Monday, December 15, 2008

The Church of Atheism

Sometimes you just know something is gonna piss you off by the title alone. This is especially true with most things regarding atheism.

Now, as most sane non religious people can attest to, the argument that atheism is its own religion has been used time and time again without any noticeable improvements. I love to debate, but please PLEASE do some research. (I mean jeez, at least make me work at ripping you a new one.)

Unfortunately, this article was no different. I cut off some of the beginning cause it was slow going in:
Now, atheism is certainly not a religion, and the phrase “evangelical atheism” certainly appears oxymoronic. But we have witnessed in our time the rise of a virulent strain of atheism championed by Bill Maher, the secularist philosopher Richard Dawkins, and their often indignant ilk. For all its schooling and pretense of intellectualism, this godless vanguard unknowingly adopts the very aspects of religion its leaders passionately lambaste and turns atheism into the kind of evangelical ideology it opposes.
Ooh..."godless vangaurd." Me likey.

The facets of evangelism most repellent to atheists are bigotry, proselytism, and an unquestioning certainty in the tenets of one’s faith. Secular atheism spurns all of these things, but the evangelical atheism of Maher and Dawkins has chosen to embrace them.

During the height of conservative whispers about then-candidate Barack Obama’s secret adherence to Islam, Maher parried the smears with one of his own, saying, “…You can’t be president if you practice a violent, Middle-Eastern religion and worship a genocidal desert god, which is why Sarah Palin can’t be president.”
Ok, that's just funny and people tend to forget that Maher is a COMEDIAN. He makes jokes. Good ones.

Maher may be right when he says that a candidate’s literal belief in scripture makes him or her ill-suited for high office due to the importance of having a rational hand on the levers of power. However, Maher then subverts his credibility by condescendingly condemning religious belief as fundamentally irrational, describing belief in God as maintaining that “…You’re in a long-term relationship with an all-powerful space-daddy, who will, after you die, party with your ghost forever.”
Does anyone else see anything wrong with that sentence? It doesn’t make any sense at all. How does pointing out that something is irrational subvert his credibility?

But in reality belief in God does not require a divorce from science. It simply requires faith in something that cannot be proven. After all, the logic of religious apologists, though circular, is correct in insisting that God’s existence cannot be disproved, either. Atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, therefore, requires faith as well. By scorning faith in God, Maher is simply scorning beliefs that he does not share but cannot rebut. Surely this sounds familiar.
That is true. No where does it say that religion and science are incompatible, it's just likely to be an unhappy marriage. The belief in something without proof, now THAT is incompatible with science.

Posing a challenge to biblical or Koranic literalism has some merits, for such a belief requires a significant rejection of empirical reality. But the ridicule of the beliefs of all religious people, literalist and otherwise, is bigotry, and bigotry reinforced by proselytism.

One would be hard-pressed to find anything more explicitly religious than the use of the language of proselytism itself, exemplified by a page on Dawkins’ website, titled “Converts Corner.” Granted, if one were to ignore the comically narcissistic objective of this blog, whose sole purpose is to allow proselytes to stroke Dawkins’ capacious ego by recounting how his book “converted” them from their religious faith, one could defend such efforts by pointing to their foundation in logic rather than faith. But this contention would only hold true if Maher and Dawkins were proffering agnostic uncertainty in place of evangelical certainty.
Ok. Even if Dawkins is a narcissist, which I’m pretty sure he’s not, that doesn’t make the impact of his book any less significant. I also think someone needs a dictionary for Christmas. Evangelicalism is all about Christ. The word cannot be use to describe atheists. Even if those atheist are spewing hate speech and foaming at the mouth like some evangelicals, the word still would not apply.

By insisting that God does not exist, rather than that we cannot know whether or not He does, and that everyone should believe as they do, Maher and Dawkins venture beyond the realm of skepticism and enter that realm of conviction—religious conviction. Atheism, like the Abrahamic troika with which it competes, requires faith, and when this faith is replaced by certainty, when doubt and healthy skepticism are jettisoned, atheism becomes a religion.

Evangelical atheism is not the answer to evangelical religion, for the problem with the latter stems not from the irrationality of its beliefs, but from the absolute certainty with which those beliefs are held. Responding in kind is not the solution.
Actually the problems stem from the absolutely certainty in irrational beliefs, not one or the other.

This article is simply another attempt to bash atheists as a whole without taking the time to truly understand the individual’s position. Dawkins even states, in one of his books, that atheists don’t have faith and reason alone cannot compel a person to believe one hundred percent that anything does NOT exist. (Like Bigfoot.)

I guess all them big words don’t mean much without research.


  1. let's point out atheist's flaws by showing everyone they're the same as evangelical christians.

    fine! i'll take a bullet for the cause.

    *i'm being sarcastic

  2. Danm, that's a good point. I didn't even think of it like that. i guess that's why we keep you around. lol

    This was in the Harvard Crimson too.


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