Feb. 7, 2008
Not all Christians are supercilious, of course. Many are content to live and let live, and some even grant that science (despite its lack of supernatural entities) does some good. But Christianity as an organized, evangelizing movement has been on the offensive lately. Witness the new wave of evangelicals and their leaders such as Rick Warren, Lee Strobel, and William Lane Craig with their aggressive stance against scientific materialism and their bestselling books attempting to refute science. So, assuming you're an atheist, what do you say to the theist who asks, "You don't (chuckle) believe in a god (snicker)?"
Anybody familiar with the original article will see that the preceding paragraph is the same paragraph as the opening to "How to Respond to a Supercilious Atheist" by Alan Roebuck. By changing a few words, the same attack can be launched right back at him, and the rest of the article isn't much better. It appears to be a primer in projection. After all, when in doubt, just accuse them of being just like you.
Well, despite the gazillion articles that I could be responding to right now, I've decided to update everybody on some general info and address some of the feedback I've gotten.
First of all, the focus on "print" media has shifted slightly, and I have been addressing a lot more of the online publications than not. I guess there's not that much difference these days anyway, since the majority of people get their news and information online. Obviously, D'Souza keeps popping up. I swear that guy is either just republishing excerpts from his book in his blog, or he's glued to his keyboard. Some of my most popular posts, though, were ones that didn't address a single target, but instead an issue or a compilation of similar stories.
The most popular post on my blog so far has been "Still Don't Think Theism is a Mental Disorder." Behind that would be the "News Story from Belgium..." story on the Islamic man who wouldn't allow a male anesthesiologist to treat his wife who needed an emergency cesarean section. As much fun as it is to beat up on Dinesh and Pope Ratzi, I guess variety is a benefit.
Response to Bruce Walker's "The Godless Delusion"
Bruce Walker's anti-atheist diatribe, printed in a magazine that touts itself as The American Thinker, is the ultimate in irony. This story is the clear byproduct of one who appears to be incapable of rational thought and instead chooses to regurgitate rhetoric that was likely force-fed to him in those weekly indoctrination camps known as churches.
Mr. Walker starts out his vitriolic falsehoods with the contention that all people instinctively know right from wrong and that people choose evil. If that is so, then why the heavy Christian emphasis on child-rearing? If we are all born instinctively knowing right from wrong, then any kind of instruction or discipline would be completely unnecessary. This is a shining example of Christian compartmentalization. It is clear from their behavior that even they don't believe their own nonsense.
Jan 30, 2008
...hypocrisy; cognitive dissonance; higher rates of STD infection, teen pregnancy, abortion, and poverty; mass societal dysfunction; early mortality; homicide; and, in rare cases, delusions and psychosis. Is Living Under the Influence (of religion) less dangerous than Driving Under the Influence?
In the news this week, we have the case of Eunice Spry, a British woman who systematically tortured her adopted and foster children because of her religious convictions. She did pleasant things like forcing the children to eat their own vomit for being greedy, and making a child with nighttime enuresis (bed-wetting) at the age of 4 wear a sign reminding everybody that she was an evil attention-seeker. It doesn't stop there, either. She also prevented a teenaged girl who was injured in a car accident and temporarily confined to a wheelchair from walking in order to collect more compensation money, despite the fact that the prognosis was she would regain ability to walk within 6 months. After moving out, they children submitted to medical examinations which showed evidence of internal scarring due to Eunice's punishment of choice-forcing the children to vomit and then eat it.
Atheists and others who buck the established religious systems have suffered from a bit of a PR problem since the beginning of recorded history. There are countless stories of the heretics, the blasphemers, and the impious being imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Atheism wasn't even a prerequisite; Socrates was sentenced to death for only believing in one of the gods in the Greek Pantheon. The official charge: impiety. Why is it that this stigma has taken root so firmly within the minds of human beings? Why has this trend persisted for millennia?
The answer is faith. Faith is the cause of this discrimination against the religiously atypical. The situation is as true today as it ever was, although in most civilized lands the punishment is much less severe. Perhaps one will only be ostracized by their family, classmates, or colleagues after revealing their lack of religious affiliation. The Islamic countries appear to be the main protagonists of violence in the name of religion these days, but the particular brand of faith which one uses as justification is not at all important. Faith is an effective tool to not only insulate oneself from reality, but also to vilify those who appeal to reason in its stead.
The Rational Response Squad has just received an interesting email. Adam Abeles, Chief Biological Science Advisor for Mike Gravel (former Senator running for President) has written us and vocalized respect for our efforts, along with the request of some exposure due to the congruence of his goals with ours. This includes not only intensified promotion of science in all realms, particularly education, but the elimination of creation science in any classroom, and an open dialogue about the dangers of religion. We are reluctant to throw public support in for any particular candidate as it makes a potential conversion to a 501c3 much more difficult. We are able to convey the facts to you and present you with an area in which to discuss them. We want to know what you think of Mike Gravel. For one minute focus on your ideal candidate, and not the person you have to pick because you can't stand the other leading candidate. Let’s not focus on the chances of victory, but rather the potential groundswell of support that could be generated online and the potential repercussions in future elections.
Highlights from letter to RRS:
A response to Peter Bowden’s “God, Atheism, and Human Needs”
Jan. 24, 2008
The idea that human beings universally need some form of mythological belief has been one of the mainstays of the defenders of faith for centuries. They claim that even if god doesn’t exist or religion causes violence and hatred, it’s acceptable because it makes some people feel better about the harsh realities of life. This is a multi-pronged deceptive ploy used to abdicate themselves from any responsibility for those actions and to keep people thinking that their assertion is correct.
Can you believe that these people actually have rehab centers set up for this so-called disorder? It's not supported by any evidence, and lots of doctors oppose it as a diagnosis. Besides, all of the supporters of this "disorder" are probably just pissed off that they grew up with Atari instead of XBox. So what if a person never leaves their home or allows their relationships to fail because they need to get to the next skill level in WoW? I won't believe that this a problem until there is REAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE--like inclusion in the DSM. If it's not there tomorrow--I'll just tell everybody that you are a liar for pretending that such a thing exists.
Here's a quote that shows that somebody just made this up all on his own, and now they even have people convinced that you need rehab for internet addiction!
Why don't we ask this young lady who was terrorized by the "loving Christians" at a crisis pregnancy center--placed inconspicuously right next door to a Planned Parenthood, which is where this woman had an appointment when she mistakenly entered the wrong place. I realize this story is a little bit old, but I just saw it today and wanted to alert others to the dangers of these "crisis pregnancy centers" and the fanatical beliefs that will be forced upon an unsuspecting woman who ventures through their doors looking for help.
I know because it actually happened to me. I got pregnant one month after getting married. I was 20, and my husband was leaving for Japan in three days. I was going a month later to stay for three years. I was petrified to have my first child in a foreign country with no family or friends. I went to one of the "crisis pregnancy centers" expecting sound advice and just somebody to talk to, but instead what I got was guilt and lies. It wasn't until years later that I knew that what they had told me about fetal develoment was a lie. My baby did not have a heartbeat the day I found out I was pregnant. He did not look like a miniature baby. I really felt that I had been conned and taken advantage of.
Isn't it remarkable that Christians would like to use atheists as scapegoats for every evil action throughout history instead of admitting their own complicity? After all, they are the ones who are constantly reminding us that the inhumane actions committed by their predecessors don't necessarily reflect upon them, so why can't they just admit that the christians of the past were complicit in some of these atrocities?
I don't know that I need to move beyond the first sentence to prove the absurdity of his assertion. Apparently, Mr. D'Souza has forgotten about the atheists and deists who were the true impetus for ending slavery-like Abraham Lincoln! As far as we can tell from the biographies written about Lincoln, particularly those written by some of his closest friends, he was at best a deist, possibly an atheist, and definitely opposed to organized religion and christianity.1 How about other atheist abolitionists like Fanny Wright, Elizur Wright2 and Ernestine Louise Rose3?