Salon has a peculiarly defensive article by a Christian confessing to being embarrassed about her beliefs, which seems like a good start to me. She should be embarrassed. As a fun exercise, though, try reading her article while categorizing its statements in the Kübler-Ross stages — there’s a bit of denial in there, some bargaining, and a faint hint of depression, but mainly what she’s got is anger. She lashes out at atheists a fair bit, but it’s in a revealing way.
Writers like Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Victor J. Stenger — and, of course, performers like Bill Maher — get loads of press mocking the dummies gullible enough to believe some guy a couple thousand years ago was God’s son. But come on. It’s like shooting Christian fish car magnets in a barrel.
Well, yes, it is easy to mock people who “believe some guy a couple thousand years ago was God’s son.” But, you know, that’s the central tenet of the Christian faith! Shouldn’t you stop and wonder about the validity of your beliefs when you realize the core idea is ridiculous? She isn’t going to defend that idea at all, though — atheists are just mean for noticing it, I guess.
Oh, and of course she trots out the standard fundamentalist canard.
And yet, atheists are at least as fundamentalist and zealous as any religious people I know, and they have nothing good to show for it: no stained glass, no great literature, no great art, no comfort in the face of death. Just dissipated Christopher Hitchens sounding off on “Larry King Live” and a stack of smug books with childishly provocative titles.
Atheists are not fundamentalists. Saying so just makes you look like a moron.
We have nothing good to show for being atheists? Hey, what about SCIENCE? I had no idea that atheists were unable to create stained glass windows — maybe this is the answer to Hitchens’ challenge, to find something good that a theist can do but an atheist cannot. Unfortunately for our distressed Christian, stained glass is a secular technology that has been used to decorate churches…but we godless people can use it just fine, if we want.
No great literature? One name: Mark Twain.
No great art? Berlioz, Paganini, Schubert, Saint-Saëns. If that’s not enough, browse the list.
No comfort in the face of death? What we lack is a collection of lies about death. I could say the same of Christianity, since I certainly find no comfort in unwarranted authority, wishful thinking, and delusional incentives. And at least atheists do not threaten others with hell.
Her snide comment about Hitchens is accompanied by a link which you should watch. It’s revealing. It’s Hitchens surrounded by a couple of McCain apologists before the last election, ripping into Sarah Palin’s anti-scientific views on genetics and research, and her ridiculous creationism. Does the sad Christian somehow find that antagonistic to her beliefs? I know many members of her own faith who would have expressed the same sentiments…just not as eloquently as Hitchens.
Finally, she wonders if she should speak up.
But also, increasingly, I wonder: When I’m getting a ride from some friends and they start talking about how stupid religious people are and quoting lines from “Religulous,” do I have an obligation to point out how reductive and bigoted they’re being, the way I would if they were talking about a particular race? Increasingly I wonder if I should pipe up from the back seat and say, “Excuse me, but these fools you’re talking about? I’m one of them.”
You certainly are. Please do speak up, we like to know when we’re in the presence of fools.
The equation of race with religion is also standard practice for fools. Sorry, lady, ignorance isn’t the same as being brown, and you can’t excuse yourself by claiming that you were born without knowledge.
Wouldn’t you know a whole bunch of people would write to me with examples of stained glass in scientific institutions? Here’s an example from the Pembroke College library at Cambridge: