Fatwa Envy

‘Fatwa envy’ is a phrase coined by PZ Meyers. (He’s sort of misusing the term ‘fatwa’ here, but anyway…) It describes the pecular phenomenom of Christians who, upon being ‘insulted’ by amoral atheists, will immediately say something along the lines of ‘You’d never dare say that about Islam/Muslims!’ 

This comes across as more than a little bit odd to any actual atheists, as we certaintly don’t have any more regard for Islam than we do for Christianity – in fact, many of us view Islam as far worse than Christianity. The reason we don’t talk about it as much is that most of us online live in Europe, Australia or the USA, where Christianity is generally the dominant religion, not because we’re afraid of upsetting Muslims.

Fatwa envy is quite revealing though, in that it’s a manifestation of the (usually) unspoken assumption that atheists are always strongly liberal, and that those who are strongly liberal adore Islam on the grounds of political correctness. Neither is the case. Atheists come from a diverse range of political backgrounds and, whle they do tend to be more liberal in their outlook on many issues, they also seem much more willing to be ‘liberal’ on some issues while being ‘conservative’ on others; as usual, strict dichotomies are too broad to adequately categorize our political viewpoints.

To put it bluntly, I’m willing to be just as disrespectful towards Islam as I am towards Christianity. Just in case you were wondering.

11 Responses to Fatwa Envy

  1. Steve says:

    To put it bluntly, I’m willing to be just as disrespectful towards Islam as I am towards Christianity. Just in case you were wondering.

    Man, this is just wrong on so many levels. In the past we had intelligent atheists and others who questioned the role of religion. Today, it’s just, “You believe in God? Whoa, you suck!”

    That’s progress?

  2. forknowledge says:

    Man, this is just wrong on so many levels. In the past we had intelligent atheists and others who questioned the role of religion. Today, it’s just, “You believe in God? Whoa, you suck!”

    ‘Disrespectful’ in the sense that people are sometimes offended by what I say, not in the sense that I intentionally try to be rude.

  3. Emil Aragundi says:

    To be fair, it’s hard (if not impossible) to criticize religion without striking others as disrespectful, in my experience even the mere affirmation of my atheism has offended people.

    There’s a saying that the only treatment to the ridiculous is ridicule. I certainly don’t have the patiente to pretend that I think of the theist POV as a reasonable position, it’s like having to deal with grown-ups that still believe in Santa Claus.

  4. forknowledge says:

    My point exactly. When those you disagree with seem to have a unique capacity to be offended, it’s not difficult to accidentally offend people. Eventually, you either censor yourself or just stop caring.

  5. Steve says:

    We all have the ‘unique capacity to be offended.’ What’s so special in that? I’m just tired of hearing a Christopher Hitchens rant described as the height of atheist logic and argumentation. If it is, Christians and muslims have nothing to fear.

  6. Emil Aragundi says:

    The only ones who have “the unique capacity to be offended” are those who cannot defend their positions rationally. If someone thinks atheism is delusional, infantile and irrational he’s welcome to explain himself and I’ll gladly respond to him, I won’t be offended.

  7. forknowledge says:

    We all have the ‘unique capacity to be offended.’ What’s so special in that? I’m just tired of hearing a Christopher Hitchens rant described as the height of atheist logic and argumentation. If it is, Christians and muslims have nothing to fear.

    Hitchens once advocated genocide, at which point I lost all respect I might once have had for him. Atheists aren’t a flock of sheep, despite what you may have heard.

  8. […] tired old argument is has been aptly dubbed fatwa envy by PZ Myers, and is always trotted out by milder religions in a confused attempt to claim that they […]

  9. Learn his name, please says:

    Who is PZ Meyers?

  10. everettattebury says:

    I think you’ve missed the point of fatwa envy. It’s not about accusing you of being a liberal, it’s a veiled threat. The person is really saying, “You’re lucky I’m not as willing to use violence as the Muslims are, even though I’d really like to.” They are jealous of the fear and conformity that Islam imposes on the Muslim world, while Christians are openly mocked and ridiculed by atheists.

  11. […] movement”, one has to wonder who benefits from such a change in culture: qui bono? Has fatwa envy evolved into “burka envy”: an envy of the perceived simplicity of the gender roles in […]

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