- to set upon in a forceful, violent, hostile, or aggressive way, with or without a weapon; begin fighting with
- to begin hostilities against; start an offensive against: to attack the enemy.
- to blame or abuse violently or bitterly.
- to direct unfavorable criticism against; criticize severely; argue with strongly
- to try to destroy, especially with verbal abuse
Let's consider these alternative definitions in order.
#1 - my criticisms of religious dogma certainly can be seen as forceful, distinctly not violent, not even hostile or threatening, definitely without a weapon (other than words), and my intention is not to stir up a fight, but rather to inform and perhaps to discuss topics in a forceful but not hostile way. A believer recently asked me if I was truly seeking for truth, or was I simply aiming to contradict all religious teachings. The answer is definitely a search for truth, but apparently for some believers, just to question religious teachings is to take a hostile stance. Unfortunately, I can't control how some people react to a discussion where I might disagree with them on points of substance. Does not a rational search for truth involve asking questions and trying to understand the putative answers using logic and empirical evidence?
#3 - in some cases, my critiques of religion attempt to establish a connection between religion and such negative things as sectarian violence, religious terrorism, and religion-inspired violence of all sorts. I don't dispute that this can be seen as "blaming" religion - religion is inherently prone to stimulate extremist violence because of two primary enabling factors:
- religious believers often consider what they believe to be religious "truths" to be absolute truth, which strikes me as potentially dangerous to begin with, and
- they conclude that their deity is sanctioning any means by which that truth can be advanced (e.g., by murdering unbelievers); the allegedly "sacred" documents of all the abrahamic religions (i.e., christianity, islam, and judaism) do in fact call upon believers to perpetrate violence on those who would oppose them or violate their doctrine.
#5 - If I ever thought I could destroy religion, I might wish to do so, since so much violence and obstruction of human goals has been done in the name of religion. The simple fact is I'm not going to eradicate religion with my words, and I have no intention of trying to do so by violent actions. Religion isn't going away just because I wish it would.
You're welcome to try to persuade me I'm wrong, and if you can find convincing evidence, I'm willing to be persuaded. Are you equally willing to be persuaded not to believe?