It listed the usual suspects – Dawkins, Harris, Myers (and sadly not Hitchens). But then I was confused. Was the Atheist Convention trying to save money by co-advertising with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival?
Out of the 34 speakers, 10 are comedians: Ben Elton, Mikey Robbins, Lawrence Leung, Jim Jeffries, Catherine Deveny, Simon Taylor, Tom Ballard, Stella Young, Craig Foster and Mr Deity. Sounds like good news for Melburnians – buy one ticket, get two conferences.
How flattering! Now I’m one of the usual suspects in a group of atheists! I do feel he missed an opportunity by not also counting me among the comedians, though.
But seriously, why are comedians such a common sight at atheist rallies? For this conference in particular, billed as a “Celebration of Reason”, why are nearly one-third of the speakers brought in to have a poke and a giggle?
For atheists, religion seems to provide no end of potential comedic material.
EXACTLY! How nice of him to have answered his own question.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be clever enough to grasp his own point. It’s a sad situation: in the Chinese Room of Mr Kryger’s mind, some correct answers emerge, but he’s too dim to be aware of them.
Granted, there’s much about religion that can appear confusing and even difficult to believe. It’s also easy to do a quick scan of the fringes and discover a barn full of straw men to encapsulate everything you don’t like about religion. But this doesn’t explain why atheists so frequently resort to satire, mockery, ridicule and scorn.
We don’t find religion confusing at all: many of us were brought up in a faith, and many of us godless folk are interested enough to study the subject. We’re also not critiquing fringe beliefs: we’re addressing mainstream Christianity, Islam, whatever, and also various versions of the religions within those domains.
And they are all absurd.
No, really. Once you get outside of, say, Lutheranism, it looks just as nonsensical and ridiculous to you as Mormonism or Scientology or Islam look to a Lutheran. What? I have to believe a rabble-rousing rabbi from the first century was a magical being with omnipotence and omniscience in order to get into Disneyland after death? What? It’s faith not works that gives you the key? What? The talking snake and the flying horse were literally true? What? This special underwear, these ashes on my forehead, visiting this rock, dancing just this way, not dancing at all, chanting these special words, eating this food prepared just so, not eating that food ever, chopping off this part of my penis, wearing a beard, not wearing a beard, cutting my hair just so, not cutting my hair ever…all of these things I must do at the behest of the universe-spanning master of the cosmos, or to fit in with my people, and you don’t find it all hilarious?
Even the ones who claim to be distancing themselves from miracles and magic and anthropomorphic beings in the sky and babble about believing in the “ground state of all being” or whatever other vacuous foolishness they’ve been spoonfed by some dithering theologian are laughable. You can’t take someone seriously who has so piously dedicated their life to defending piffle with deepities.
My question for atheists today is this: do you think the incessant mockery and smug ridicule benefits your cause?
Does being a stuffy po-faced dimbulb benefit yours?
I’ve been to more than my fair share of Christian conferences. I’ve never attended a single conference where those of other beliefs (atheists or otherwise) were the subject of ridicule. I’m not suggesting this never happens, but on the whole, Christians are respectful of those with opposing beliefs.
This is true. They just say the proponents of those other beliefs will get theirs in a satisfactorily grim afterlife of torment and despair. Christians are very serious about that — they actually talk cheerfully about getting good seats in heaven to look down upon the writhing agonies of their enemies. I guess that’s “respectful” in a way. They certainly do take the whole business very seriously.
But otherwise, ridicule isn’t a good look for people who believe in the ridiculous themselves. The guy with the big red nose had better not risk poking fun at the other guy in the giant clown shoes, because next thing you know pies will fly and everyone ends up looking silly.