Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Atheist Fatigue

In a recent email, someone coined the above term. I loved it because it really does describe a mood I know I fall into once in a while.

I love Digg.com, but at least twice a day there's a feeding frenzy of atheists snarling at some Christian foible or slapping each other on the back about some new recycled diatribe against religion on richarddawkins.net. Half the time I surf past them, but sometimes out of morbid curiosity I'll click into the links and find the same shite time after time.

Yeah, I should know better, and I do, but sometimes we simply are who we are.

The aforementioned email also contained a beautiful summary of the core of what these fundie (I have to throw that modifier in because I know a lot of reasonable atheists who think this stuff is specious, too, and I wanna specifically call out the extremists) atheists (some are calling them neo-atheists) usually say:

"We acknowledge we don't know *everything*, but we certainly do know *this*! Funny/scary how so many people around us just don't get it."

Or, to use an f-atheist's (my shortening of fundie atheist) own words on the beef with believers:

"Well, it goes something like this: If you claim that something is true, I will examine the evidence which supports your claim; if you have no evidence, I will not accept that what you say is true and I will think you a foolish and gullible person for believing it so."

We also get words defined for us, that are supposedly about us:

"delusion - an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary. (so says thefreedictionary.com)"

Note both of these talks about evidence. Thing is, there is plenty of "soft" evidence that can be used to support the existence of God, or the non-existence. The fact is there is no hard evidence in one direction or another. Both the stances of "there is a God" and "there is no God" are essentially opinions based on experiences, knowledge, and what we personally accept as evidence.

So, when atheists (or Christians or Moslems or Jews, etc.) get all huffy with the other side regarding "evidence" and "facts," it would be good for all to recall that WE REALLY DON'T KNOW the answer to the God question.

Thus, shite like this is unnecessary:

"When the Pope says that a few words and some hand-waving causes a cracker to transform into the flesh of a 2,000-year-old man, Dawkins and his fellow travellers say, well, prove it. It should be simple. Swab the Host and do a DNA analysis. If you don't, we will give your claim no more respect than we give to those who say they see the future in crystal balls or bend spoons with their minds or become werewolves at each full moon.

"And for this, it is Dawkins, not the Pope, who is labelled the unreasonable fanatic on par with faith-saturated madmen who sacrifice children to an invisible spirit."

Jeez. Now we're killing babies?

You can see how this would get old.

Other quibbles are with the following tired tropes:

1) But WE'RE not trying to force our views on anyone like religious people do.

Again, an atheist's own words:
"Atheists are not a religious group because atheism is not a religion. That's pretty straightforward. I'm not sure why so many people can't grasp that concept."

Because if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

Even the odious Christopher Hitchens has chimed in with a "religions must be abolished!" polemic. Like I'm gonna take advice from an alcoholic Trotsky who wrote an entire book trashing Mother Teresa. I mean, is there anything else he can be dead-wrong about? He strikes me as a completist.

But again, you write apologetics and do missionary work on Digg.com, you are in a religion.

2) People aren't thinking, but just following blindly:

"Unfortunately the majority sheeple aren't smart enough to think for themselves. Anybody that uses faith as an answer to questions human knowledge can't cover likes the easy out. Why not call Atheism a religion, try to bring us down to their easily understandable level."

Given how f-atheists usually talk about what religions supposedly believe, they tip their hand that they really don't know much at all, and have likely gotten their info from someone else who has it wrong, like Dawkins. If you're going to try to debate someone's belief, you'd better understand it first.

3) And finally, my favorite: f-atheists always try to equate atheism with intelligence or intellectual maturity. The song and dance often goes: these other atheists (see list) are intelligent, so am I, ergo only intelligent people are atheists. Which of course discounts all the intelligent people who believe in God.

Guess what! We've now come full circle because we are finally, truly dealing with a delusion most f-atheists suffer from (as defined above) - "an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary."

For the record, I'm with the atheists (and the majority of Christians) on teaching evolution in the public schools. It's a Joe Bob Briggs thing: I'm surprised I even have to explain it. But given the recent responses at the Republican debate on "who believes in evolution," perhaps the obvious needs to be stated more often. Oh, and the gaffe that is known as "creationism" should be taught only to give a great example of how unscientific it is.


Sleemoth said...

As your readers have silently asserted, not with a ten foot pole, man. Irony aside, I'm suffering from atheist fatigue fatigue.

Whisky Prajer said...

Have you been following this exchange? I didn't hold out much hope for it at the beginning, but I have to admit Wilson is putting enough pepper in the omelet to keep it interesting.

Yahmdallah said...

Whisky - thanks, that was a great read. Gad Hitchens is a tool. Is there anyone who thinks this guy's thoughts and opinions are of any value?

sleemoth - sorry it upset you. Perhaps you should skip my rants on atheism and religion from now on.

Sleemoth said...

Yahm said:
Perhaps you should skip my rants on atheism and religion from now on.
Umm...yeah...I think I said that already.