Skip to comments.Charlotte Allen: Why I can't stand atheists
Posted on 05/23/2009 12:15:01 PM PDT by rhema
I can't stand atheists but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores.
Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book "Faith, Reason, and Revolution," take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion") and political journalist Christopher Hitchens ("God Is Not Great") for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can't prove something, it doesn't exist.
My problem with atheists is their tiresome and way old insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What, did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?
Read Dawkins, or Hitchens, or the works of fellow atheists Sam Harris ("The End of Faith") and Daniel Dennett ("Breaking the Spell"), or visit an atheist Web site or blog (there are zillions of them, bearing such titles as "God Is for Suckers," "God Is Imaginary" and "God Is Pretend"), and your eyes will glaze over as you peruse again and again the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain.
First off, there's atheist victimology: Boohoo, everybody hates us 'cuz we don't believe in God.
Although a recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16 percent of Americans describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, only 1.6 percent call themselves atheists, with another 2.4 percent weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists). You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists' failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall. In his online "Atheist Manifesto," Harris writes that "no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that ... God exists."
The evidence? Antique clauses in the constitutions of six count 'em states barring atheists from office.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such provisions unenforceable nearly 50 years ago, but that doesn't stop atheists from bewailing that they have to hide their Godlessness from friends, relatives, employers and potential dates. One representative of the pity-poor-me school of atheism, Kathleen Goodman, writing in January for the Chronicle of Higher Education, went so far as to promote affirmative action for atheists on college campuses: specially designated, college-subsidized "safe spaces" for them to express their views.
Maybe atheists wouldn't be so unpopular if they stopped beating the drum until the hide splits on their second-favorite topic: How stupid people are who believe in God.
This is a favorite Dawkins theme. In a recent interview with Trina Hoaks, the atheist blogger for the Examiner.com Web site, Dawkins described religious believers as follows: "They feel uneducated, which they are; often rather stupid, which they are; inferior, which they are; and paranoid about pointy-headed intellectuals from the East Coast looking down on them, which, with some justification, they do." Thanks, Richard!
Dennett likes to call atheists "the Brights," in contrast to everybody else, who obviously aren't so bright. In a 2006 essay describing his brush with death after a heart operation, Dennett wrote these thoughts about his religious friends who told him they were praying for his recovery: "Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?" With friends like Daniel Dennett, you don't need enemies.
Then there's P.Z. Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota's Morris campus, whose blog, Pharyngula, is supposedly about Myers' field, evolutionary biology, but is actually about his fanatical propensity to label religious believers as "idiots," "morons," "loony" or "imbecilic" in nearly every post. The university deactivated its link to Myers' blog in July after he posted a photo of a consecrated host from a Catholic Mass that he had pierced with a rusty nail and thrown into the garbage ("I hope Jesus' tetanus shots are up to date") in an effort to prove that Catholicism is bunk or something.
Myers' blog exemplifies atheists' frenzied fascination with Christianity and the Bible. Atheist Web site after atheist Web site insists that Jesus either didn't exist or "was a jerk" (in the words of one blogger) because he didn't eliminate smallpox or world poverty. At the American Atheists Web site, a writer complains that God "set up" Adam and Eve, knowing in advance that they would eat the forbidden fruit. A blogger on A Is for Atheist has been going through the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse in order to prove its "insanity" (he or she had gotten up to the Book of Joshua when I last looked).
Another topic that atheists beat like the hammer on the anvil in the old Anacin commercials is Darwinism versus creationism. Maybe Darwin-o-mania stems from the fact that this year marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth in 1809, but haven't atheists heard that many religious people (including the late Pope John Paul II) don't have a problem with evolution but, rather, regard it as God's way of letting his living creation unfold? Furthermore, even if human nature as we know it is a matter of lucky adaptations, how exactly does that disprove the existence of God?
And then there's the question of why atheists are so intent on trying to prove that God not only doesn't exist but is evil to boot. Dawkins, writing in "The God Delusion," accuses the deity of being a "petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak" as well as a "misogynistic, homophobic, racist ... bully." If there is no God and you'd be way beyond stupid to think differently why does it matter whether he's good or evil?
The problem with atheists and what makes them such excruciating snoozes is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God's existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God's omniscience with free will or God's goodness with human suffering. Atheists seem to assume that the whole idea of God is a ridiculous absurdity, the "flying spaghetti monster" of atheists' typically lame jokes. They think that lobbing a few Gaza-style rockets accusing God of failing to create a world more to their liking ("If there's a God, why aren't I rich?" "If there's a God, why didn't he give me two heads so I could sleep with one head while I get some work done with the other?") will suffice to knock down the entire edifice of belief.
What primarily seems to motivate atheists isn't rationalism but anger anger that the world isn't perfect, that someone forced them to go to church as children, that the Bible contains apparent contradictions, that human beings can be hypocrites and commit crimes in the name of faith. The vitriol is extraordinary. Hitchens thinks that "religion spoils everything." Dawkins contends that raising one's offspring in one's religion constitutes child abuse. Harris argues that it "may be ethical to kill people" on the basis of their beliefs. The perennial atheist litigant Michael Newdow sued (unsuccessfully) to bar President Barack Obama from uttering the words "so help me God" when he took his oath of office.
What atheists don't seem to realize is that even for believers, faith is never easy in this world of injustice, pain and delusion. Even for believers, God exists just beyond the scrim of the senses. So, atheists, how about losing the tired sarcasm and boring self-pity and engaging believers seriously?
Charlotte Allen is the author of "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus" and a contributing editor to the Minding the Campus Web site of the Manhattan Institute. She wrote this column for the Los Angeles Times.
>>Im an Atheist - but Im not angry or victimized. Im very happy and productive.
You are a rarity.
But I am pleased you are happy and productive. That is what God wants, so you fulfill His expectations whether you recognize Him or not. If your atheism is true and based on your honest analysis of our Universe, I am sure He won’t penalize you in the bye-and-bye. At least I hope so.
I don’t believe in athiests.
>>I think its the same neuortic affliction the queers have. They hate themselves and insist on demanding that everybody else love them to compensate.
I think that they really want us to hate them, and its our tolerance for their way of life that they themselves cannot stand that bothers them.
Look at how they sue to get us to accept something, and we capitulate. Then, they take it up a notch and sue for something else. They keep doing it until we finally draw a line and that’s when they can finally say, with a great deal of satisfaction, “See. They hate us!”
I admitted to an atheist friend that I was skeptical of evolution and he said “You are here aren’t you? There’s your proof” and I thought now that is about as ignorant a statement as they mock from the Christians who say “You are here aren’t you? That’s proof God is real”.
I am not saying either statement is ignorant, but the way they devote so much FAITH in an unproven theory is just as valid to them as our faith is to us, but they see themselves superior due to having something in their hand. What they have in their hand (fossils and such) proves nothing, but by God they can hold it so it MUST be real./s
The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrha controlled everything in the towns; still, they pounded on Lot’s door.
So he wasn’t an atheist...
“Dawkins, writing in “The God Delusion,” accuses the deity of being a “petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak” as well as a “misogynistic, homophobic, racist ... bully.” If there is no God and you’d be way beyond stupid to think differently why does it matter whether he’s good or evil?”
Better question, HOW can He be evil if he doesn’t exist?
Actually, he will be penalized. As per most religions.
I have an atheist friend (not the one who said the ridiculous statement on evolution. I happen to meet more than my share of atheists, including Hitchins because of my journalist/professor friend that I am talking about now) who wrote an excellent article warning atheist of falling into a dogma of their own.
It was a good article. It is not their job to preach to others. She dislikes Dawkins for this reason.
>>Actually, he will be penalized. As per most religions.
My God looks into the hearts of His children. He is magnanimous and awesome.
To be an atheist because it makes sense and is arrived at honestly is, IMHO, pardonable. John 3:16 says that those how receive His message and ignore it out of spite doom themselves.
But YMMV and we will all know in the Bye and Bye.
I’ve only met one atheist who I could tolerate being around - he was my car pool partner. Most of the time we talked about guns.
“The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrha controlled everything in the towns; still, they pounded on Lots door.”
I like that and it is true, here is a video from San Francisco that relates to that observation.
Young Christians being chased out of the Castro district.
Well if she believes the religious are never boring I'd wager she's never waded through the crevo threads here at FR.
Theyre so disdainful of faith.
And yet, they believe in things they can't prove as well.
How do you know George Washington existed?
You never talked to him.
You never saw him.
How do you know the records of him aren't just a contrivance of teachers and delusional historians?
How do you know the stories of him aren't just an ages-old conspiracy to enforce allegiance to America?
And look at some of the things surrounding him that we know couldn't be true.
According to some atheist reasoning Ive heard about the Bible, doesn't this prove all of the stories false?
For instance, throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac.
Obviously a fabrication.
And the wooden teeth and the cherry tree/cannot tell a lie.
Obviously just plots by a society of GW believers to promote dental hygiene and honesty.
Everyone relies on faith. Even the atheist has faith. Just his faith fits in better with his worldview. Jesus fits in better with mine.
Ironically, most atheists I've encountered were not particularly bright and definitely not "free thinkers" even though they seemed anxious to label themselves as such. But most just reiterated the same argument but without really understanding the finer points of it nor able to examine their premises utilizing their own free thought. Most of the intelligent atheists I've encountered abandoned their atheist claims and retreated to agnosticism when pressed on their views.
At least yours is a reasoned and rational response. I’ve been waiting for one all day.
While the Constitution is a remarkable document, and frames a remarkable form of government, it nowhere explicitly declares a moral compass, e.g. that murder or theft are illegal. Then, upon what can you base the illegality of these acts? Your own preconceptons? That you wouldn’t want anybody to do that to you? These reasons are not external, not objective, not transcendent, and definitely not eternal.
Furthermore, the Constitution draws its strengths from the faiths of those who compiled it.
One of the principal framers of the Constitution, John Adams, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
By my reckoning, the framers intended the proscription against any religious test to protect against sectarianism, as did the First Amendment. These were not intended to purge faith from the public arena, since the entire structure of the country was founded on men of faith and was intended to be upheld and obeyed by men of faith.
There is also the appeal in the Declaration of Independence to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God”, upon which the Constitutional Framers depended in order to “entitle them” to establish a new government and write a Constitution.
Virtually every one of the Framers of the Constitution were men of faith, however feeble. Virtually all believed at least in a Prime Mover who established the external, objective, transcendent Truths from which they fashioned virtually all of their remarks and the Constitution itself.
While the proponents of faith do lie, those to whom their faith is real, would have to live with an unsettled conscience all their days or make amends with any parties injured by their lies. I have seen this again and again after Christian conversions, including my own.
An Atheist, while he may actually be more truthful than a man of faith, has nothing upon which to base his truthfulness. In fact, it could be subject to change with the vicissitudes of life or fashion.
Ours is a Judeo-Christian heritage. For the heritage of the atheists, look to places like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China.
The Judeo part of our heritage is not limited to the Old Testament. It’s symbology is on our money, as well. Look at the back of your dollar bill. Look at the star formed by the 13 stars over the Eagle’s head. Magen David. Then turn the bill upside down and look at the Shield under the Eagle. Menorah.
And finally I leave you with, “In God We Trust”.
> Better question, HOW can He be evil if he doesnt exist?
Even better question, HOW can you even know what evil is, if there is no external, objective, transcendent, ETERNAL TRUTH to define it?