Tuesday, December 1, 2015

David Silverman

David Silverman is the president of American Atheists and one of the best-known atheists in America. Known as “America's loudest heathen,” a term he embraces proudly, Silverman is passionate about atheism and atheist equality.

His new book is Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Silverman's reply:
I’m currently just finishing Islam and the Future of Tolerance by Maajid Zawaz and Sam Harris. I had hoped to gain some insight on the Paris murders and how to stop Islamic terrorism from a Muslim point of view.

I was not disappointed, but neither was I thrilled. I was hoping for answers that hit hard, but what I got was the need to push pluralism, the fact that people can see different interpretations in the same book. That’s a start, but it doesn’t go all the way.

The ISIS terrorists are not bloodthirsty evil people out to kill babies. They think they are doing good. They think they are bringing peace and love. They are killing people, but they don’t believe in death – they believe their victims go to Heaven when God allows the worthy ones into heaven. The terrorists are, in a very real way, doing their victims a favor by getting them to heaven early. Where’s the harm in that?

The problem is not the lack of pluralism per se. It’s the concept of objective morality. The concept that they are right, because their preachers say so, and there is no doubt or flex in that. They are definitely doing good. This is how planes get flown into buildings, abortionists get shot, and kids in Norway get slaughtered. Doubt will create hesitation. Yes, the pluralism of which Harris and Nawaz speak is one means to that end, but perhaps a larger goal would be to stop teaching that objective morality is real. That every religion, and every belief, is just a matter of opinion. It’s all up to interpretation.
Learn more about Fighting God at the publisher's website, and follow David Silverman on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue