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March 19, 2012

Atheists Continuing To Cover Themselves In Glory

If atheists are so logical and rational and sensible -- which is the key point of atheistic evangelism, of course -- why are they behaving in counterproductive, emotional, cult-like ways?

As Shatner said, "Get a life."

Because a local religious group had blessed a highway, the atheists came in with "unholy water" and scrubbed the highway to remove the blessing.

So, um, you fight what you believe is their pretend magic with your own pretend magic?

I understand the point here is parody or something, but this sure doesn't jibe with the "logical, rational, sensible" claim made by the Church of Atheism. What it seems like is a lot of teenager-ish acting up, a lot of anger over hurts in the formative years, a seething need to get payback against faceless oppressors.

"We come in peace .. now that's normally what aliens say when they visit a new planet, but we're not aliens, we're atheists!" Humanists of Florida director Mark Palmer shouted to the group along Highway 98.

Oh yeah, one more thing: The other big evangelistic point of atheism is that it will "free your mind from hidebound thinking about gods and spirits, and free you from the shackles of organized religion."

Do these particular guys seem free from that? Or do they seem just as interested in God and organized religion as the religious?

What I'm trying to get it is that if they are "liberated," where is the evidence of their liberation? Shouldn't they, minds now free, be pursuing more important things?

One of the reasons I call attention to such hypocrisies and sillinesses among organized atheists is to demonstrate a point.

I myself am atheist/agnostic (or even Deist) depending on the day of the week.

But one of the central planks of the Church of Atheism is that religion is inherently evil and causes you to behave like an asshole.

Well, that's not true. Most religious people are as far away from assholery as is possible.

Sure, there are the always-present Some. Some are assholes. Sure.

But if it's religion that's causing all this illogic and anger and emotionalism and pettiness and spitefulness and general assholery, why is it so present among those who have no religion?

For those liberals and atheists who are sure that atheism causes such social ills as racism, hatred of America's enemies, and conservatism -- well, I'm atheist. Religion had nothing to do with it.

You know how sometimes an alcoholic can get away with truly awful behavior by pointing to the bottle and saying, "Hey, it wasn't me, it was Johnny Walker?"

But if you're actually not a drinker you have nothing to blame your personality on?

I'm like that. I can't point to religion and say "It was the Bible talking." All my hate, racism, misogyny, elitism, disgust with the "99%," warmongering, oil-loving, etc. -- the entire list of faults conservatives are charged with daily -- that's just me, baby.

That's just me.

If you want to talk about illogic -- let's talk about reductivism in political, psychological, or social thought.

It is extremely easy, tempting, and useful to attempt to reduce very complex phenomena into a single, easy-to-comprehend motive force.

It's also almost always wrong and generally a mark of someone who needs to reduce things to a single factor, because their brains squeal and grind when attempting to think about multiple factors interacting with each other, suppressing each other, or amplifying each other.

It's a supreme mark not of illogic per se but of minds which are simply not very high functioning. Oh, it's logical enough when you boil the factual landscape down to "Religion is bad." Given one single factual input, you can logically tease out all sorts of simple logical conclusions that flow from that -- "and thus should be opposed," etc.

But is the factual landscape really that simple and featureless?

I have no idea why I'm conservative, and neither do the liberals. It could just be (as I suspect so, so much of this is) that I saw bad examples of what I consider now to be tropes of liberalism while I was growing up, as a kid, and reacted poorly to them, and hence began to build in my mind a general aversion to such things. Stuff like unduly calling attention to oneself, of causing social friction (again, often to call attention to oneself), spouting off sanctimoniously but hypocritically (again, usually to call attention to oneself, here, particularly to one's strongly implied moral and intellectual superiority).

I always had the idea that if you were superior in some aspect, people would note that on their own. Without your pontificating about it yourself.

I suppose I also reacted poorly to the idea that, in a contest between People Who Build and Make Things And Thus Are Rewarded with Money, and People Who Argue Passionately and Eloquently That They Should Share In The Bounty of What The People Who Make and Build Things Have Received, I tended to view the latter as free-loaders and rent-seekers.

And I couldn't help thinking that if they spent less time arguing they should have a share of what the Builders and Makers had acquired, and more time Building and Making, we'd have more stuff all around and society would advance and poverty would decrease and lifespans would lengthen. All sorts of good things.

I have never been an organized or industrious person but I have always respected those things. They seem like superpowers to me. I don't think I should get to share in the natural result of such virtues (material security is the one that most concerns liberals) simply because I had less of such virtues.

Anyway, it's just possible that when I grew up I saw a lot of Asshole Liberal conduct, and did not see a lot of Asshole Conservative conduct, so, me wanting to run from the asshole camp, I tended to be conservative.

(And I'll stipulate for these purposes that many liberals had the opposite experience. My point lies elsewhere, so this stipulation is easily made.)

But what motivates the Church of Atheism is this stupid, emotional, brain-dead impulse towards reductivism. You know what causes war? Religion. You know what causes hate? Religion. You know what causes icky conservatism? Religion.

Not really. If you guys were thinking about this a little harder you might realize that a basic personality type lies behind a religious nature and conservatism and and impulse towards traditionalism.

Perhaps R does not lead to C. Perhaps a complex of different factors (which for simplicity's sake I'll just call U for "Ur") leads to both R and C.

That's a small point, but I think it's important to note it.

If freeing yourselves from religion has really made you more rational and all-around better thinkers, why do I see not only no evidence of such increased rationality and overall brainpower, but what I'd mark as a net decline?


Conspiracy Theory: My brief against this sort of thinking is exactly the same as by general brief against Conspiracy Thinking -- the stupid reductivst impulse to simply the complex world into One Big Black Hat.

And I think that's what the Church of Atheism is -- a conspiracy theory. It has all the tropes, all the same simplicity, all the same ginned up anger (isn't emotion a bad thing to rationalists?).

You know who really killed JFK?

Religion.

There you go.

Nice and simple. The way the simple-minded prefer it.



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posted by Ace at 12:39 PM

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