This was in the news yesterday: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iTA8RtYNXCbK_LQi8hg_p-VQa_tw?docId=24cd281bae1e480e91a019d76284703e
Pyongyang’s ‘Holy War’ will certainly be lumped in with Pol Pot, Stalin, et al, and capitalized upon by apologists as evidence for why atheism is evil.
I came up with a metaphor this morning to help the religious better understand the atheist’s perspective on this. I was thinking about it in the context of Taner Edis’ application of rational choice theory to Christianity, which helps atheists empathize w/ why some people would choose it (i.e. Christianity IS a “rational” choice, but more in the sense of a good consumer product [e.g. to opt for your family's value system, as well as one that has answers to the hard questions, charitable infrastructure, etc]. Edis is an accommodationist from the old days- you can hear him on old Point of Inquiry episodes). Anyway, here is what I was thinking:
Atheism is different from Christianity/monotheism in that it does not, by default, have an inclusive moral system. The term ‘atheism’ only applies to the nonexistence (ontological) aspect of a god philosophically. The ethical system is philosophically separate. Think of it like monotheism being a 2-in-1 shampoo w/ conditioner, while atheism is just the shampoo. That doesn't mean that atheists can’t acquire a separate conditioner (e.g. secular humanism)- in fact, when they are not already combined, atheists are free to choose the best quality shampoo and conditioner and use as much of each accordingly. The point is that some atheists use conditioner while others don’t: