From Thunderfoot, arrogant science lover extraordinaire! I myself am a humble, science liker mediocrity. In all seriousness I like Thunderfoot, he’s smart guy. But I digress, on with the bullshit.
Evidently the Atheism Movement now has splintered. Freethoughtblogger has said fuck this Richard Dawkins shit and nailed their thesis to the metaphorical church door. They are breaking away from crusty old white bread of New Atheism to form a new movement, and I wish I was making this up, called Atheism+.
First off let me get this out of the way, I am not a Christian nor a religious person at all. I was baptized Luthern but maybe went to church all of three times in my life, none of those by my own choice. However, I am a huge fan of ancient history and mythology and always found religion interesting. In particular the development of religion, the origins of civilization and the progress that mankind has made since the time when we discovered how to use fire as a tool.
I’ve read the Bible and have just started to read it again. You see I was planning on writing a series of posts on the Bible and how often it can be misinterpreted by not only Christians, but those in the New Atheist Movement as well. I was going to call it Bible Stories for Atheists, but now I think I’ll call it Bible Stories for Atheists+.
The obvious thing about FtB is that it is filled with a lot of angry people, filled with self loathing. They are people who gnash their teeth at privileged white males like Hitchens* and Dawkins, while they are themselves are the white, privileged people that often make up the hardcore, far left. They often know what’s best for everyone else, tend to be totalitarian and are the intellectual saviors of mankind. They are always right and everyone else is always wrong, which they then point to as evidence to their intellectual superiority.
We, the folks who live in the real world, have a name for these sorts of people. Douchebags. While they scream about how everyone is a racist and needs to be more accepting of a multicultural and tolerant society, the rest of us actually live in a multicultural society and have learned to tolerate it. Of course there are those who haven’t. People like Fred Phelps who gets on the news whenever he stands somewhere holding a sign reading that God Hates Fags(trademark pending). There is a reason why Fred Phelps gets on the news when he does this kind of shit. He is the intolerant minority.
The funny thing about atheists and their culture war is that they already won. Religion is quickly becoming more irrelevant to the human experience as we progress as a society. A lot of what is in the Bible and the tenets of the old religions are out of date or unnecessary in this day and age. We no longer need concepts like Hell to prevent us from treating each other like shit. We realized that treating others badly is a detriment on society and are working in secular movements to fix the issues to plague our fellow humans. More and more people are defining themselves as atheists.
The best opposition to people like Fred Phelps isn’t the Atheist Movement but the Gay Rights Movement. The Atheist Movement should offer their full support to the Gay Rights Movement. Any person or group of moral conscience should. But the problem with Atheism+ is that they want to take all these social justice issues under the banner of Atheism. The problem with that is that the focus is on the word “God” when it should be on the word “Fags.”
Fred Phelps and his ilk are the reasons I read the Bible in the first place. I wanted to find out for myself what exactly was and wasn’t in the Bible and where these interpretations come from. What I found was a real surprise. The Bible was far more fucking awesome than I ever thought it could be. Genesis maybe the greatest fantasy story ever written. George R. R. Martin doesn’t have shit on the guy who wrote Genesis. Samson rips a lion in half and then kills two thousand Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone. Now that’s a Mel Gibson movie I would pay good money to see.
The thing one has to remember about the Bible is that it was written and assembled in a very different period in human history than today. They were dealing with different problems and politics. When you understand something that you oppose, you are able to dissect it and are better equipped to argue against it. Understanding the other side’s point of view only makes your arguments stronger.
Atheism+ doesn’t want to understand, they want to hate. They don’t want to engage, they want to dominate. They don’t want a debate, they want an inquisition.
FtB is every bit as guilty of the same shit that most critical thinkers dislike about religious dogma. To paraphrase Richard Blaine, I don’t mind a hypocrite, I object to a cut rate one.
I’m a skeptic. I don’t believe in ghosts, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy ghost stories. I don’t believe in monsters, but that doesn’t stop me from finding meaning in the old Greek myths. I don’t believe in the literal telling of Adam and Eve, but that doesn’t exclude merit from the story all together. We live on a complex world that is floating in a complex universe. We’ve only begun the possibility of human achievement. To date, we have found no other species like us. We are alone, the lost children of the universe. The story of Adam and Eve conveys this realization beautifully, as well as the emotional despair that our ancestors must have felt at its realization.
We measured the stars and found our place in the universe. Isolated, alone and adrift. We imagined what was beyond and strove to better ourselves, only to be periodically crushed by nature or ignorance. We recovered, stood back up and built and learned. Some atheists say that faith is the enemy of critical thought. That if you have faith in something, you are not capable of thinking critically. I do not hold to that point of view. I look at where we have started and where we are now, and how far we have come as species. I have faith in the human potential.
Humanity needs meaning, it needs a purpose. The purpose that religion champions is the inner one. The purpose that atheism should champion is the outer one, space and beyond. So I say to Atheism+, instead of trying to destroy religion, build something instead. You want something to fight for? Fight for the space program. It is my irrational hope that I will see space colonization in my lifetime. That would reward my faith in humanity.
If there is a God, let us go to the stars and bring Him a nice cake. The Big Guy deserves it for creating such an awesome universe.