I’ve touched on this many times before, but since it doesn’t look like Joe ‘we all came from magic’ Cienkowski is going to provide us with any insight as to why he thinks ‘evolution is the religion of atheism’, other than to repeatedly cut and paste various misspelled lies for Jesus at people who simply want to give him the space to explain his position better, I thought it might be worth going over some of the basics which have emerged from your comments and feedback to this blog over the past few years on the subjects of faith and belief.
Firstly, we know where the idea that accusing atheism of being a religion without a deity comes from, as this article on proud atheists shows: proudatheists.wordpress.com/atheists-want-their-version-of-religion-taught-in-texas
The Fox News mentality, that atheism is bad because it’s a non-Christian religion, neatly encapsulates the sort of curricular thinking, “I’m talking so you don’t have to” idiocy we’ve come to expect from the Murdoch press as a whole.
But in fairness, it must be pointed out that the vast majority of Christians do not ram this garbage down anyone’s throat, for that very reason. The ordinary faithful are not oblivious to the counterproductiveness of stating that someone must be mistaken, simply because they religiously adhere to a certain worldview regardless of the facts—which is exactly the point atheism so successfully makes. So pointing this out on our behalf does seem more than a little redundant—and many of the so-called moderate religious are not unaware of this fact and avoid collaborating with the fringe elements in their own religion who fail to understand it.
Indeed very many of what I call practical Christians; those who can’t quite bring themselves to deny all of it—the “there must be something, out there” believers in belief—often make much better arguments in favour of certain aspects of faith, than lazy atheists do in favour of, say, the scientific method and rationalism. For a good example of this, you might want to read Terminus Technicus, myself and others discussing Christian apologetics and the pattern seeking brain.
But contrast these open concessions towards ordinary rationalism, from the theistic end of the religious scale, with stories like this from dakotavoice.com, on the evangelical mother of six, Brigitte Bedard, who ‘used to be a lesbian atheist’ and you begin to see it’s not all sweetness and light between ostensibly well intentioned theists and their non-religious counterparts.
The pitch is well worn, because it works every time—albeit on an already convinced audience: Find someone with a hedonistic lifestyle, built around drink and drugs and stupid behaviour, fill their head with easy answers as a way out of their bad situation and hey presto, instant overnight proof that the universe was created with Pat Roberson in mind.
“Here I was, a militant feminist lesbian atheist lying on my apartment floor crying my head off imploring God. I wasn’t in my right mind, but I was desperate for help.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but every atheist I know has pretty much one thing in common. So I think it’s fairly safe to say, our friend the lesbian and therefore evil Brigitte Bedard wasn’t exactly an atheist because she’d thought about “it” at any great length. She seems like more of a non-religious by default, to me. And this point is often lost on our Christian attackers, so I’ll underline it one more time.
Not going to church, doesn’t make you an atheist. Not going to church because you assert the fact that there is no evidence of a supernatural aspect to reality, however, does. But since when did proving someone’s thinking is fundamentally flawed by their misinformed opinion ever stop career religionists continuing to think whatever they want to think regardless?
So we need a new tactic with these people that few atheists are keen to explore. We need to stop calling it atheism altogether.
I didn’t lose faith, when I realised gods do not exist, I gained reason. The only way we’re going to win this war of ideas with those who would destroy everything we stand for, in the name of fulfilling biblical prophecy, is by empowering them with critical thinking. If that means spelling out for them the logical flaws in their many tirades against everything from science to small ‘l’ liberalism, so be it. But for as long as we do it in the name of ‘atheism’, we’re setting ourselves up to have more of the same arguments in which they have no hope of understanding our position and we have no hope of understanding the best of theirs.