I wish that could be true for me. Robin Ince lives in a rather more secular culture. I live a few blocks from a cemetery with an odious electronic chime that plays hymns every goddamned 15 minutes; I live in a town with approximately 15 churches; I’ve been condemned by the county council of churches; I share a state with Michele Bachmann, a state where every couple of years we get to have another battle to keep creationism out of the public school science standards. I’m in a country where a politician denying evolution because the Bible says the earth is less than ten thousand years old, or denying climate change because their god promised to never screw up the weather again, are perfectly practical positions that will endear them to their benighted segment of the electorate. I wish these people would just take their faith into the churches and leave the rest of us be.
But at least Robin is generally correct in this part.
For a while I have worried there is a rise in the superior atheist, though I hope that is not true of most I know. I believe there can be a lack of imagination and experience amongst some atheists. We can gloriously bathe in the reprehensible examples of faith inspired misogynists, homophobes, terrorists and other thugs, and ignore the religious people who amble around us, filled with doubt, questions, compassions and a non-dogmatic view of the world. There are cultures and countries, where the repugnant, muscular hand of organised religion manipulates the populace. There are people who embrace dogmas, religious or political, and will refuse to view them with a critical eye, whatever the evidence might seem to be; old Maoists or Catholic die-hards who, while eagerly criticising other persuasions, will remain energetically blind to “their own sides” shortfalls. I am sure I have and will fail to notice my own shortcomings, while criticising those I see as opponents for exactly the actions I have been guilty of. It seems that is part of the human survival mechanism, though I hope I am becoming more vivacious in my eye for personal hypocrisy.
These are concerns that sometimes leave me in despair. Yeah, I’m surrounded by the absurdly devout, but as we’ve all been discovering in the last few years, my chosen atheist community is pretty well cluttered with arrogant, petty assholes. Some days I feel even more isolated than before.
So, this Odin guy…are his followers enlightened and tolerant?