This is a very interesting dichotomy proposed by our friend Professor Dawkins and brings to mind the whole, lesser of two evils argument. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


This post is from the discussion section of the Richard Dawkins Foundations for Reason and Science's discussion section. The link to the site is here.

Support Christian missions in Africa? No, but . . .

Given that Islam is such an unmitigated evil, and looking at the map supplied by this Christian site, should we be supporting Christian missions in Africa? My answer is still no, but I thought it was worth raising the question. Given that atheism hasn't any chance in Africa for the foreseeable future, could our enemy's enemy be our friend?


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As far as I can tell, the enemy of my enemy is just as much Islam as it is Christianity. This sounds more like a cultural battle to Mr. Dawkins. He sees the European-minded Christian culture as superior to the entrenched theocratic, anti-modernist Islamic culture. In some ways he's probably right. Christian-dominated America is going to have a secular majority at least decades, if not a century before even semi-secular places like Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Islam in this area seems more clearly evil, whereas mainstream African Christians can mostly just sit around and ignore science while living relatively normal lives. I wouldn't pick a side, though. Supporting either side will lead to more tension, more persecuted-minority mentality, more excuses for religious wars and genocides. Sure, send in a good charity that just wants to get medical supplies and clean water to children, and if it has to have a church attached to it, so be it, but let's not be partisan in a battle over the lesser of two enormous evils. I'm pretty sure that many parts of the population of Africa would want Dawkins dead (and would have the social backing to do it) for what he's said about their particular cult, and religion in general.

this is a very difficult situation to make a comment on.

on the one side, there is a feeling in general that these two abrahamic cultures/religions should be allowed to destroy each other as they are both fanatical and both feel they are the truth and they are vindicated should they wipe the other out and claim the continent for their brand name faith. both sides see the lose of life as either martyrs whose sacrifice will be rewarded or as infidels who deserve painful deaths for not believing the jacob or esau is the correct path to truth. it really is sad that there is little the world community can do to stop both fanatics, but religion does have that power over people.

on the other side, do we pick one side as atheists and put our support there while holding our noses? I am not sure that will do anything for our cause but make the religious community skeptical of our commitment to our systematic approach to life.

so, do we leave them to destroy each other? do we press the world community, which has a poor record of dealing with fanatical devotion to any cause, to step in as it did in Bosnia but still could not stop the ethnic cleansing that took place and would probably result in the useless deaths of millions on both sides of the battle.

it is very sad that the world in general feels it MUST pick sides!


any more thoughts on this?

Here's another way to look at it, at least partially white European man is responsible for the state of Africa right now. So should "we" not be also interested in the survival of it?


"Africa as a continent has been cut adrift. The great powers have no further use for it. It can be left to rot and crash." - Hitchens

I can assure you, the radical muslim movement has a plan for afica, and for those who would oppose it or not become part of it. the world community is caught in the middle of a religious experiment in africa that is demanding a response.


is europe, which basically raped the continent for hundreds of years and then stepped away, going to accept some responsibility for this mess, or will the world just look to the USA to fix this issue risking even more bloodshed as the muslim disdain for the heathen west gains even more momentum. Either way, this situation has no good outcome for the world at large... the UN MUST grow a pair and deal with this, in my opinion... i am not holding my breath...


@ Robert - I have an unpopular opinion. I feel strongly that the entire world will be a place of misery for everybody in the near future. Naturally, I hope I am wrong, but still, due to my negative attitude, I don't see much point in giving a lot of thought to these complex political matters.   


Of course, I realize if everybody thought like me, the very thing I dread (the world falling completely apart) would most likely come about much faster because people would be somewhat apathetic and not try to wrestle with complexities and come up with solutions or at least the courage to try new ideas.


If we are talking "gut reaction" I say we promote the Christians in Africa. As far as I can decipher, at least Chistians don't promote killing people that do not believe. I know that the average Muslim does not promote this either, but the problem is the Muslim leadership lives in fear for their lives and their families' lives for speaking out against radical Islam. That is a huge sign to me that we need to do all we can to get those idiots out of power (radical Islamists). But... I could be wrong - it's just what floats around in the top of my head when the subject is brought up.


On the other hand, If or when the world goes into a spiral of decline and misery for millions, it might not have a thing to do with religion. It could be just some weird natural mutated deadly virus that formed when for some crazy reason a giraffe mated with an elephant. Who knows. The world is a circus.  


"As far as I can decipher, at least Chistians don't promote killing people that do not believe."


Ever hear of the Army of God?

Doug, yes, but lets say you had a choice between the 1% of radical christians versus the 1% of radical muslims, do you think that the muslim radicals would be more likely to use violence to justify their beliefs and punish your lack thereof?  I mean we don't hear about the Army of God much. We do hear about the Westborough Church but as shitty as those people are, they are nothing more than loud and annoying. We hear about the violence of Islam all time. Was it in Pakistan a  member of Parliament was killed for being a christian? Maybe this is choosing non-violenet madness over madness? I'm not sure.

I think the cultural perspective might be a bit off. Radical Christians outside of Africa have calmed down a lot. But in Africa itself you have such nice characters as the Lords Resistance Army and the rape crisis in the highly Christian Congo. It is also where the Catholic church is "expanding it's market" the quickest, and it's not just the too cuddly catholics from here back home, they also do things like witchdoctors and they are causing an HIV epidemic.

By comparison, North African muslims are very close to Europe and that's where a lot of them aspire to live. Instead of just these two waves of insanity crashing together, imagine a secular (and also protestant) wave catching up quickly from southern Africa and anotherone from Europe.

If so, the first evidence of this from the south would be Botswana, where religion and tribalism is losing out its stranglehold quite rapidly. From the north I would claim the current Arab spring to be evidence. It seems shorter from the north, so I guess I would disagree with Dawkins and root for Islam (!)

As far as I can decipher, at least Chistians don't promote killing people that do not believe. I know that the average Muslim does not promote this either, but the problem is the Muslim leadership lives in fear for their lives and their families' lives for speaking out against radical Islam.


Where are those compassionate 'moderate muslims' who should condemn the deaths of cartoonists? Those good honest taxpaying Muslims; doctors, laywers, architects etc . . . who should condemn the deaths of innoncent's over the burning of a book. Who should condemn the death threats of fanatical loons when their religion of peace is soundly criticised. Where are they? I've looked for them. They don't seem to exist.


Islam is literally stuck in the Iron age. It hasn't caught up with modernity to the extent that Christianity has - now that's not to say Christianity is perfect, far from it. I see a war of ideas between Islam and the west. A clash of civilizations.


This is a very touchy one. You can understand Dawkins modus operandi here. Support the lesser of two evils maybe. But what happens when the lesser evil turns around and bites you in the ass? Could you ever live that down?

If it weren't for the fact that in the US military these two wars are presented as Christian vs Islam I could agree with your opening statement. We the Christian Nation" have exacted 100s times more death on Iraq and Afghanistan populations than any terrorists have here in the US.Here is an article you may find interesting:


I agree completely with your last paragraph.

We the Christian Nation" have exacted 100s times more death on Iraq and Afghanistan populations than any terrorists have here in the US.Here is an article you may find interesting:


True. I would be more concerned with the backwards mentality of Islam. The death cult mentality. Death to apostates and all of that.  Also, I would hazard a guess that Islam is more scientifically illiterate than Christianity.


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