Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Reason The New Atheism Needs To Be Discredited

And sent to the dustbin of history

New Atheists aren’t All Atheists, that’s important to start with. A lot of atheists are pretty civil and level headed people, some of them want to have nothing to do with the new atheists and reject the program of Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and the lesser lights among those self-defined “brights”. I’m not talking about grown ups who are also atheists or agnostics. This is about a subset of atheists who are bigoted, obnoxious, jerks. A lot of those bigots have PhDs and hold university positions, you can read about them in the post below this one.

Having argued against their blather for several years, the incident that made me focus now was the blog reaction to the murder of Dr. Tiller several weeks ago. That night, all over the blogs I frequented, his murder was used as a pretext for the new atheists on the comment threads, to repeat the putrid slogans of their prejudice as they tried to vie for the one who could tell the most bigoted and disgusting lie against “faith heads”.

Pointing out that Dr. Tiller was murdered while ushering at his Reformed Lutheran Church didn’t get the foul mouthed jerks to shut up. Reason is far from one of the more obvious habits of the new atheists on the blogs.

On one blog conversation I was part of that night, after the point about Dr. Tiller’s religion was made, one of the new atheists repeated the Harrisite formula that “there were no atheists who flew planes into buildings on 9/11".

Well, there were no Reformed Lutherans flying planes into buildings that day. There were no members of the United Church of Christ, or any other Christians or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists, or women, or gay men....... There weren’t any of the other fifth of the human population who were Moslem flying those planes either. Many thousands of times more Moslems condemned the crimes committed in the name of their religion by the hijackers and their controllers. Even countries which are hardly allies of the United States, such as Iran, condemned what was done. But, as all bigots do, the new atheists try to make all members of a group they hate guilty of the worst things a tiny number of them does. This has been done just about any time that bigotry takes hold and feels free to express it’s pathological thinking.

Since they pretend that they are the masters of logic, the blog bigots were angry when it was pointed out that by the doctrine of the new atheism, Dr. Tiller was culpable for his own murder. As an active member of his church he would be held by the new atheist creed to have “created an atmosphere in which his killer was encouraged”. His family and friends were responsible, people who subdued the gunman were responsible and every religious believer, the most pro choice, the most pacifistic, must be held responsible for the murder of Dr. Tiller. That is the only logical conclusion to make.

The new atheism is a kind of bigotry. Like all bigotry it is is dishonest and obnoxious. Some of the more silly adherents of it believe they are the bulwark of the new order, that they will, eventually, become the majority and that religion will be well on its way to extinction. Right now, given the size of their legions and absurdity of their claims, they are more reminiscent of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick than another New World Order. As they grow more obnoxious and foul mouthed, they are a lot more likely to kill off the atheism fad than to grow it.

I don’t think it does any good to count on that happening, though. Other forms of bigotry haven’t disappeared even as they have become unfashionable. I think active discouragement of the new atheism is necessary. That discouragement could begin by telling them you don’t want to hear their bigotry. Tell them any time thy start that you don’t want to hear it, that they’re not welcome to vent their sick thoughts.

The bad things that specific people or specific groups or religious authorities do are fair for comment, but only those people responsible for them are to blame. Atheists who want to blame religious people who aren’t guilty of anything should ask themselves if they want to be responsible for crimes committed by atheists. In the case of officially atheist states, murders that could be laid at the feet of atheism run into the tens of millions. Because if they make that rule and allow themselves to tar all religious people, they’re going to find that same tar sticking to them and they'll have no right to whine about it.

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