Do not shield this man's beliefs from criticism

The following clip has been shown on a number of news sites. For example, Times Online Video: radicals beat girl, 17, in Islamic stronghold of Swat, Pakistan.

I know that there are much more violent and graphic videos that I could use, but this one should be sickening enough. The following disturbing video shows a 17 year old girl being held down by two men and being beaten by a third. The man is unashamedly beating this girl in public. Why?

The man read a magic book called the Koran which says:

Surah An-Nur 24:2

"The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment."

That pesky human emotion "compassion" has to be kept in check after all.

I am frequently asked why I maintain a site like this. Why do I argue against religion and superstition. These questions are fair enough. I have a partial explanation in a rather long writeup called: Why I engage in religious debates.

Occasionally, and much more insidiously, my fellow atheists occasionally try to protect the poor theists of the world from the bullying atheist who keeps insisting that reality be consulted. Some atheists will defend religious belief against criticism because they feel that some people need religion in their life. If you find yourself with this kind of "the theists need to be shielded from critical thinking" notion as though you are protecting someone, watch the video on this page and ask yourself which person you are defending.

If you try to stifle criticism of religion, are you defending the girl being held down and beaten? Or are you defending the man with the whip in his hand?

If you are unsure, play the video again, and as you listen to the screaming girl, explain to yourself exactly why this man's beliefs deserve to be shielded from criticism.

Part of the problem with people using the "warm-fuzzy-feeling truth detector" method of deciding which book is God's word, is you get people who feel justified in dictating other people's lives. Sometimes this manifests itself as a warm feeling that convinces Mormons to give money to revoke the rights of homosexuals to get married.  Sometimes this manifests itself as a warm feeling that convinces a Muslim guy to beat a seventeen year old girl if she is merely found to be in a house with a seventeen year old boy. What business is it of this guy? He whips this girl and feels completely justified because his magic book is very clear on the subject matter.

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