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Austin Cline

Lincoln Diaz-Balart: Atheism is Damaging, Evil

By January 18, 2009

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The U.S. Congressman for Florida's 21st District, Lincoln Rafael Diaz-Balart is a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party and who has served in the Florida House as well as the Florida Senate. Diaz-Balart is also an anti-atheist bigot who has declared that atheism is "damaging" and "evil." These remarks were made after he saw the Divine Performing Arts show which is touring the United States and which, apparently, is a propaganda piece for Falun Gong.
Congressman Diaz-Balart addressed the deeper meanings and references to higher matters—fate, truth, good and evil—in many of the songs: “The fact is, some things are eternal, and no matter what the difficulties in this life the truth will prevail, and mankind cannot be destroyed.

“I was very moved by the song that talked about the damage that atheism has caused and is causing. It was very moving, but all of the performances were moving, uplifting; they teach us about the eternal nature of mankind and of how we have to be humble.

“The songs carry the sense that evil will not prevail, and so the message is that the truth ultimately prevails. It is extraordinarily uplifting and I am so happy to be here.”

Source: Epoch Times (via: Unreasonable Faith)

Yes, mere disbelief in gods is causing all sorts of harm. People are flying airplanes into skyscrapers because of despair over the absence of gods. People are blowing themselves up in crowded markets over their nihilistic vision of a universe without ultimate meaning. Different groups and countries go to war with each other because their lack of belief in gods causes them to have no reason to be moral, so they just decide to find ways to kill as many other human beings as possible.

Yes, it all makes so much sense now that Lincoln Diaz-Balart has explained it to us!

The show's local presenters are the Greater Philadelphia Asian Culture Center and the Greater Philadelphia Falun Dafa Association. Many participants onstage and behind the scenes practice Falun Gong.

Past performances have included a handful of dances depicting Falun Gong practitioners passively resisting police and women being beaten in a prison.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Lincoln Diaz-Balart's comments were a direct reaction to messages in the songs from the Divine Performing Arts show, so it seems as though this show and Falun Gong (which also appears to be behind the Epoch Times site, not just the show) are promoting anti-atheist bigotry across the country.

Kate Dobbs Ariail writes:

Even a passing acquaintance with pre-1948 Chinese cultures would have led one to expect wonderful things from this show. But the “divine” in the group’s name has to do with its promotion of what it calls its (traditional Chinese) spiritual values—as used by DPA, “divine” is not an adjective describing the quality of the work. If DPA had been straightforward about its intent, the jingoistic mediocrity of its program might have been less offensive.

If it had been clear that the purpose of this event was to promote the practice of Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa as it is also called, one would not have been expecting an exquisite aesthetic experience, and one would have chosen to attend or not based on interest in that practice—or an interest in seeing the current Chinese government castigated. Despite DPA’s disingenuous disavowals, there is clearly a political motive behind the organization’s programming...

I would argue that there is also a bigoted, hateful motive behind the programming if they are spreading the message that atheism is damaging and evil. If the Divine Performing Arts show comes to your town, perhaps you should consider attending to verify what sorts of messages they are promoting. If indeed they are spreading anti-atheist bigotry, action needs to be taken. At a minimum, letters to the editor and whomever is sponsoring them should be written, but it might also be helpful to pass out leaflets before other performances in order to educate the audience about the political, religious, and bigoted agenda of what they are about to see.

Comments
January 18, 2009 at 10:30 pm
(1) golfplatz says:

You haven’t even seen the performance, why are you writing so stridently?

January 18, 2009 at 10:50 pm
(2) golfplatz says:

Also, just for consistency, since you regard any stance against atheism as hateful bigotry, does that also mean that you are a hateful bigot yourself, since you have an anti-religious stance?

Isn’t it just possible to believe that a set of views or way of thinking is mistaken and damaging, but not be a hateful bigot? Wouldn’t any reasonable person be able to maintain this stance?

I would suggest holding the belief xyz about any other belief is fine, but it doesn’t make that person a hateful bigot. Hate is very different from an opinion based on one’s own experience and reason, and bigotry is also a solely negative disposition.

I think the real question on the table is something like meta-beliefs. I mean, whatever you believe, there are still some really basic things about interacting respectfully with other people, not harbouring ill-will, treating people with kindness, and so forth. It actually doesn’t matter what “belief” you subscribe to, it is these things that are the fundamental ones. That is all the show is saying, and that’s really the only important thing.

January 19, 2009 at 6:12 am
(3) Austin Cline says:

You haven’t even seen the performance, why are you writing so stridently?

My strongest comments are about Diaz-Balart, whose comments are unambiguous. All my comments about the performance are conditional, not strident.

Also, just for consistency, since you regard any stance against atheism as hateful bigotry, does that also mean that you are a hateful bigot yourself, since you have an anti-religious stance?

Where did I say that “any stance against atheism” is “hateful bigotry”?

Isn’t it just possible to believe that a set of views or way of thinking is mistaken and damaging, but not be a hateful bigot?

Yes, it is.

Atheism isn’t either, though.

I think the real question on the table is something like meta-beliefs. I mean, whatever you believe, there are still some really basic things about interacting respectfully with other people, not harbouring ill-will, treating people with kindness, and so forth.

Regarding atheism as “evil” doesn’t qualify.

January 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm
(4) nina says:

I think that the concept “athiest” has 2 contexts here

a group of performing Falun Gong members are going to see atheist in a very different way than a western xtian

the Falun Gong are putting atheism in the context of Chinese Communism – under which Falun Gong is illegal.

Falun Gong under their atheism, is the powerless victim.

the western xtian understanding of athiesm is a different cultural context – religion in the west is far more powerful and common than atheism

if the balance of society in the west swung to atheism, nothing would actually change in our democratic and secular society – the tradition of individual rights and freedoms is strong.

Atheists in the west do not object to people being religious, only in the trying to insert religion into laws and government policy

January 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm
(5) tamar says:

I think the only way that personal opinions about whether there is a God could affect (and convert) the entire world is if:

1) the people listening to that personal opinion are too weak to form their own opinions and therefore, if the majority believes something they will.

2) the strength of fact that a god exists is somewhat weak and will not stand up to the scrutiny of it’s opponents.

either way, it is not the fault of atheism. “truth” can withstand attack, that is a very accurate statement. so, if there is a god, why is there any concern about atheism? it cannot stand, if the truth is so clear that there is a god. there is no reason to worry or concern yourself about it.

January 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm
(6) John Hanks says:

Religion boils down to Fascism and Nazism. It is always about lies and extortion.

February 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm
(7) Timotheus says:

The congressman is apparently an omni-ignoramus since Falun Gong is into all sorts of weird stuff, including psychic powers and “qi” energy stuff, things that any well-informed Christian of the fundamentalist/biblical variety would ready recognize as demonic.

April 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm
(8) Jose says:

This man has been preaching “us against them” separatist type of stuff all his life.

Sadly as useless as a politician might be this type of talk keeps you in power in Miami.

Anyone who thinks close minded “red necks” are only Whites found in N.Florida dont know Miami Cuban Reps.

Open minded and live and let live Cuban Americans like myself find the Miami Rep Cubans are grotesque step backwards for America

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