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February 22, 2009

Evangelical Atheism, and Why It's Annoying

Last night I was trying to argue why I felt evangelical atheism was quite a bit more annoying than any sort of evangelical religion. The first part of this Dinesh D'Souza quote-- about unicorns -- explains my annoyance better than I could manage.

Atheists spend a lot of time thinking about the motives for belief. Why do religious people believe these ridiculous things? When you turn the tables on atheists and ask them why they don't believe, they will answer, "Because we don't have enough evidence. We don't believe because there's no proof." But if you think about it, this is an inadequate explanation, because if you truly believe that there is no proof for God, then you're not going to bother with the matter. You're just going to live your life as if God isn't there.

I don't believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You'll notice that I haven't written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don't spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I'm getting at is that you have these people out there who don't believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.

If you really look at the motivations of contemporary atheists, you'll find that they don't even really reject Christian theology. It's not as if the atheist objects to the resurrection or the parting of the sea; rather, it is Christian morality to which atheists object, particularly Christian moral prohibitions in the area of sex. The atheist looks at all of Christianity's "thou shalt nots"—homosexuality is bad; divorce is bad; adultery is bad; premarital sex is bad—and then looks at his own life and says, "If these things are really bad, then I'm a bad guy. But I'm not a bad guy; I'm a great guy. I must thus reinterpret or (preferably) abolish all of these accusatory teachings that are putting me in a bad light."

He goes on to suggest that Satan is the atheist hero, among other provocations.

I'm not sure I buy that explanation he offers about sexual libertinism being at the heart of atheism; seems to me people have managed to be both sexual libertines and believers in God for most of human history. You just need a good dollop of hypocrisy to get the thing to work, and hypocrisy is always readily available and cheap.

I would say more that Evangelical Atheists' zeal for fresh converts is due to their reductivist and juvenile thinking, wishing to reduce most of human evil to one underlying cause, religion. Take away religion and we live in a utopia.

I rather doubt that. I think the fault lies with us and not in the stars, or the god beyond the stars. People do all sorts of bad things and they hardly need religion as their motivation for doing so.

Via Hot Air's provocative smattering of quotes about atheism and religion.



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posted by Ace at 03:31 PM

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