CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

I could not pass this up. By Charlotte Allen of the LA Times.

Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining
Superstar atheists are motivated by anger -- and boohoo victimhood.

It is worth a read.

38 comments:

Funny article. I cracked up at the part about P.Z. Myers' blog.

Hermit,

That PZ Myers response was a perfect example of what the initial article was talking about. In it, he demonstrates the exact sort of smug elitism, condescension, and adherence to simple stereotypes about god-believers Charlotte Allen was talking about. As a lifelong skeptic (who, granted, would like to believe), I find myself more often pulled towards the believer camp because of the hostility, arrogance, pessimism, and closed-mindedness of the other side. If atheists/humanists/materialists want to have a broader cultural influence, they'll need more palatable front men.

I'm not really a big fan of the "new atheists", and yes they can be condescending, but let's be serious here; they are really just giving back the same kind kind of attitude we atheists have to put up with from religious believers all the time. I can't imagine anything more condescending than being constantly told that I'm lost, bound for Hell, living a meaningless life, unenlightened, unsaved, living in darkness, immoral, blind etc. etc. etc.

In my experience it's the believers who most often epitomize the arrogant, close minded, intolerant side of the the argument. If atheists come across as hostile sometimes it's because we so often have to put up with the hostility of believers; it's a defensive reaction.

If atheists/humanists/materialists want to have a broader cultural influence, they'll need more palatable front men.
Julia Sweeney. Nuff said.

A Hermit,

"In my experience it's the believers who most often epitomize the arrogant, close minded, intolerant side of the the argument."

If that is indeed the case for you, then your either not paying attention, or your experience is very limited.

"If atheists come across as hostile sometimes it's because we so often have to put up with the hostility of believers; it's a defensive reaction."

Paranoid? Persecution complex? A little of both I think. These are certainly not the reasons why Dawkins, Dennett and the like present themselves as the modern members of the naturalistic priesthood. They do so because they intend to intimidate and ridicule believers into apostasy. This is seen in Dennett's arbitrary declaration that atheists should be called "brights". While the rest of us are left to be, "the dims."

This behaviour and rhetoric, which has been spewing from atheists like Dawkins for 20 plus years, has naturally affected the way many who read his garbage treat believers. There are certainly no cases of atheists being slain by the truckload in American streets. In point of fact atheists and anti-Christians have controlled the education system in America for more than half a century now. Making the fact that so many intelligent people retain their faith that much more frustrating to them. They just can't take it that their "bright" minds are being ignored.

None of the so-called "four horsemen of new-atheism" give two hoots or a holler what anyone, least of all religious believers think of them. Their agenda and message to their fellow atheists has been very clear for several years now: "Let's be as mean as we can 'til they give in." So please, spare everyone of the "poor misunderstood atheists" angle.

And besides, that cuts both ways: If believers come across as hostile, its only because we have to put up with the hostility of non-believers. It's a defensive reaction.

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Well, Deke, in fairness to the atheists, there aren't tuckloads of them to be found in America to begin with.

"So please, spare everyone of the "poor misunderstood atheists" angle."Deke, I've been called everything from a "hellbound heathen" to a "buttfucking Nazi" by Christians, just because I don't share your beliefs. Please excuse me if I'm less than sympathetic when someone like Dawkins stands up to religious bullying...;-)

AH,

Really? There are Christians out there who call everyone they meet who aren't Christians such names? They just walk up to them on the streets and start yelling such things?

"Really? There are Christians out there who call everyone they meet who aren't Christians such names? They just walk up to them on the streets and start yelling such things?"No more than there are atheists who do so; but there are certainly Christians (including members of this blog) who can be extremely abusive towards those who don't share their beliefs...

And I don't know of any atheist who stands on streetcorners yelling at people that they are bad people and need to change their beliefs or suffer terrible consequences...but I've seen a few street preachers doing exactly that...;-)

I should be clear here; I'm not a big fan of the "new atheists", I think Hitchens is a clown, the "Brights' thing (although I think it's being misrepresented here) was a silly idea, Sam Harris is overwrought almost to the point of hysteria and Dawkins and Myers are sometimes more rude than they need to be.

But I also don't think they are nearly as bad as they are painted in the Charlotte Allen article, nor are they any worse than a lot of Christians, and in some cases, (like when Dawkins or Myers are taking on ignorant Young Earth creationists on the subject of biology) their contempt for their opponents is quite justifiable.

AH,

Thank you for clarifying. If, as I suspect, you've been called bad names during debates on religion and atheism -- especially on the internet -- then it would have been helpful had you clarified it that way. This is not "just because you don't believe the same as they do" but because you are in an argument. Of course such name calling is unproductive and unkind but you are painting a different picture now than you did above.

Atheists are 1.6% of the American population.

So who is committing all those crimes, divorces and abortions?

Charlotte Allen thinks atheists are crashing bores.

Well, theists are crashing planes.

I love you, Steve :)

Look at some of the social benefit articles Layman posted a few weeks back on here.

SC,

I think atheists did more than enough damage in the 20th Century for you to be turning cute phrases about terrorism.

"I think atheists did more than enough damage in the 20th Century for you to be turning cute phrases about terrorism."Let's please not play "Body Count". It's a childish, meaningless game that makes everyone look bad...And you'll lose...;-)

And it's not just in internet forums that some Christians are rude and aggressive, by the way. You are the dominant belief system in North American culture, even here in "Soviet Canuckistan", and those of us who don't believe are frequently expected to sit quietly and nod and smile while we are reviled as "lost" "immoral" or worse and our beliefs are unthinkingly equated (as you did in your last post) with every imaginable evil. Aggressive believers want to replace the teaching of science in our children's schools with the teaching of their particular religion, they want my children to either join in forced prayers or ostracize themselves, they want to deny civil rights to my gay friends and relatives...

Should I and others who believe as I do, just accept all of this, shut up and pretend it's OK? Or should we speak our minds; even at the risk of offending (or being "Boring"?)?

Take the PZ Myers controversy mentioned in that article; he desecrated the host (in an ecumenical spirit he included a copy of the Koran and Darwin's Origin of the Species) by throwing it in the garbage. Allen says he did it "in an effort to prove that Catholicism is bunk -- or something."

Actually he did to protest the intimidation and threats (threats of expulsion, physical violence and even death threats) directed at a college student who had been observed to have been less than sufficiently respectful of the host during a mass.

Rude? Perhaps, but the point he was making is that a young man's physical safety should be more important than a wafer; a message lost on the many good Christians who sent him hate mail, threats and demanded he be fired for his actions...so maybe it wasn't the best way to get his message across, but I can't really fault him for doing it. It's not his fault the press will focus on the nasty evil atheist and ignore the far meaner behaviour of the saintly Christians involved...

If I may say so, I fear this CADRE site seems obsessed with USA-style issues. I think it explains the exremist nature of the pieces, with this latest belly-aching over Dawkins and Hitchens etc. Forget them. They're harmless. Giving them so much attention elevates their significance beyond their deserts.

Yet, from what I can see, certain popular American styles of "Christianity" deserve all the offensive attacks they are getting.

No wonder Dawkins and the atheism offensive delight so much in attacking this US-style Christian right extremism. Saves me the bother.

What the atheist tendency really fear is the style of belief that rejects this US-type extremism.

While American conservative evangelicalism delights them, they have no answer to the more serious faith to which we rational believers hold, over this side of the pond. See their fury on being confronted by a Christian who rejects the supernaturalism and paternalism of the old style "faith once delivered to the saints."

Their response: "You're not supposed to believe things like that!"

Atheists did so much damage?

When the most notorious atheist
of the 20th century was Antony Flew?

Steve, we keep lobbing them up and you keep hitting them out of the park. :)

Pelagius,

This U.S. blog does focus on U.S. issues on matters of policy and social development, thought not obsessively so or to the exclusion of broader events. You know this because you are currently criticizing a book I reviewed about the world wide development of religion.

I am not sure what "rational believers" you are describing. There are precious few practicing Christians of any sort on the other "side of the pond." One cannot reject supernaturalism and be a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.

Carr,

Flew is more notorious as a philosopher who advocated atheism. But he's probably not the most well-known atheist person of the 20th century: Joseph Stalin, V. Lenin, Howard Stern and Mao Zedong would be in the running.

AH,

Its funny how you only want to avoid the "body count game" when the Christians point to the atheist atrocities.

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"Its funny how you only want to avoid the "body count game" when the Christians point to the atheist atrocities."what makes you think so? Please show me where I've ever started that nonsense if you think I'm being hypocritical there.

In fact, this is why I refer to Sam Harris as being "overwrought almost to the point of hysteria"; because a large part of his book is dedicated to just that kind of nonsense.

But in my experience in internet forums it's more often Christians who play the "atheist commie killer" card...(like you did above)...one more reason I'm less than sympathetic to Charlotte Allen's little screed about those awful atheists...;-)

AH,

The point you continue to ignore is that I brought that up only after an atheist implied that "theists" are terrorists and atheists are harmless.

Hence your selectivity.

And holding me responsible for things done on other internet forums? Surely you are not so hopelessly biased that you must paint with such a broad brush to justify your application of that broad brush to the reverse situation here? Or maybe you are.

You mean even the title of Flew's books is wrong 'The world's most notorious atheist'?

'Its funny how you only want to avoid the "body count game" when the Christians point to the atheist atrocities.'

A bit like drunk drivers making the point that more sober drivers are involved in accidents than drunk drivers.

Therefore, sober people should not talk about the dangers of drink driving until the sober people stop having car accidents.

Steven,

I explained what I meant quite clearly. Do you claim that Anthony Flew was not one of the leading atheist philosophers of his time?

If those sober drivers are mowing down millions of innocent people intentionally, then your last post might make some sense of the comparison.

"The point you continue to ignore is that I brought that up only after an atheist implied that "theists" are terrorists and atheists are harmless."Which was done to make the point that, contrary to Charlotte Allen's article, atheists are not the only awful people in the world...remember this whole comment thread was generated by an article attacking atheists...

"Hence your selectivity."OK, Maybe I'm being a little unfair, you didn't start it, but you certainly escalated...

"And holding me responsible for things done on other internet forums?"Where did I do that?!

layman

I remarked that this blog seems US-based. Yes, I have come to realise that now, but not at first. I take people as I find them without pre-judging.

The reason I mentioned the US-bias is that the US style of belief seems to me often extreme, and invites the sort of counter-onslaught that we get from atheists such as Dawkins.

You are too quick to pronounce on what is Christian and what is not, if I may say so. The supernaturalism I reject is the expectation that God acts directly and physically in the world (eg in miracles, dreams, events of history etc). And it is this belief that attracts most attacks from atheists such as Flew, Ayer, Dawkins - rightly in my humble opinion.

And as to the numbers game, which you seem intent on playing, I seem to remember a certain prophet rejecting that as long ago as the reign of King Ahab of Israel.

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AH,

It is amusing to see you justify Carr's employment of the atrocity game while still beating me up over it.

Where did the article claim that atheists are the only awful people in the world?

Pelagius,

You are quite the opinion spouter.

And if you feel free to come up not only with your own definition of "Christian," but "supernaturalism" as well, without regard to how others are going to understand those terms, we will not likely have a fruitful engagement.

Even accepting your definition of supernaturalism, how could you possibly characterize yourself as a Christian? Even setting aside two thousand years of Christian doctrine, even the most reduced versions of Jesus do not produce a man who rejected God's intervention in the world.

"It is amusing to see you justify Carr's employment of the atrocity game while still beating me up over it."Just as amusing as watching you playing "he hit me first"...;-)

"Where did the article claim that atheists are the only awful people in the world?"Where did I claim that it did?! Once again you are attributing something to me which I did not say. Why do you keep doing that?

AH,

You made it here: Which was done to make the point that, contrary to Charlotte Allen's article, atheists are not the only awful people in the worldWhen someone claims your belief system is uniquely guilty of imposing widespread destruction it is not unbecoming to prove them wrong.

So I did...point to you...

But on the other hand no one was claiming your belief system is "uniquely guilty of imposing widespread destruction" so I guess we're both guilty of a little hyperbole...Steven was making the perfectly valid point that if atheists are, as Allen claims her ion article, only 1.6 percent of the population then they can't be responsible for much of that stuff.

AH,

So there we go. You are now defending Steven's game of count the numbers while attacking me for responding.

Please, show some intellectual self respect.

My apologies Layman; I've been having a fight with someone else about the slanderous links to these kind of "Body Count" arguments on his blog (It's a bit of a pet peeve with me; on both sides, if that helps...like I said it's my biggest objection to Sam Harris' book) and I supposed I let some frustration spill over here and jumped on your comment harder than I should have.

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