Bad diagnosis

Tim Moyle (I will not call him “Father”; I have a lot of respect for my father, none of it transfers to the clergy) wonders why atheists are so grumpy, and offers some explanations. He apparently does not know any atheists and is completely lacking in self-awareness, so his arguments don’t hold up very well.

Why is it that so many in the atheist community cannot bring themselves to get past their anger whenever they engage in discussion about religion? The language of many of atheist contributions in public debate is laced with venom and dripping with sarcasm.

Well, actually, when I consider religion, I feel two moods: either anger or hilarity. The reason we tend to feel that way is because religion is so damned ridiculous, full of crazy doctrines and absurd assumptions, and yet people believe in it so fervently. Look at Moyle’s version of Christianity: it’s an ornate death cult that makes up stories about an afterlife to justify servility in this one, and its major premises are that we’re all evil because an imaginary distant ancestor listened to a talking snake rather than god, we’re all damned, and the only way we can rescue ourselves from an eternity of sadistic punishments from our benign deity is to believe without doubt in a magic Jewish carpenter who was nailed to a stick and came back to life.

That makes no sense. It’s stupid. It’s funny, because it is so crazy.

But it’s also infuriating, because people are indoctrinated into this myth from an early age, they are closed-minded to any objections to the absurdity of the belief, and it sucks away time and resources from our culture that could be more productively invested in something useful and true. And, oh, yeah, it ruins people’s lives.

The explanation for why atheists are often exasperated is that simple: people believe in something that isn’t true. Worse, it’s not just false, it’s stupidly false. We’re people to whom the truth matters.

Moyle is incapable of seeing that, though. Instead, he makes excuses for his faith.

We speak not to the culture of death that grips our world but rather for the culture of life and light that ends with the gift of eternal life.

Sorry, no, Catholicism is a death cult and he just confirmed it. That “eternal life” they’re always talking about? We call it “being dead”. Religion invented this marvelous euphemism for death in which they refer to it as being alive in heaven (or hell), but really, it’s still just dead. To an atheist, death isn’t something to be celebrated but to be avoided, and dressing it up in silly stories about paradise doesn’t help.

Why are believers so confident? It’s because even though we have suffered the wounds of sin from various clergy, we know that they not the totality of our experience. There have been times when we stood as a paragon of grace for believers. Even today there are times when the voice of the Church has truly spoken to the core of many, moments when the transcendent presence of God is visible despite our sinfulness and brokenness for anyone who has both the eyes and heart to see it.

Who else read that question and the first answer that popped into your head was “Dunning-Kruger”?

I’ve never seen a priest stand as a paragon of grace, and it’s telling that Moyle assumes that role. I’ve found that human beings are capable of grace and goodness, and they don’t need to be propped up by mystical ju-ju to do good — and in fact it detracts from virtue when it has to be cajoled into existence with promises of rewards or retribution in an imaginary afterlife.

Besides, some priest getting a holy tingle is not sufficient compensation for one raped child.

Atheists tend to see the state of their personal world as being limited to the best they can achieve. Life’s injustices will never ultimately be surmounted and they are limited to a ‘what you see is what you get’ assessment of life’s trials. Believers know that things will be better. They know that following the teachings of the church can bring them closer to that promised ideal in the here and now, and that any justice denied them by the events of their personal lives as a result of their fidelity to God will be theirs to enjoy in the life to come.

Wait. Limited…to the best we can achieve? So to a Catholic, the best we can achieve is inadequate and futile, and we need the assistance of some invisible cosmic spook to achieve justice? This guy has everything backwards. That makes the Christian perspective the one that is limiting and futile, because when I look at all we can do and all the potential of future knowledge, I find myself far more uplifted than any reassuring lies from the church can ever accomplish.

And once again, “life to come” is a euphemism for “death”. Moyle is basically saying he believes we’ll find justice in our death, which is a rather grim sentiment when you see through their fabrications.

See what I mean? Death cult. Belittling human accomplishments and celebrating an imaginary life for corpses — is it any wonder we can’t decide whether to laugh or rage at these antic ghouls?