Those Horrible, Cowardly Straw-Atheists!

In times of grief and tragedy
Of injury and loss
Let’s never miss this chance to show
The atheists who’s boss

Infuriation, after the jump:

A blog calling itself simply “Viewpoint” has commented on one of the emerging stories of the Aurora shootings.

In the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado massacre one of the things we’ve learned is how a number of young men shielded their girlfriends from the bullets with their own bodies, some of them dying in the process.

These wonderful and amazing acts of altruistic heroism raise a question. On naturalism (atheism) what sense does it make to give up your life to save someone else’s, particularly someone to whom you bear no genetic kinship? If the whole purpose in life is to produce offspring and pass one’s genes into future generations then it seems that, on atheism, the morally correct thing would have been for these men to have hidden behind their girlfriends and let them take the bullets.

I must have missed the atheist blogs (are there any atheist blogs? Do atheists ever blog, to speak for themselves, or must we rely on various believers to put words in their mouths?) that have been making this point. “Viewpoint” must have forgotten to link to the countless examples, thinking I had perhaps already seen so many it wasn’t worth doing.

In other words, the atheist has no basis for saying that what these men did was “good” or admirable. The atheist, of course, can be glad there are altruistic heroes in society since he may one day benefit from another’s selflessness, but if someone were to have acted selfishly in that situation by hiding behind his girlfriend, the atheist would have no basis for saying that that would be in any way a bad or wrong thing to do.

What most people consider noble, the atheist has no grounds for thinking noble at all and considerable grounds for thinking foolish, yet I’m sure most atheists do think the actions of these men in that theater were noble. That’s why it’s so difficult to live consistently as an atheist.

I really do want this person to link to these horrible atheists. Seriously, an example ought to be made of them! What horrible people!

I have come to find that most of the horrible people in such posts are one of two types of people. Hypothetical people, and straw people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen real people act that horribly.

Well, that’s not true. I did see this today: Boston priest arrested on child porn charges.

A South Boston priest has been placed on administrative leave after his arrest on child pornography charges, which allegedly involved the use of a parish rectory computer.
Rev. Andrew Urbaniak, pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa, is barred from functioning as a priest and was arraigned Wednesday after detectives uncovered pornographic images of young girls on his computer.
The children are thought to be between the ages of 8 and 10, police said.

This is a real person (and, importantly, not generalized to all members of his faith). Doing real harm. Guided, one would think, by an objective morality far superior to what atheists possess.

I think I figured out why “Viewpoint” attacks strawmen. It’s too depressing to look at the real examples.

Oh, and once again this blog–let’s say it together–does not allow comments.

But mine does.


  1. One Thousand Needles says

    The style and subject of that Viewpoint post reeks heavily of Dinesh D’Souza. He’s always harping on about “the atheist” (which shows that he, too, cannot point to an actual atheist as an example) and the “inconsistency of our morality.”

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Ack–forgot to include the link to that blog. Fixed now. Not D’Souza; a couple of Clearys.

  3. Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant) says

    Why would a Christian throw himself over someone to protect them?

    After all, they might be an atheist.

  4. says

    I wonder what the response would be if it came out that women died in the shooting because they leapt in front of their boyfriends to protect them. No doubt a bunch of sexist garbage about the men being cowards.

  5. Randomfactor says

    Fortunately, atheists are all alike; every Christian is Christian in his own way. So examples like your priest can be dismissed as unrepresentative of the writer, but a few terse conjectures describes everyone on our side.

    Simplifies the work, in the way that a wider shovel enables moving the ranch waste out of the pasture more quickly.

  6. anubisprime says

    Dog whistle to xian prejudice invoking stereotype, meme, assumption and manufactured propaganda.
    Playing the dumb innocent incredulous commentator asking a fatuous ridiculous litany dressed as a doubt filled innuendo ridden brain fart is an xian tactic of old.
    ‘Keep it simple stupid’ is their treasured stock in trade.
    Reason being they are playing to a gallery filled with morally defunct mental midgets.
    Best to keep the ‘lesson’ simple…like a chick tract.

    They are not really asking a question, they are simply fulfilling the audience’s ‘expectation’, by stroking xian ego as well as enforcing the self satisfied smugness factor.

    Xians have come across ’empathy’ as a word now and then, they are dimly aware it is seen as a ‘good’ thing, but have absolutely no clue what it means or how it works, very very few understand the principle and even less actually would know it if demonstrated.

    Love and empathetic bravery is a noble, ethically superior morality.
    It is no wonder xians do not grasp the concept.
    It suits them to deny anything that might be seen as a possibly positive attribute to atheism, because even though they never bother with it they will be damned if atheism can have it…whatever it is!

  7. Coragyps says

    “Viewpoint” does not appear to even nod to the possibility that a girlfriend there could have been pregnant. There’s a clear motivation, even in our era of birth control pills, to generate a little altruism at the reflexive-action level. Hell, I’m sure nobody in the theater had time to think a detailed plan of action out. Biology and our evolutionary heritage just took over.

  8. Cuttlefish says

    mat– surprise! I approved your comment!

    I am, though, a bit overwhelmed by your logic and evidence, so if you would be so kind as to dumb it down a bit so I can understand it, I would be ever so grateful to be shown the error of my ways.

  9. MaryL says

    How very kind of that…person…to inform atheists about ourselves. Where would we be without such help? We don’t know what we think, why we do things or how we should behave. We need …pepople…like that to explain everything for us and to us. They can even read our minds.


  10. d cwilson says

    In fairness, I can think of one atheist who promoted selfishness as a virtue and probably would have happily hidden behind a human shield. Of crouse, Ayn Rand is beloved by the same conservatives who claim all atheists have no morality.

  11. Cuttlefish says

    Rand? In fairness, I think I know one atheist who thinks highly of her. Possibly two.

  12. w00dview says

    D cwilson is right there, Ayn Rand is the closest thing to the straw atheist that so many theists assume we are. It is indeed ironic that so many conservatives are intolerant towards atheists and yet idolise not only an atheist but an atheist that has the horrid attributes they often believe is the moral compass of the typical non believer

  13. jasmyn says

    I love his assumption that “the atheist” is here only to procreate. My husband and I are north atheists and have no desire or intention to reproduce.

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