A recent email alert from Wing Nut Daily (WND) had a title ripe with smugness that read ,”Scientists to atheists. Sit down, we have bad news.” So… I bit on it, and hated myself for bothering about halfway through the extremely Christian diatribe that set up their big gotcha-moment in a link to an article that tries to draw a line to possible theistic core beliefs in self-labeled atheists.
The article from WND itself is titled, Scientists: Atheists Might Not Exist. They brushed past their proof that atheists might be just Christians repressing their inner theism to hawk the works of a completely unrelated scientist Pascal Boyer (anthropologist… but that’s an “ist” so it counts right?) who created an online quiz designed to let “people determine for themselves what they believe”.
Which leads to this crap…
No, none of that is obviously meant to appeal to anyone who doesn’t have some sort of background with Christianity. The multiple choice questions on lusting, reading the bible, saying “goddammit”, were the obvious way to get to atheists right? Tell those heathens that they are breaking God’s heart and proverbially stabbing Jesus with an icepick made of slain puppies.
That works with theists, but the real atheists aren’t that bad for society as we have found. I tend to believe it is due to either different sources for resolving psychological dilemmas or the comfort zones we keep to maintain a strong connection with society and the planet. From the outside, an atheist appears to be nearly as spiritual and religious with their non-theism as the theistic dogma they tend to mock. Which is hypocritical, right?
Maybe for some, that statement is true. Maybe some atheists are being hyper-obsessive to hide their true longing for that more comfortable path for them. We see this in just about every “counter-culture”, and I do believe that atheism received a lot of theist-leaning converts who might be merely hiding their own true beliefs from themselves. However, that usually isn’t what I have experienced personally in atheists.
Sure, there are the “militant”-type. I have been accused of being a militant atheist for learning some scripture on-the-fly in response to Christian arguments. However, I was never treated like some jackbooted asshole who shows up to piss in the Church’s punchbowl like those atheists who mock religion.
You know that guy: The guy that waits for a bunch of uber-religious family members to gather for the holiday and starts immediately trying to bum everyone out with horror-stories of slaughtered native Americans or refuses to buy his nephew a gift on Christmas because it was originally a pagan holiday. Yeah, that guy is an asshole. He most likely needs a little therapy to work through some attachment disorders which he/she are inflicting upon their families… or maybe it’s deeper than that or situational… fuck, I don’t know. It’s a hypothetical. But this seems to have become the posterchild scenario for Christians seeking to mock atheists in return (because Jesus would have totally trolled Twitter had there been internet).
WND’s troll-bait is going to fall short of something to blast at liberal atheists and fall more into the category of an inside joke for Christians. However, this is something I feel needs some more rebuttal before these wingnuts start trying to convert atheists as possible theist converts. Most atheists that I know don’t attribute pronouns to deities the same way religious people do.
The real inside joke here is that Christians and a newbie scientist (with very shallow focus groups to draw upon) still believe that atheists are just a prison sentence or a disaster away from conversion. This means they will continue to hate people like myself in the name of love because I don’t fit into their personal belief system. I find that sort of fucked up… but maybe that’s just me (yet, I still laugh at the “anthropologist” as a scientist… what an elitist douchebag I am…).
However, let’s look at this less like a troll and more like a journalist. Children have an imagination. Got it. Children recognize something greater than them in life. Stretch… but got it. Children speak to make believe people which is a sign of religious similarities. Wait… what? Um.. okay, got it. Keep going. Magical realities are inherent in children because we are a spiritual species. No… but I can see where you’d say yes.
The science takes a huge leap in the logic, and sure, that is another theory to form before you finalize a hypothesis on what causality the presence of imaginative qualities serves in our species. I would posit that it has nothing to do with religion and more to do with our ability to adapt and grow as a species. The causality from the Science blog post works in reverse using imagination as the proverbial chicken and religion as the egg. However, that would be just as fair to say alternately as well for all the proof that is out there.
Here is the thing… from a self-described “atheist” who doesn’t identify with any theology on this planet. I do believe in the possibility of something that does connect humanity to something else. However, I feel no need to worship or sacrifice to that notion. I feel no need to replenish my beliefs weekly or monthly or even annually. The extent of my knowledge of what could exist isn’t in my current ability to comprehend. However, I’m honestly fairly positive that most of the religions on this planet are about 75% bullshit with 25% good intention and benefit to society.
But that’s just me. You’ll never convert me with any known religion that exists currently. Ever. Won’t happen.
You’ll find atheists of all flavors who lean towards scientific study over rigid belief systems. The only real binding force among atheists is the willingness to change as new information is presented and proven. It is something that religious zealots just can’t wrap their brains around.
I’ve read from many different religions’ scriptures and none of them offered anything to me but manufactured control and a history of how government began in a chaotic and more savage ancestry. That’s fine and dandy. I understand the Protestants were going through some major changes both before and after the Revolutionary War… but that is causality without inspecting the details which specifically were against those changes from the Church of England (so far that the Anglicans became Episcopalians) which gave religion power within government. This was a major corruptible force that the founding fathers identified in both religion and politics. Had they wanted “Christians” to have moral hold over the nation federally, they would have very specifically included it into the First Amendment rather than what was actually written.
It is for this reason that my own “militant atheism”-flag flies when women’s health issues or revisionist history of the First Amendment are brought to task from conservatives. This is why people learned that “Federal” was a dirty word to begin with. It was those Federalists who wanted to push Christianity into the founding doctrines in the presidencies following Washington… emboldened by Washington’s own religious convictions (even though he was technically the second president… but that was before the whole declaration thing was done and we needed some military wealth to flex at England).
However, I accept that our species most likely evolved into what we are so comfortable with today. I accept that the tiny amount of time that I am on this planet is fairly insignificant in the scope of history, time, and the possible future of everything. I accept this because we are a competitive species that strives to know more. Curiosity is in our nature, and discovery is based on the foundations of solid science which can give us predictable results to discover even more.
I will die happily not knowing how my life will end or what will happen after that. I am comfortable with it. I don’t have relationship issues with my mother. I tried the green eggs, I tried the ham, and they tasted like horseshit to me. But that’s just me.
My non-belief in Christianity or any other documented religion does not mean I am anti-religion. It just means I’m indifferent to your beliefs but I respect that they might be important to you. I think all Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs or whatever should have a right to worship their own respective religion freely so long as that religious practice doesn’t impose upon the freedoms of other Americans. My non-belief might not be a religion, but I don’t think any given religion has a right to affect science in our schools or in our government because that would be denying me freedoms to give them to jackwads who think the end of times is aaany day now.
I did get slightly upset for the source of this tirade of mine which tends to label all liberals as possible Marxists. Marxists who were atheists. Atheists who massacred this living shit out of some clergy after taking power. One of those epic moments of “oh… that escalated quickly…” which stained the image of anything with “socialism” in the core of that system of government. Well, liberals aren’t Marxists. Most of us despise stagnation of the economy and technological progress the same as anyone else. There will be no mass murders of clergy or organized anarchy (which really can’t exist). Hippies will push from the extreme left to remind humanity of what a selfless human being tries to look like.
It is just unfortunate that the new mascot for the extreme right is a counter-culture to that hippie. They get the douchebags.