Dwight Longenecker is apparently writing some awful book that includes a discussion of atheists. He has some very strange ideas about us, as this excerpt shows. [Oops, wait! That page has magically disappeared! Good thing I grabbed a copy before he deleted it.]
Is there really such a thing as an utterly authentic atheist? I think so. I have a dreadful feeling that there exists a sort of human sub-species who have lost their spiritual capacity completely. These authentic atheists do not profess belief in God, nor even disbelief. Instead they seem entirely deaf to such ideas. They do not hate the Church or say the Bible is a fairy tale. They do not spit out bigoted remarks that blame the Pope for the holocaust or missionaries for murder. They do not attack the arguments for the existence of God, say the universe is random, or call Rick Warren a simpleton. They do not rage against God, any more than someone born blind has dreams in color. These are the authentic atheists. They plod through life eating, working, shopping, breeding and sleeping, and God never seems to flit across their consciousness. Members of this sub-species may be sparkling sophisticates or ill-bred boors. They may be the decent and moral folks next door, or they could be despicable murderers. In a frightful way, it doesn’t matter. If they exist, perhaps they have bred and spread like the alien bodysnatchers, and exist in our midst like spiritual zombies—indistinguishable in the teeming mass of humanity except to those few who see them and tremble.
Weird. He recognizes that atheists have the same range of variation that theists do, and do everything believers do, and even admits that the differences don’t matter (and isn’t that frightful!), but still, the fact that god-thoughts don’t flit across their brains all day long makes them zombies and something to fear.
I can see his concern. I understand that there are people who plod through life eating, working, shopping, breeding and sleeping, and squid never seem to flit across their consciousness, either. That I manage to avoid categorizing these poor afflicted individuals as members of a different subspecies or as scary zombies is simply testimony of an inherent decency that Longenecker lacks. Of course, there are a few differences between squid and gods: squid exist, and people don’t look at people who love marine organisms and use their beliefs as a reason to forgive them for raping children, or thinking that Rick Warren is not a dangerous simpleton.
By the way, one good thing about deleting the post is that he also wiped the comments. I have a real problem with reading blogs written by Catholic priests: it’s all the sycophantic commenters who insist on calling the author “Father”. There is only one man who I loved and respected who earned the right to be addressed as “Father” by me, and he didn’t do it by being an example of gullibility or by teaching me to worship ghosts. It’s a title that resonates strongly with me, and I hate to see it used for people who don’t deserve it. It’s like seeing Kent Hovind called “doctor”, only worse.
Also, it’s fucking Patheos. Patheos, the web portal that didn’t have enough bullshit on display, so they opened an astrology portal.