Atheism is dead. Atheists killed it.


One of my major problems with Christianity, a problem that has become increasingly vivid in recent years, is the cultish refusal to dissent from their own extremists — there’s an attitude of servile “getting along” with leaders who have become more and more deranged. We’ve been seeing that for years, with people like Pat Robertson and the Falwells and every one of those horrible organizations with “family” in the name, all certifiably hate-filled and determined to stamp out every deviation from their pale ignorant angry norm. It’s gotten so bad that the derangement has become the point, rather than the Christianity, so that the flock went ga-ga over a paranoid narcissist who has never exhibited the feeblest spark of religious devotion. Their new Jesus figure thinks he is the god and the Christians must lift every voice and sing his praises.

There have been many great Christian dissenters, people who believe in the religion with every fiber in their hearts, but who also see charity and reducing human suffering as the true great mission of Jesus Christ. I can disagree with their theology while respecting their goals and methods. Their priority is to be a good person and help others. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Cult of Jimmy Carter, but we do have a cult of Donald Trump.

So yes, I respect Christians who are willing to stand up and reject the Christianity that fuels armed mobs of “militias”, that reject the Christianity that says LGBT folk must be shunned and punished, that reject the Christianity that treats women as chattel, the Christianity that has wed itself to white supremacy, even if they do believe in gods and prayers and ancient mythology. What matters isn’t the poems they love, it’s the actions they take. Right now, the important thing is that they take a stand against the religion of conservative hate that is hijacking their faith.

We atheists have a similar responsibility. It’s not as if we’re somehow immune to the unreason and poison of the far right ideology. We should look at this and be appalled.

I’ll let James Croft explain it.

Yes, Atheists for Liberty were at CPAC to hobnob with fellow true believers in the anti-social justice cult which has captured US conservatism – and, to be fair, where better? CPAC is not a normal political conference, after all. In the range of acceptable, rational political opinion, it is not so much to one side of the scale as outside the scale entirely. CPAC brings together the vilest conspiracy theorists and hatemongers in the GOP and the conservative movement, and gives them a massive megaphone. It has consistently promoted false and harmful political ideas: this year it promoted the conspiracy theory that Trump won the presidential election, as well as transphobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric that wouldn’t be out of place at a neo-Nazi rally. It is a cesspool of the worst elements of American politics, and everyone who swims in that cesspool gets covered with slime.

A consistent theme of this year’s CPAC – as well as in conservative spaces more broadly – is the idea that social justice warriors are trying to “cancel” everything they disagree with. A great tide of illiberalism is washing over the USA, they claim, generated by angry Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist activists. Some of the biggest cheers of the evening were against “cancel culture”, something you’d think would be a boutique interest in the time of a massive global pandemic. But this seems to be what US conservatism has fixed on as its new bête noire, and Atheists for Liberty agrees.

This is an example of a new and growing phenomenon: the lines between religion and nonreligion, and even conservatism and liberalism, are becoming less important compared with the line between the “woke” and the “anti-woke.” Where you stand on the approach and concerns of contemporary social justice culture is becoming the signifier of political allegiance in the USA, and since Atheists for Liberty are anti-woke, they will happily dive into the CPAC cesspool.

I took a look in my archives, and I think I first started writing about the Deep Rifts in Atheism way back in 2009. I notice, though, that what I was saying back then was that we’d find our strength in the arguments over our goals, that internal dissent was the force that would drive us to be better atheists. I was so optimistic back then! Looking back over a dozen years, what I can see is that I was wrong (about so many things), and that there was no resolution, and that there could be no resolution. Atheism is a granfalloon. For those of you who aren’t great fans of Kurt Vonnegut (also an atheist and humanist!):

A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle), is defined as a “false karass”. That is, it is a group of people who affect a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is meaningless.

In that spirit, I repudiate “Atheists for Liberty” and all who find common cause with their opposition to justice. I will and always have criticized the atheist movement, and will not be one of the sheep who follow the worshippers of authoritarianism and prejudice and oppression into their hell on Earth.

Besides, look at that photo: smug assholes happily wallowing in the insanity of CPAC. How could anyone think that is behavior to admire or emulate?

Comments

  1. felixmagister says

    The phrase that comes to mind is “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”.

  2. says

    “For those of you who aren’t great fans of Kurt Vonnegut”. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    Modern conservatism appeals to anyone who’s stuck in the adolescent mindset where rules are for other people, that they’re somehow “above it all” and consequences, when they exist at all, are “no big deal” – as long as those consequences don’t apply to them, in which case they’re world-enders no matter what.

  3. PaulBC says

    Besides, look at that photo: smug assholes happily wallowing in the insanity of CPAC. How could anyone think that is behavior to admire or emulate?

    There’s also something very cultlike about the iconography, though I can’t pin it down: the logo, the typography, something about the color scheme even. If it went by in a blur, I would think I was seeing a Scientology booth (though it’s not the same logo).

    Great Vonnegut reference, btw.

  4. raven says

    The strangest thing at CPAC was the Nazi SS logo they had for their stage.
    There is absolutely no way that was an accident.

    We are seeing the attempted mainstreaming of Nazi ideology in the USA.

    So what do they want anyway?
    White xians are now less than 50% of the USA.
    The only way to reverse that is to set up death camps and slaughter 157 million people.
    It won’t be that easy though.
    After they kill the first 100 or so atheists or nonwhites, the rest of those 157 million people will…fight back.

  5. PaulBC says

    Actual Scientology booth for comparison. Could be a booth is just a booth and they all use uppercase letters and kind of intense colors. Of the two, the Scientology booth looks a little less cultish, but maybe just because it’s less posed. (And Co$ at something called KidFest? Sigh.)

  6. PaulBC says

    raven@4

    The strangest thing at CPAC was the Nazi SS logo they had for their stage.
    There is absolutely no way that was an accident.

    Not to defend them, but sure it could have been an accident. The symbol, the Odal rune just looks like the top of a square braid, and it is pretty easy to see it coming up by coincidence. It could also be intentional. I wouldn’t put it past them.

    Of all of Hitler’s crimes, probably his most minor is the one that affects me personally. I have to be careful whenever I used 90° rotational symmetry. I sometimes spend my spare time doing searches for patterns based on 2-dimensional constraint satisfaction (it started out as Conway’s Game of Life but I am more interested in tessellations now). Whenever you introduce 90° rotational symmetry, you have a very strong chance that swastikas will start leaping out at you. This partly explains why the swastika has been used repeatedly as a symbol (120° and you get a triskelion as used by Isle of Man among other places). If anyone remembers the movie My Dinner with Andre there is a funny riff about a flag with Tibetan swastikas on it and the reaction that got. Also, I have seen books printed in India (maybe older ones) that use a swastika motif on the covers.

    Slack even got some grief when they change their logo and some saw a “penis swastika.” It’s just the symmetry. The odal rune has bilateral symmetry and is otherwise pretty simple.

    I digress, but the point is that there are cases where I will find an interesting design in a computer search and I just have to keep tweaking it to get rid of the fucking swastika.

    (Again, not to dismiss his far more serious atrocities, but fuck Hitler. He continues to be a thorn in my side.)

  7. hemidactylus says

    I recall the Silverman of Fighting God waxing on about the Overton Window. He touted his obnoxiousness as a firebrand as a good thing as it made moderates more palatable. Billboards put atheism in their face. Malcolm X made MLK more acceptable. Same goes for Act Up and the radical feminists. Like Silverman these firebrands served a purpose for the respective movement moderates. So why not SJW firebrands? Why doesn’t Critical Race Theory get the same deference as old school Black Power (warts and all)? I digress.

    Here’s a morsel: “In 2015, organized atheism was granted its first presence at CPAC, booth and all, and we even had an atheist activist (American Atheists board member Jamila Bey) onstage, speaking as an atheist! Overton window: shifted. Again. The strategy worked perfectly, and atheists are out, loud, and proud inside Conservatism.

    See you next year, CPAC!”

    That was his rationale then, which at the time I kinda thought OK. George Will is an atheist. BUT…

    Now the QAnon kooks are the firebrands shifting the Overton Window in conservatism and so much has happened that has worn Silverman’s welcome with many atheists that he’s not even that firebrand for us anymore (elephants in the room).

    As an aside, I’ve been listening to podcasts covering the conspirituality topic so realize the QGOP is just one specific strand of kookdom. The Left and progressives are susceptible too.

  8. snarkrates says

    Paul BC: ”Not to defend them, but sure it could have been an accident.”
    Oh, bullshit. The whole point of CPAC is that it is where Rethugs (they aren’t conservative) go to say the quiet parts out loud. This was a power play by the Nazis in the Rethug party to see what they could get away with–and given that all anyone got was a mild Harumph from Hyatt and a few milquetoast denouncements in the media, they got away with it. Expect to see fucking swastikas–and not the Hindu ones–next year. Tomorrow belongs to them!

  9. euclide says

    I don’t really see the problem (except that they are fool if they think a party of white evengelical who want a theocracy will not reject them at the end)

    Atheism (or religion) and politics should be orthogonal values as far as I’m concerned.

    There are right wing and left wing christians, and right wing and left wing atheist. (ok, the marxist/trotskist left is pretty much only atheist but they are mostly irrelevant)

    For example, in France, our far right populist party is not at all religiously homogeneous : there is a mix between traditionnalist catholics (the kind that want their mass in latin), neopagans that are pretty much atheists in practice (but they are litterally nazis), and a lot of people that are mostly angry with the society

    For the normal political parties, there are more religious people on the right, and more atheists on the left, but religious identity is considered a private thing, not really linked to politics (there are a few exception on both sides).

    To be honest, an atheist movement with uniform politics is kind of doomed.
    Even if all religions cease to exist tomorrow, you will still have nazis and hard core anarchists, and everything in between.

  10. says

    Nancy Reagan would have been so pleased by those beautiful white faces! (The photo is so color-shifted that it’s entirely possible that one of more of the individuals depicted is Hispanic, or perhaps even mixed-race Asian, and I’m willing to be convinced by a different, better-color-balanced photo.) And the proportion of men to women is just about right, too — there’s a token woman supporting all of the menfolk engaging in their rightful worship of power.

  11. PaulBC says

    snarkrates@8 I don’t know if it was intentional or not. You don’t either unless you can identify the designer and their intent. It is worth investigating. Maybe it was intentional.

    Swastikas really do come up by accident all the time. My favorite is the swastika library carrel with four places rotating around in an obvious way, but when viewed from above, it’s a swastika. I would have look harder for accidental odal runes, but ascribing everything to purpose is going down the same path as numerology. How many times has 666 appeared purely by coincidence?

    There should be a paper trail including a purchase order or rental for the components needed to make that stage layout. There is no reason to speculate.

  12. says

    euclide #9:

    I don’t really see the problem (except that they are fool if they think a party of white evengelical who want a theocracy will not reject them at the end)

    Having just lately started to dip my toes back into Organised Atheism™ (online variety), I’ve found that a helluva lot of people assume that I’m either far-right or US-style libertarian based on nought but knowing of my lack of religion. I can only assume that’s because the majority of atheists they’ve run across, or maybe the most amplified, hold to those positions. Not only is that a personal pain in the arse, but it speaks (possibly, this being anecdotal after all) to a quite serious PR problem, at the very least.

  13. Matt G says

    There is an article at Raw Story which states that the designer of the set is a liberal, and that the Nazi connection is accidental. Assuming that’s true, why are they doing business with the bigots at CPAC?

  14. kathleenzielinski says

    At this point, I’m not even sure what conservative means any more. When I was growing up, it meant someone who believed in limited government and lower taxes. Now, it seems to have morphed into someone who believes in fascism and lower taxes. And I don’t even know WTF is going on in the evangelical church.

    I think this is an infection the boy politic is just going to have to get out of its system, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  15. hemidactylus says

    Hmmm…I didn’t see the stage rune thing at first glance, but now it jumps out like a Magic Eye. Is it intentional or pareidolia (eg- face on Mars)?

  16. says

    Anti-wokeness is just a new name for political incorrectness, and regardless of the label I’ve yet to hear a satisfactory answer as to what the problem is with being “politically correct” or “woke” beyond not being an asshole to people who are different to you and not having everything catered to straight white cis men. Okay, maybe some mediocre white guys are finding fewer great jobs or college openings when those get filled by capable women and people of colour, but maybe put that energy into getting making life suck less for people who don’t get into college or get those great jobs.

  17. PaulBC says

    kathleenzielinski@16 It has meant “America is a white nation*.” at least since Nixon’s southern strategy. Most of the other “principles” follow from that. E.g. you lower taxes as an excuse to cut spending so “those people” don’t get what they “don’t deserve.” You support “limited government” because regulations have a nasty habit of getting applied in a color-blind fashion (there are ways around it of course).

    If Republicans could come up with a way to put only white people on the dole, they’d suddenly be all for “wealth redistribution.” In fact, that’s what the Federal Housing Administration managed to do for decades.

    *The only difference is that this was a core principle shared by white Americans of both parties for a long time.

  18. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC:

    the accompaniment was not part of the original.

    Yes, sorry, I thought that was obvious. He’s just trolling them.

  19. PaulBC says

    Matt G@14

    There is an article at Raw Story which states that the designer of the set is a liberal, and that the Nazi connection is accidental. Assuming that’s true, why are they doing business with the bigots at CPAC?

    So it could also be intentional and done as a prank (which was one thought I had about the golden Trump until it became pretty clear that the artist is a sincere Trump supporter).

    I admit it seems like an unusual stage layout, but having an island with space behind it can be useful. To be honest, I’m leaning towards intent, but I’d prefer direct evidence. A square is just a square. If you leave two gaps behind it and draw the boundaries, you get an odal rune used by Nazis. If I could find any other similar stage layouts I’d lean back towards accident. I just don’t know.

  20. kathleenzielinski says

    Paul, there may be something to that. A college professor of mine said, fifty years ago, that in America race permeates everything. At the time I thought he was wrong; I’m now starting to think he may be right.

  21. Pierce R. Butler says

    Matt G @ # 14: … an article at Raw Story … states that the designer of the set is a liberal, and that the Nazi connection is accidental.

    From that article (which includes a good pic of the stage):

    … the design, … was “intended to provide the best use of space, given the constraints of the ballroom and social distancing requirements.”

    I have to question that claim in particular. Since when does “the best use of space” include large gaps between the mainstage and the back panels into which the talent could easily fall just by stepping backward?

    If, as claimed, the “Design Foundry” works regularly with MSNBC, perhaps that network will do some follow-up on this.

  22. raven says

    Hmmm…I didn’t see the stage rune thing at first glance, but now it jumps out like a Magic Eye. Is it intentional or pareidolia (eg- face on Mars)?

    It’s also mirrored above on the ceiling above the stage.

    It wasn’t an accident.
    We already know a lot of flat out Nazis are at CPAC so it isn’t much of a surprise.

    I wouldn’t believe the Raw story about the liberal without some corroboration.
    Right wingnuts lie almost all the time.

  23. PaulBC says

    Here’s the Raw Story article Matt G alluded to (at least I assume). So it seems unlikely that the individual who came up with the design is a Nazi. That doesn’t mean they weren’t trolling by working in this symbol. In fact, that makes it seem more intentional to me. They could also be assured that CPAC attendees either would not notice or would support it. The thing about Trumpish iconography is that you can no longer tell what’s real and what’s a troll. There were pro-Trump ads online last summer that I would have assumed were Onion-style parodies just over 5 years ago.

    I notice two other details. One is the way the center stage is highlighted inside with a square spaced to fit with the odal interpretation. The other is that the back of the stage is not flush with the square, which might be expected (I am not a stage designer so maybe not). It is a little shorter, just as the tails in the odal, though not quite as short as on the SS emblem depicted in photos.

    My verdict is still: “I have no f***ing idea without a confession.”

  24. PaulBC says

    Needless to say, if this were to happen again, I would not muck around with “coincidence” explanations.

  25. raven says

    Guardian.com

    The ceiling of the conference room featured a lighting display in the same shape as the stage, according to Reuters photographs.

    The SS symbol is in two places.
    The stage shape.
    It’s also repeated exactly in the display in the ceiling above the stage.

    Make of that what you will.

  26. Tethys says

    These must be the nihilist atheists that I hear about. They seem to fit right in with the traditional white male supremacists at this mammon conference. I can’t think of any other reason to have a booth there, except to hobnob with the rich amoral people. Then they might have a social in, just in case said excreable humans get elected to office.

    It might be a modified Othala rune. The modern stupidity surrounding runic letters is mostly driven by neonazi nonsense. It’s an alphabet, not a set of magic symbols. The Othala is equivalent to the Greek Omega. (In position, not in use as a letter).
    It’s one reason why English has such horrible spelling, with American English having alternate correct spellings.
    We have plough/plow. Ought/aught, naught, through, trough, and rough. All of them were originally spelled with an Othal/Odal.

  27. Rob Grigjanis says

    Tethys @28:

    It’s an alphabet, not a set of magic symbols

    Sure, but the symbols also have meanings. The Anglo-Saxon ethel can mean ‘homeland’.

  28. markgisleson says

    You might remember me telling you back in the mid-2000s that the very act of creating an organization negates the purpose of atheism which is a personal choice that should have nothing to do with other people or what they think.

    Since then it seems you’ve had to spend a lot of your time disassociating yourself from other atheists.

    The logo contest was fun but the second the actual organizing started, everything went to that other imaginary place in a handbasket. It’s not too late to cut your losses on this one. Herding cats is an easy gig compared to organizing atheists because sanity comes in myriad flavors not all of which go together well.

  29. says

  30. nomdeplume says

    Atheism is a necessary condition for being a good person but not a sufficient condition.

  31. consciousness razor says

    Have you not paid attention to anything in the last four years?

    The argument seems to work the other way…. You could act like we need to hunt for all these obscure hints and clues, like characters in a fucking Dan Brown novel, but nothing could be more obvious than the fact that they’re a party of far-right assholes. There’s nothing secret about it which needs any sort of uncovering.

    What’s equally obvious: they’re a bunch of witless, incompetent, tone-deaf dumbfucks. They routinely put much less thought into their meaningless bullshit than their opponents do. Overthinking it again and again, ad nauseam, is probably not the best way to understand them, if understanding is even supposed to be the goal.

    Meanwhile, actually consequential shit is happening in this country and around the world, yet for many it barely registers if it at all.

  32. stroppy says

    Pierce R. Butler @ 23

    “the best use of space”

    Yeah, if you’re going to design a stage… wtf?

    Not that repubs don’t do weird, idiotic things for no apparent reason, but I think the odds are pretty low that the design was by accident. For one thing, face it, it’s Trump’s lackey party, and does anyone seriously doubt that he has anti-democratic impulses and openly (or in transparently veiled language) courts all manner of right-wing extremism in his base? For another as already mentioned, it’s functional crap unless someone was trying to create a platform where Trump could fall off and break his neck. (And hopefully that comment won’t turn into more conspiracy fodder.)

    I’ve periodically had this argument about design in other contexts where people tend to invoke pareidolia while minimizing the amount of intention you can reasonably expect artists and production staff to invest in their work. It’s a stage, not a cloud shaped like pirate ship, or bunny rabbit.

    100% certainty? No. Close enough? Yeah, I kinda think so.

  33. Rob Grigjanis says

    nomdeplume @33: Glad I saw that after my workout. Puking on my stationary bike can’t be good for its inner workings. Got any more pithy emetics?

  34. stroppy says

    It’s disturbing the complacency, denial, and normalization of what is happening right under peoples noses. Symbols may be stupid, but they matter never-the-less.

    If I were to design an Easter egg for the Trump cultists, that stage would be a good way to blow them kisses.

  35. kathleenzielinski says

    The more I think about it, the less I like the term “atheist”. It defines me by what I don’t believe rather than what I do believe. I also don’t believe in astrology, palm reading, or weather predictions by groundhogs, but I’m not defined by any of that, and neither do we have special words for those types of disbelief. I prefer to be defined by what I do believe. So, I’m not inclined to call myself an atheist at this point.

  36. Tethys says

    Rob @29

    Sure, but the symbols also have meanings. The Anglo-Saxon ethel can mean ‘homeland.

    Æthel is a royal prefix, common to the Ætheling lineage. Æthelred, Æthelbert. It’s also found in the nickname Attila/Ætla. I’m not sure if it is the same vowel as Othla, which has the long O sound, but is not used as a beginning letter as we use an o.
    It means possessions in elder futhark and the various younger Futharks. As translated by Grimm in the 16 character Anglo-Frisian runic poem. “Lago (L) the light, and Ythal shall all be held”.
    The homeland meaning was invented by the same dude who inspired the Nazis to use runes. He wrote a whole grimoire of magical racist crap back in the 1800s. ( my goggle fu is failing, but his stupid book is beloved by people like the horned tattoo guy in the Capitol riot).

    I have noticed that the shape of Othala is similar to the profile of the legged vegetable storage boxes, grainaries, and chicken coops depicted in early medieval art. I’ve never read any scholars who make that connection explicit, though other runes (F/ cattle,wealth) do have origins as pictograms.

  37. stroppy says

    kathleenzielinski @ 39

    I’m inclined to agree. Sticking an -ism on the end of something is good way to doom it. IMO.

  38. springa73 says

    euclide @9

    I agree – religion or atheism is largely separate from political and social views, as far as I can tell. There is no more reason to expect all atheists to come to similar political and social views than there is to expect all theists to do the same.

    Atheists do have a few interests in common, such as preventing the government and educational system from endorsing religion, but that’s not really enough to found a movement on.

  39. Rob Grigjanis says

    Tethys @41: From my limited readings, there are two different words.

    ēðel, the rune, which I wrote as ‘ethel’. You can see the ‘homeland’ meaning at this site;
    https://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk
    I’ve seen it spelled with either thorn or eth.

    æþele, meaning ‘noble’.

  40. robro says

    consciousness razor @ #34 — “Meanwhile, actually consequential shit is happening in this country and around the world, yet for many it barely registers if it at all.”

    Indeed. The House announced that it will not be in session tomorrow, March 4th, due to credible threats that extremists are planning another attack. March 4th was inauguration day from 1793 to 1933 and they believe that Trump will be inaugurated tomorrow. Given what happened on January 6th, it seems prudent to let the day pass. Probably nothing will happen, but you never know with all the craziness around.

    The Senate is not taking a break.

  41. PaulBC says

    stroppy@36 First off, I am probably wasting too much time thinking about this. I am more inclined to believe it’s intentional the more I look at details (as I said above, the fact that there’s a square drawn inside the main stage just the right size).

    I think if Design Foundry is indeed “liberal” then an intentional troll is more believable than a secret Nazi designer working for them. But nobody is getting fired or taking credit, at least that I know of.

    I am far from 100% that this wasn’t just a coincidence. More like 60/40 but it does raise an eyebrow. I could be persuaded either way. (And no, it doesn’t matter all that much. I am just curious.)

  42. Tethys says

    @Muz

    Guido is indeed one of the theosophists who co-opted the writings of earlier Christian priests with strange ideas about demons and magical rune symbol writing.
    brutenorse has an excellent article on the phenomenon of modern and medieval misuse of the Futharks.

    @Rob
    Elder Futhark is 24 letters. It has thorn/ thuriz, T and D. There is no eth rune, a crossed curly lower case d is the orthography of Christian priests and their alphabet.

    In addition to Grimms law, there is a great deal of vowel shift happening at the same time (600 – 1000) that Christian priests recorded the various younger Futharks.

    Several of the runes are also characters in the pagan mythos. The letter a in futhark stands for the Aesir, Odin’s pantheon. It morphs into Ash and the short armed Ac/oak in later old English.
    There is also the vowel Æ – eiwaz/ yew present in futhark.

  43. says

    You would assume that atheists came to the conclusion that there is no God rationally and logically. To find them mingling and finding common cause with a bunch of far right Christian cultist extremists, conspiracy theorists and sociopaths is deeply illogical.

  44. nomdeplume says

    Gosh @35 @37, you have certainly put me in my place, I acknowledge your vastly superior intellects…

  45. PaulBC says

    nomdeplume@50

    I acknowledge your vastly superior intellects

    If only I could attain such humility, I would finally be perfect.

    FWIW, the idea that atheism is necessary for being a “good person” is load of crap, although like most things I guess it comes down to definitions. Good for what exactly? I am a little reluctant to condemn people by the billions. We’re all flawed, and stated beliefs about the existence of God do little more than scratch the surface.

  46. John Morales says

    garydargan @49:

    You would assume that atheists came to the conclusion that there is no God rationally and logically.

    I wouldn’t. Nor do I.

    re: “Atheism is dead. Atheists killed it.”

    Heh. If atheism is dead, there are no remaining atheists, for if there were, atheism would not be dead.

    I will and always have criticized the atheist movement

    Which is fine, but obviously movement atheism in some locale (the USA, here) is not atheism per se.

    In passing, it’s always bugged me that, in general discourse, atheism is conflated with irreligiosity. And, of course, atheism refers to a lack of theism, so it doesn’t include (say) deism or spiritism or samsara — all of which are every bit as silly.

  47. says

    nomdeplume #50

    Gosh @35 @37, you have certainly put me in my place, I acknowledge your vastly superior intellects…

    You made a statement which could be rendered incorrect by finding one single person who could be shown to have contradicted it. Seems like a pretty good definition of “silly generalisation” to me. And I make no claim to superior intellect, though I do lay claim to a name, and it isn’t “35.”

  48. Tethys says

    De-autocorrecting myself @48

    Daz Muz

    Sorry, I’ve no idea why this device insists on doing odd things to words it doesn’t recognize.

  49. ORigel says

    @16 Republicans are not “conservative” anymore, that’s why. They claim to be, but real conservatives want to preserve the institutions (governmental and otherwise) of their time, not tear them down in the pursuit of power.

    Publicans are reactionaries, fascists, neo-Nazis, and their enablers. The real conservatives (those who haven’t been radicalized) are in the Never-Trumper wing of the GOP (many of them are no longer “conservative” either), and the right wing of the Democrats. MANY Democratic voters identify as “conservative.”

  50. ORigel says

    About my earlier #55: I Googled and Pew Research has “conservative” as 14% of the Democratic Party, a smaller proportion than I thought. However with the American Overton Window where it is, many “moderate” Democrats and Independents are conservative, just as “moderate” Republicans are really reactionaries.

  51. ionopachys says

    To add to the runic discussion, it was originally just a script. The glyph was probably derived from omicron. At some point the letters were given names, common nouns that began with the same sound. Sometimes a single rune might be used as a logograph or syllable, but generally they only represented a single phoneme each. There is little evidence that the names had any mystical significance. ᛟ was named oþala (estate), and “meant” the sound [o]

  52. says

    ORigel @55

    I’d argue that the Republicans are absolutely still “real” conservatives. The institutions they want to preserve (and always have) are 1: White Supremacy, 2: Capitalism, and 3: the existing distribution of wealth and power (which is basically the first two). They’ve historically cared about other institutions exactly to the extent that they enforce the first two.

  53. KG says

    Atheists do have a few interests in common, such as preventing the government and educational system from endorsing religion, but that’s not really enough to found a movement on.

    There have been, and presumably still are, atheists who consider that a state-sponsored religion is beneficial, e.g. for “national unity”, to keep the plebs in line “morally”, or to maintain a level of gullibility they personally find useful.

    As for the CPAC “Nazi rune”, I’m unconvinced. If it was deliberate on CPAC’s part, why? Surely Nazis know by this time that they are welcome in the “Conservative” movement, but it could put off others. If it’s trolling, wouldn’t the troll have been boasting about it by now?

  54. ORigel says

    @61 The Nazis long for the days when they can openly express their views without becoming a social pariah. The odal rune was a test for which they have plausible deniability. As these stunts succeed, they’ll become emboldened and more-overtly Nazi.

  55. publicola says

    We all know what CPAC and their members are about, and even if the design of the stage was accidental, it may as well have been deliberate given who they are, thus making the question moot.

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