Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Atheists Are Always Fighting Fundies, Even When There Are No Fundies Around

A quotes some verses from the Bible praising love and kindness and little birdies and puppydawgs.

B mocks A by posting a meme showing someone reading a Bible verse about being sure to beat your slaves, or slaying someone for eating shrimp, and thinking, "God is awesome!"

A says, I was talking above love and puppydawgs, not slaves, and not capital punishment for shellfish eaters! I don't even believe in God! What's wrong with you?

What's wrong with them, A, is that they are New Atheists. (I'm an atheist, but not a New Atheist. I'm a Steven Bollinger Can Haz Nobel Atheist.) New Atheists are constantly arguing with literalist fundamentalists, the people who say that every word of the Bible (usually the King James Bible) is the perfect eternal word of almighty Gawd. New Atheists argue with those fundamentalists all the time, whether there are any around or not.

That's what's wrong with them. Mention the Bible, and they accuse you of advocating the slaying of people who eat shrimp. For them, fundamentalists are always around -- in their heads. A lot of them were raised by fundies and are clearly still traumatized by that, but after they escaped the fundamentalist frying pan they leaped right into the New Atheist fire and started distorting things, and seeing who can outdo whom in -- well: zealotry. There's no other name for it.

Now, most fundies are homophobic, and most of the general population side with the New Atheists in opposing the homophobia of the fundies. Where the distortion of the New Atheists come in is how they are always ragging on the Bible verses about things like keeping your slaves in line and beating your daughters and killing the eaters of shellfish and touchers of pigskin, as if slavery and killing people for touching pigskin were still widespread problems.

Where "progressive" theologians tend to distort things is in the other direction: trying to make it sound as if NO people EVER persecuted gay men and lesbians, or owned slaves and beat them, on the authority of the Bible, when clearly, both of those were majority Jewish and Christian positions for a long, long time, and when it's equally clear that most of the cultures which became Christian had previously been non-homophobic.

It'd be nice if it were so clear that it didn't need to be said that quoting a passage from the Bible doesn't mean that you're either a fundie or a "progressive" theologian or any other kind of Christian or practicing Jew or a New Atheist either. Yeah, it'd be nice if people didn't go off like hand grenades of absurdity as soon as anybody mentioned certain things.

(I'm not sure how seriously the seafood injunctions were ever taken -- I mean, I know that to this day many Jews and some Christians follow a kosher diet. What I'm talking about is, I don't know exactly how severely people were ever punished for violating kosher dietary rules. You'll have to ask an historian of Judaism or Christianity about that. In other words -- don't ask a New Atheist. They're about as un-expert and little interested in historical investigation as the fundies in their childhoods and in their heads.)

So in conclusion: feel free to think for yourself and like or dislike this or that part of the Bible as if it were actually just another book, despite all those crazy fundies and New Atheists.

PS: Another thing that's wrong with New Atheists recently is that they're really over-doing it with the memes. But to be fair, they're hardly the only ones.

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