The Angry Atheist


I have been sitting on Rex Murphy’s article on the National Post for a few days and figure it needs a little bit of addressing.

Well a lot of addressing.

In a change from the usual structure, I will have to just write a gigantic list of what’s wrong with this article.

Its basis is the notion that we are contrarian and that we pick on targets who are lofty.

So to begin with?

1. Mother Theresa is Not A Saint 

She really  isn’t Mr. Murphy. She is just a human being who at best thought she was doing good. At worst she was an individual trying to convert the desperate to her particular god. In addition there were some rather interesting financial shenanigans. At the time when anyone said “But look at Mother Theresa”, at no point did anyone say “why hasn’t the Home for the Dying expanded it’s range of services and quality but merely expanded it’s size and pathetic nature? I don’t think Mother Theresa is to blame. Anyone who hugs and feeds the sufferers of leprosy isn’t in it for the mad moneyz, but it is kind of odd how her order used her selflessness to flog their faith and open a variety of new nunneries and schools to spread “the word”.

And I am afraid there are people much like her across the world who never get the exposure she got.

2. Dawkins is not aggressive

No the people who set out to ensure that women don’t have access to healthcare or that we can keep bashing the GLBT.  Those people are aggressive. Dawkins is merely vehement in his objections. And he is hardly fanatic. He himself has suggested that if the Christians or any faith for that matter could empirically demonstrate the existence of their particular god then he would recant his atheism. However, to date Mr. Dawkins has not received this evidence. I shall have to assume it is in the mail but until we atheists receive it we cannot accept an entity that for all intents and purposes is powered by  magic and for whom there is no evidence what so ever. Dawkins has not set anyone on fire and the only killing he has done has been the verbal kind.

3. Atheists Want Respect

Yes. Yes we do.

We are routinely demonised and derided. We are not offered options and religious people are offered special dispensations that we have to adhere to. A man can say that he opposes the right of women to seek proper healthcare because his 2000 year old superstition tells him to and we take him seriously. We can fear the rise of a Lesbian Queen of England because some guy’s religion says that we should fear it and this person is taken seriously. In short? Raving idiots are often taken seriously simply because they wave around a really old book that some people think is real.

So when we respond with logic and common sense and are ignored we feel (quite rightly) that we are not respected. Because the response to “My Invisible Boss Says That Blood Donations are Evil” is to go “That’s Bullshit”. Not “oh let us jump through hoops to satiate your bizarre requests”.

And the same argument made here means that we should only respect one religion. After all? The Hindu has no respect for the ideas of the Christian and vice versa. Both are atheists of the other’s faith.

4. Atheists Hate Christmas

No we don’t. I am not possessed by the Spirit of Hitchens. I do not have to consume a baby then run around on Christmas eve keeping my workers in particularly that guy with the crippled kid.  Bah humbug!

We don’t hate Christmas. We just think that Christmas is a Christian holiday and should not use public land. It is the Month of Ramadan right now. Would you like a Ramadan display on public property or are only Christians allowed to display their faith?

As for the lack of Judeo-Christian influences in our Courts and Schools. The reason we wish to do away with this is because the Judeo-Christian faith is not a role model for any judiciary. It is a barbarous book of slavery, genocide and rape. It extolls that the greatest crime is not being a Christian and that today the only reason we use the words “Judeo-Christian” is because we remember when it was just “Christian” and about how the Jews were treated because of that.

No I am afraid we like Christmas. We just don’t like it flogged exclusively in our public schools as a Christian festival which excludes people in the same way that we wouldn’t want to all have to fast for Ramadan or celebrate Holi or worse, get left out because it is only for “people x”. We just think that such periods should be secular in nature so that we aren’t forcing the Jewish kid to faff around with Jesus Hymns. I mean I grew up Hindu and I had a Christmas tree and Presents. You can have a secular Christmas too.

In fact? Most of us do.

And this is without the greater problem of religion in the judiciary and education system where such beliefs interfere with the proper education of children because “God Did It” is acceptable as an answer in the Bible but not in the real world where we demand more concrete answers.

5. Human Rights Waahmbulance Calling

The Comforts of Religion Are Not Human Rights, But the Mercies of a Benevolent God?

Which god? Bring your god forth! I have heard of a million gods and have sought them all and not one has deemed itself fit to show itself. Not your Jehovahs or your Allahs or your Shivas.

The judicial protection of religion is not the Mercies of a Benevolent God. Let us take Gay Marriage for example. Do you think a benevolent god is on the side of the hate mongers? Then I am afraid you have to change the definition of “benevolence”. What about the reduction of rights of women to get proper sex education, contraceptives and abortions? Is that benevolence too?

The so called benevolent god seems awfully far away from the people who need it the most. In fact  the people he seems most benevolent to are the super rich. In fact if we look at the suffering in the world it is safer to say that the world spins on suffering. If there is a benevolent god then he would not let the sick exist. And there would not be the very special kind of sick that only the poorest people in the world get. What sort of benevolent being causes nasal myasis (maggots that eat your nasal layers from the inside. Sleep Well) or rabies? What sort of benevolent being sits by and watches people suffer from this? Oh I am sure you can come up with some bullshit excuse but the fact of the matter is that should a god exist it is not good or benevolent.

And as for the specific Judeo-Christian god? Jehovah? We have long outgrown his barbaric morality to consider him good or benevolent.

It is not Human Rights that the Atheist uses to defend secular society in the USA. It is the very laws of the USA that recommend a non-religious society. Religion may have had it’s place in the private lives of Americans but the rules were such that all Americans were free to worship whatever they chose as long as it did not harm anyone. Not an excuse to insert Jesus into every crevice.

6. Atheist Chaplains

The Chaplaincy service extends to all religious groups within the US Army. A lack of religion still causes the sort of existential crisis that we all face and a humanist Chaplain is someone who can listen to the hopes, fears and wishes of atheists without not knowing how to deal with someone who doesn’t believe in a god. It’s not asking the moon Mr. Rex. It’s asking for the same sort of taxpayer funded services that is available to all service men irrespective of caste, colour, sex. We just want it to extend beyond religious belief.

LET us say there was access to an Army Psychologist but only for Atheists and Agnostics. Would it be fair to the likes of Christians? No. Then why must atheists lack humanist chaplains?

7. He’s Got One So I Want One

We want the same things that the majority religion have otherwise we are second class citizens. Why is it that “All Men Must go to Church” is a right and just law but “All Men Must Go To Mosque” a barbaric one? Oh right. Because of perspective. The reason you don’t see why Atheists would want the same facilities as the religious is because you aren’t forced to make do and to adjust with others. It’s what we call privilege.

As a Brit it boggles the mind that someone from the USA would challenge this notion when just a few decades ago people marched and fought against “separate but equal” laws. It may not be as bad for the modern atheist but there is discrimination.

8. Why must you have the same assists, services and structures as those who believe

Because then it is bias and bigotry. As I said. If atheists got special compensations to be atheist and Rex did not do you think Rex would be championing those special  assists, services and structures?

And more interestingly. Do you think I would have written the same article as Rex? (Not Sure Really).

9. Funny, no atheist wants their own hell

Funny how no religious person thinks that this life is the only one we get and we have to make the best of it not just for ourselves but for others too. If there is indeed a heaven it is not permanent and is not created by the magic of a god but by the sweat and blood of humans and however fleeting and pointless it is that brief moment of happiness we perceive makes it all worth it. You cannot tell me there is no heaven on this earth when you cannot feel the joy from music. Or the smile of a mother as her baby curls it’s hands round her finger. Or the child playing in the rain. Or love?

Yes the world is terrible for the most of us, but we still find little pieces of happiness. A little plot of heaven  that we can rent and what’s more we can pass it on to those we love and even work to help others experience that little taste of joy and bliss.

I would rather be able to make my own heaven than to fear a non-existent hell.

10. Atheists should also have to Pray, Fast, Ask for Remissions of Sin and attend Services

Why should we. There is no onus on religious people to do these things. There is no legal obligation for a Christian to attend Church. You do not lose your Status as a Muslim  if you choose not to fast at Ramadan or to eat Beef as a Hindu. You may write whatever you damn well please on an official government form and be identified as such.

We do not have to pray, fast, as for remission of sins or attend services because we don’t see the world the way you do Rex. We know what “Real” is. And what’s real is our world and everything in it. More than your Church which is built on blind faith.

You ask us where our “temple” is? You stand on it. You ask us how can we know the truths of our world? Through Science. Remissions of our Sin? Through the judiciary system to which even  Christians are beholden to. Services? Why pray to something that is real and concrete? You do not require prayer to fly? Aerodynamics functions perfectly well. Your car does not require the sacrifice of virgins. I do not pray to a god of electricity to keep my lightbulbs in perfect order and the only reason there are dead chickens round my computer is that I fancied a curry.

Who must we pray to? Science? Dawkins? Why? It is an exercise in pointlessness. The world will work whether we pray to it or not.

And the funny thing is this. If we removed all knowledge of Christianity and then removed all knowledge of Science and reverted humanity back to the “Stone Age”. We would still create all this scientific progress but we would not recreate the same Judeo-Christian superstition.

You think there is just one book that if you read makes you wise? One book that grants all knowledge? I know that there are more books than we can read in a single lifetime and that there are more things that I will never know anything about than I will. That even with my voracious appetite for knowledge that I cannot possibly know it all. That is like a caged bird telling me that the world is only a foot across. And insisting it is so even though I am stood outside it’s cage.

I am afraid that most of us aren’t angry. Just saddened. Saddened that we have to fight. I am a reluctant warrior, I wish to be in peace. However there are still monsters out there to slay and so we must fight. My sword and shield are education and a broadband connection.

We may get angry but if you were in our place and subject to the same assault on the freedom of all by the acts of those who believe that human development hit it’s zenith around 4000 years ago and since then we have declined as a civilisation then you too would be mad. Hell at the slightest inkling that we have to adjust with another faith, a lot of Christians will speak of the horrors of adjusting and with greater vehemence than we would.

Because ultimately, Mr. Rex just wants to enforce the same old biased rules.

Comments

  1. says

    On your last point, I just finished Israel Finklestein’s book “The Bible Unearthed”. Fascinating look at the Old Testament and its … um … variance with the archaeologic/historical record.

    In short, virtually nothing written about the various kings of Judah and Israel in the bible is factually correct.

    And for much of the history of those two “kingdoms”, the religious practices included multiple gods, and sacrifices to the sun, moon, nature, etc., by precisely those people who would later be known as “Jews”.

    I recommend the book highly. It also shows the “Yahweh-only” religious practice was very late in coming, and was mostly a minority viewpoint almost to the end of the “historical” record contained there.

    You’re quite right. Wipe away the history to the ground, and a totally different religion would crop up. Almost certainly one that offered incense burnings on high hilltops to the forces of nature.

  2. slc1 says

    As Christopher Hitchens demonstrated conclusively in his book on Mother Teresa, she was as phony as a 3 dollar bill (US currency) who hob nobbed with the 1%, including convicted swindler Charles Keating.

  3. gwen says

    Mother Teresa was also a hypocrite. She took in enough money to build and maintain a state of the art hospital for the poor and dying, but she chose not to. Whilst she flew on Lear jets and received care from the comfort and competency of the Mayo Clinic for any and every ailment she ‘suffered’, the truly poor were evangelized to the death in the filthy hovel she kept to solicit more money. I do not understand why people were not asking the simple question, “what have you done with the money we have sent to you?”.

  4. says

    I actually don’t agree with Hitchens… I know the reality on the ground.

    Avi how can you drink Real Ale in the UK when your patients are suffering. How can you fly by Emirates? You should fly by some rickety arse plane.

    Or you know… make that 20 hour journey by train instead of flying out (Remember? I fundraised for that?)

    Mother Theresa was NOT a hypocrite. One does not hug lepers and remain a hypocrite for long. She was just a Catholic Big Wig. So she was perfectly fine in running a hospice for some of the most tragically poor. She helped those who were dying in what limited capacity that she had.

    She flew on other people’s Learjets. Other people paid for her care. As for the flithy hovel she kept? You do realise I work in such a “hovel” too? I have pointed out that patients are so thick where I am that they actually lie on the floors in corridors because we are out of gurneys to lie on in corridors.

    I don’t keep a house of suffering, it’s just the reality of what happens to any place subject to sheer volume. There are Hospitals built to deal with thousands that receive ten to even hundred times capacity. You cannot turn these people away. So you make do.

    Now what I don’t like was the fact that her order fundraised in her name and took that money and ploughed it into new nunneries and schools rather than say more hospices or improving the one in Calcutta. What I doon’t like is her stupid catholic stances on contraception.

    But she did something most of us could not. She willingly burdened herself with enough pain and suffering to break anyone’s heart and for that we must respect her.

    I don’t think Hitchens could have done that. If she is a villainous creature then what does it make me? I do the same thing do I not?

  5. braidcutter says

    For the record Rex is a Newfie, from Canada and the national post is a Canadian rag.

  6. Kimpatsu says

    …why hasn’t the Home for the Dying expanded it’s range…
    Christ, Avi! What does “why hasn’t the Home for the Dying expanded it is range…” even mean?!

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