The Chapel Hill Murders

Recently, three young people, who were also Muslims, were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Their assailants describes himself as an atheist who hates religion.  We don’t yet know if this was the motive for his unspeakable actions, but let’s get one thing clear: anyone who kills in the name of atheism must be roundly and unequivocally condemned.  We expect religionists to condemn their extremists, so if this murderer committed his crime in the name of atheism, let us rebuke him in the strongest possible terms.  And if he is guilty, let’s hope he goes to prison for the rest of his life.

2 thoughts on “The Chapel Hill Murders

  1. I took this from Ed Brayton’s “Dispatches From the Culture Wars” blog; it is a statement from the Center for Inquiry, which I thought was apt:

    “We hope that what ultimately emerges from this tragedy is a deeper understanding between people of all faiths and no faith that each one of us has the capacity to do good, to help in our own small ways to make the world a better place,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “Despite our differences in beliefs, we are all part of the global human community, and we are all responsible for each other.”

    Added Lindsay, “The alleged killer is reported to have promoted ‘atheism’ in some of his writings as a ‘solution’ to world crises, but there is absolutely nothing about the lack of belief in a god that supports the murder of innocent people, or doing any kind of harm to anyone. As secular humanists, we at CFI will continue to work toward fostering a free and enlightened world for everyone, no matter who they are or what they believe.”

  2. In his comments on this tragedy/crime Jerry Coyne provides a link to an article that explores in detail the Facebook posts of the alleged perpetrator. They reveal a rather ordinary range of opinions for someone who identifies as an atheist. He expresses religious tolerance, support for gay rights, support for separation of church and state, etc. At his point there seems to be almost nothing that would explain the actions at all and certainly not his asserted atheism. It will likely be a while before there is any understanding of what motivated the crime.

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