits to ridicule and criticism in an otherwise free-speech West? A Christian who argues against the claims of Islam is not (necessarily) a racist. Questioning, criticizing, even insulting Islam is not the equivalent of maligning a people or culture.
Expressing a disbelief in Allah is not hate speech, nor is expressing a disbelief in the Western “God”.
Disparaging a PERSON based solely on their faith, skin color, country of origin, or who they love is repugnant. But questioning, criticizing, or even mocking a person’s BELIEFS is an important part of intelligent discourse.
Saying, “There is no god. None. Not even yours,” is not a slur.0