Our greatest ally was unexpected


A decade ago, when vocal atheists were busy denouncing Christianity and other religions and furiously writing books against them, who would have thought that evangelical Christians themselves would deliver the death blow to their faith?

It’s amazing. All the values they claimed to have, that they claimed were sacred and intrinsic to their religion, casually discarded and converted to praise for a wealthy, corrupt boor. They just took everything we said was wrong with Christianity and validated it.

Unfortunately, at the same time, much of atheism decided to abandon the moral high ground and join the Christians in anti-feminism, anti-immigration, racist bullshit, so we can’t claim victory. It seems to be a general failure of humanity.

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ray Ceeya @ 1:

    Just about every science fiction author of the latter half of the 20th century, that’s who.

  2. says

    They just took everything we said was wrong with Christianity and validated it.

    So it was expected, then? Or were we knowingly lying about Christianity that whole time? :)

  3. says

    Akira @ 2:
    I’m a huge connoisseur of 20th century Sci-Fi and the only example I can think of is “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. He wrote that almost a century ago now. The worship of money and prosperity in his future is unsettlingly close to the worship of “billionaire” Trump and the fact that it has crossed the line from reality to religion. I wish Huxley had written a survival horror sequel.

  4. hemidactylus says

    This cited by Wendy Brown from In the Ruins of Neoliberalism may get at the conundrum:
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/13/trump-and-the-religious-right-a-match-made-in-heaven-215251

    We triggered nonbelievers mercilessly mock evangelicals and they found a kindred spirit in Trump. “One fascinating explanation, proffered repeatedly during conversations with evangelicals over the past year, is that they identify with Trump because both he and they have been systematically targeted in the public square—oftentimes by the same adversaries.” Us!

    I didn’t realize prosperity gospel was all that recent. I thought it was prefigured in the Parable of the Talents and was a hyperbolic outgrowth of Calvinist work ethic. God indicates favor with affluence so the filthy rich must be living right.

  5. PaulBC says

    @2 Philip K Dick didn’t quite predict a prosperity gospel, but the idea would have fit in very well. He did predict, correctly, that the future was going to be dominated more by rampant consumerism and marketing than by space travel. Of course, nobody in science fiction had to predict Scientology. They had a front seat watching L Ron Hubbard create it.

  6. mnb0 says

    “Unfortunately, at the same time, much of atheism decided to abandon the moral high ground”
    Aha, you’re longing for a past that never existed but in your sweet dreams.

  7. hemidactylus says

    In the Wendy Brown book I cite above she keeps mentioning a separate breed called ordoliberalism which I can’t help taking issue with since she seems to be goring my ox. Ordoliberals are about technocracy which gets a bad rap. Sure progressive technocrats were the early adopters of eugenics. And more recently Huntington had put forward a Trilateral position paper on “excess democracy”. And the elite institutions such as the World Bank and IMF impose draconian measures on former colonial debtor nations and piss off the anarchists. Ok I’m not exactly selling it well. But Trump hates the Deep State and the conspiratorial nutters rant about a world reptilian elite so it can’t be all bad. I think the problem isn’t with technocracy and the administrative state per se, but corporate and ideological capture. If Christian nationalists want to impose theocracy they will subvert the bureaucratic apparatus to do it. It is already overrun with various strains of “neoliberalism”. Maybe that’s where the critique of ordoliberalism itself has merit. But if people want to change the world for the better, subvert or capture the bureaucracy. Elect better leaders who will hire or appoint better thinking technocrats who serve as a form of continuity of agenda across subsequent government election cycles, expertise, or buffering from extremes.

  8. jrkrideau says

    @ 9 stroppy
    ohio-house-passes-bill-allowing-student-answers-to-be-scientifically-wrong-due-to-religion
    Great rejoicing was heard in the halls of academia. After it was realized that the story was not a hoax, that is.

    Of course these halls are in Singapore and China and India and Russia and most of the EU, and so on.

  9. unclefrogy says

    “Unfortunately, at the same time, much of atheism decided to abandon the moral high ground”

    I have tried not to abandon moral reasoning and behavior, in fact I would have to say moral reasoning has been one of the contributing influences for me abandoning religious faith all together.
    I have no illusions in thinking there is any grouping of people in which I would not expect to find those who profess any particular ideas faith or opinion who also are not also amoral self-seeking assholes. It is one of the understandings I have that preventss me becoming or being a follower.
    uncle frogy

  10. Marissa van Eck says

    The fact that so many self-professed Christians even considered voting for this guy still gobsmacks me. He’s a walking, talking, waddling avatar for the seven deadly sins, and I don’t think there’s a single commandment he doesn’t break on a daily basis.

    I’d suspected Evangelical Christianity was bankrupt for a long time now but these past few years have made it impossible to doubt. These people would not recognize Jesus if he smacked them across the face and left a big angry red handprint with a size 98 nail hole in it. And they’d probably accuse him of being a “Moozlim terr’ist” (or possible Mexican and an illegal immigrant…) to his face because “he’s brown.”

    The bitter irony is that Trump is a frighteningly good match for the figure of the Antichrist in Revelation…

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Ray Ceeya @ # 5: I’m a huge connoisseur of 20th century Sci-Fi and the only example I can think of is “Brave New World” …

    Perhaps then you’ve heard of a guy named Robert A. Heinlein? Maybe even his novella “If This Goes On…”, revised for inclusion in Revolt in 2100? Does the name “Nehemiah Scudder” ring any bells?

  12. mithrandir says

    The bitter irony is that Trump is a frighteningly good match for the figure of the Antichrist in Revelation…

    I’ve occasionally said, only half in jest, that if Trump resigns or is removed from office around July 2020, I’ll start going back to church, on the basis that he might be the fulfillment of Revelation 13:5: “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.”

    Obviously, I would be shopping around for a church that didn’t show me the door when I comment “Gee, Trump was in office for forty-two months. Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?”

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