Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Article for the Day: Big Poopy Atheists

Is Atheism Only a Bundle of Sentiments?

At the end of his review he thanked Dinesh for exposing atheism “more as a bundle of sentiments than a coherent doctrine.” My recent failed efforts to encourage campus debate with atheists have led me to believe that Snow might be on to something.
You say that like it's a bad thing. I'm being serious here...why do you HAVE to have an actual doctrine? I'm of the opinion that it's better to assume you DON'T know everything, and there's more to learn. A parallel: There are lots of good parents that agree on certain core things - love your kids, don't beat them (in short, Be Excellent Unto Them), but we couldn't be said to have a doctrine. And yet, we parent. And we're good.

But back to the article:
Because of my concern that Sociology of Religion could become a course in Sociology of Atheism I decided to set up a more balanced forum addressing the issue of faith and atheism. Specifically, I wanted to deal with the following question: “Which worldview requires more faith; a) Christianity or b) Atheism?”
Are you kidding me? OK, in the context of the full article, the guy IS trying to open a dialogue on religion/atheism with a colleague, so kudos to him. I'm all for talking. But again, it appears to me that we're making assumptions here that we shouldn't. Faith = good. Atheists have less faith than religious folk, therefore atheists are bad, religious folk are good. You, sir, are rigging the damn game.

And by the way, the point he's trying to address is that the professor in question (backed by the university) is unfairly promoting and teaching atheism at the expense of religion. To which I might answer, well sir, we're fighting millennia of favoritism and fanaticism toward the god/God side. It's about time to start the pendulum swinging the other way.

Or to put it another way, you don't get to pound god and damnation into people for thousands of years, and then cry foul when we want to change the subject.

I know that atheists are often very angry at the God they claim does not exist.
I suppose that's true for some people, absolutely. But then, to be a "real" atheist, you've gotta be pretty sure that such a being doesn't exist. I'm not mad at God in the least. I'm not mad at Satan. Nor the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Ceiling Cat, Ra, Santa and the Easter Bunny. It's kind of a non-issue.

What's got me pissed is the PEOPLE. The guy that wrote this article is a former atheist; I'm a former Christian. I WAS one of those assholes who used to tell you you'd better let Christ into your heart, your life was bad because you were rejecting your Heavenly Father (oh I had the rap down PAT, man), and the world was going to hell in a handbasket. (Why a handbasket, cousin? Because it would hurt more, you twit.)

Those are the people who piss me off now, now that I recognize how completely insufferable that kind of talk is. I don't like the arrogance, the ignorance, the narcissism. If the worst you can say about atheists in general - and I know it's not, fundies - is that they lack faith and are angry at God, well...I think we win.

I also understand why atheist professors would be unwilling to debate their reasons for rejecting religions like Christianity. Back in my days as an atheist, speaking truthfully on a panel would have required a public admission that I rejected Christianity largely because it would not have allowed me to continue getting drunk and high every night while splitting time between four girlfriends.
Well, aren't we shallow. We're implying, then, that atheists are only atheists for immorally selfish reasons. God forbid (ha!) we imply the inverse, that Christians are only Christians for selfish reasons. Hey, you get to socialize weekly, you get a group who's willing to help you in all kinds of difficulty, you get free babysitting, and you get to tap into the idea that the shit that happens isn't your fault, and indeed, couldn't be prevented no matter what effort...it's foreordained. And you get to put a two thousand year old stamp of approval on any random thought you have or action you take, by finding scripture that at least APPEARS, out of context and several translations later, to support you.

But back to the point; again, I'm sure some atheists are just Christians straining to burst free from their immoral ways. And some of us just think all that crap is bullshit, is hypocrisy, is control of the masses, is politics, is superstition. Even the good people today - and I do believe there are many who are actually good - who believe in God the Father et al are just making good on a system with a horrible history and purpose. I respect their beliefs, not because I agree, but because they live their lives happily and use what makes sense to THEM as tools for furthering their own way.

It's like Santa Clause. It's not true that there's a guy at the top of the world watching all the kids and making toys. But it's a neat IDEA, and it puts a face on the celebrating, the gift giving, and the morality we want our kids to be a part of. In my mind, a good Christian uses God as a mascot for what they already believe is right, not as a weapon to force others to live as they want them to.


atheist girl said...

i think you are totally right. we dont need an excuse to lead good lives like i feel many christians do. i lead my live by the be excellent to each other philosophy for the sake of being nice. not so i can go to heaven. i think i confuses people that we have morals without god. but to me it just shows that we dont need god to have morals...thus we were confused as a people and made up gods.

Faithinate said...

Thanks. It's a view that's overlooked even by non-Christians far too often.