Saturday, February 28, 2015

Movement Atheism And Why I'm Done With It

Nicht geeignet zum Parteimann. – Wer viel denkt, eignet sich nicht zum Parteimann: er denkt sich zu bald durch die Partei hindurch. (Not a suitable party member. - He who thinks a lot is not a suitable political party member: he thinks his way too quickly all the way through the party.) -- Nietzsche, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, aphorism 579

And while I was looking that up to make sure I quoted it word-for-word, I also noticed this, which actually applies even more to this post:

Feinde der Wahrheit. – Ueberzeugungen sind gefährlichere Feinde der Wahrheit, als Lügen. (Enemies of the truth. - Firm convictions are more dangerous enemies to the truth than lies.)-- ibid, aphorism 483

Yeah. Freddy got off some good ones.

"Movement atheism" is the same thing which I've been referring to in this blog as "New Atheism," and which unfortunately many people have come to refer to simply as "atheism" : they're the people who like Richard Dawkins (on religion, not identical with the set [which includes me] who like Dawkins' writing on biology) and Sam Harris, and put up those billboards saying, essentially, "Neener, neener, you stoopid theists!" and are gunning for the "In God We Trust" on your currency and the Ten Commandments on the walls of your courthouses. (What's next, the reproduction of a Madonna and Child by Fra Filippo Lippi taped to the wall above my computer table?) I recently heard it referred to as "movement atheism," and it occurred to me that if I used that phrase, more people might understand what I'm talking about than if I said "New Atheism." And I think that more people understanding me just might be a good thing. You be the judge. (And put whatever you want to on yr walls.)

Now, when it comes to the first of those two aphorisms by Nietzsche at the beginning of this post, I differ with Nietzsche when it comes to political parties: I don't agree with everything in the Democratic party line, but it's them or the Republicans and they're much preferable to the Republicans. The difference between the two parties makes big differences in people's lives.

But if we compare movement atheism or New Atheism to a political party, what exactly are they accomplishing, besides pissing people off? I don't care about the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls, I care about the verdicts reached within those walls. I don't give a tiny flying speck of crap about the words "In God We Trust" on US currency, I care about freedom of religion in the US, whether that freedom, including freedom from religion if that's what you want, is guarded by people who think Jesus is their close personal friend, or not.

The second aphorism, about firm convictions being more dangerous to the truth than lies, fits movement atheists/New Atheists as snugly as a straightjacket. If you haven't experienced it, you wouldn't believe how much time these yokels waste arguing that Hitler was a Catholic and that Einstein was an atheist. First and foremost -- who gives a tiny gnat's ass about either Hitler's or Einstein's religion? I'll tell you who: movement atheists/New Atheists and the Christians, observing Jews, Muslims, neo-pagans and other believers dull-witted enough to waste their lives arguing with them. Neither side wants to actually investigate Hitler's or Einstein's beliefs. The movement atheists/New Atheists are firmly convinced that Hitler was a Catholic and Einstein was an atheist, the others are firmly convinced that Hitler was an atheist and Einstein a theist or deist, no one's mind is open even a tiny crack in either side, they just want to score rhetorical points against each other, in exchanges with all of the subtlety of the opening of the Itchy & Scratchy Show. Furthermore, each side is firmly convinced that the other is stupid -- they might actually be right about that, for once -- and further than that, they very often immediately assume that anyone who has anything negative to say about anything they've said is on the opposite side of the theistic question -- if you criticize an atheist you must believe God exists, if you criticize a theist you must be an atheist. And this appallingly simplistic mindset is unfortunately displayed not just in discussions arguments verbal fights about Hitler and Einstein and other famous people and Which Side They Were On, but regarding a wide range of other subjects too. A pox on both their pinheaded houses.

These morons are why many atheists have started to refuse to call themselves atheists.

Just a few years ago, when I first stumbled over atheists groups, I had such high hopes. I assumed that atheists generally would be pretty bright.

And I might have been right about that. But you don't have to be too bright to be appalled by people who verbally abuse billions of Muslims as if they were all violent atavistic extremists and all Catholics as if they favored the sexual abuse of children, who cheer at videos of books being burned and/or soiled with human waste, and who do the Itchy & Scratchy with religious morons all the livelong cousinbumpin day. I have a feeling that maybe most of the truly bright atheists are appalled by Dawkins' so-called Brights and their ilk much more quickly than I was. In any case, the more I see of movement atheists/New Atheists, the more I like religion.

No comments:

Post a Comment