30 may. 2011

Nobody Likes an Atheist

The religious ideology in the US is Christian. They call it Judeochristian, but that is just so they can conveniently include the Jews without really doing so. Or include them when it's convenient, and not when it's not. The official line is that everyone should have a religion, but that it doesn't matter which one, as long as you have one (and as long as it's not Islam). If you are not Christian, your religion should resemble Christianity, or be a kind of analogy to it that is readily understood as a "faith." It is curious that "faith" should be a synonym for a religion, because it is, itself, a concept derived from Christianity. It is actually a term of art in theology.

The atheist is hated because he doesn't bet on any horse in the race. The pseudo-relativism that justifies a false religious tolerance sees religious "faiths" as analogous to one another, but the atheists sees that this tolerance does not extend to her refusal to put down a bet. Believers suspect that he doesn't really respect their beliefs, and they may even be right. Logically, they cannot respect the atheist either. "Not betting on any horse is the same as betting on a horse," they tell her. "You have a secret bet that the race itself is not worth running." The atheist sees that the fact that there is not one horse in the race makes the whole race pointless: every bettor is in fact betting against all the horses but one, for completely arbitrary and contingent reasons.

Even atheists hate other atheists, because going too far in opposing the official line seems obnoxious to some, while being too appeasing and respectful is obnoxious to the others. Anyone who tolerates religion a little more or less than I do can become the object of scorn. It's tiresome to have to pay respect to something you just cannot really respect with any sincerity, but it's also tiresome to argue against religion. Very few people want to look like assholes all the time.

Nobody really likes a religious asshole either, but their is a taboo against criticism. Surely the Pope is 10 times the asshole that Richard Dawkins is, but he is the spiritual leader to billions. You wouldn't want to offend them!

4 comentarios:

Spanish prof dijo...

Now you are getting controversial... I love it!!!!

Vance Maverick dijo...

I recognize myself in that penultimate paragraph. I find it hard to tolerate anyone's criticism of Christianity other than my own. Your rejection is either coarsely excessive or feebly inadequate, if not both at once.

And thanks for pointing up how "faith" smuggles in Christianity -- I had found the widespread professions of faith in "faith" annoying but merely exclusionary of atheists....

Andrew Shields dijo...

In one of his biology books (I have not read his atheism stuff), Dawkins points out that the vision of the universe presented by contemporary physics and biology is extraordinarily beautiful and awe-inspiring -- far more so than the vision of the universe presented by religions.

Though I am very sympathetic to that point, it's as if he wants to appeal to "faith" even as he is a decrier of faith. It's as if he's granting a point he should not grant.

Here I am, grumbling about another atheist, a guy who's actually on my side. It's as if I were a Trotskyist arguing with another Trotskyist about some fine point of religious theology.

Professor Zero dijo...

I didn't know this about faith and I would now like to procrastinate on work by looking it up and considering religions.

I'm an unbaptized heathen not interested in converting but having spent so much time in the Andes / Brazil, where there are so many different spirits living everywhere, I've ended up absorbing the world view. It means I'm technically not non religious any more, which is an odd thing to recognize.