Monday, August 11, 2008

Is being an evangelical atheist a bad thing?

Many outspoken atheists, like Richard Dawkins, are accused of being evangelical and militant in the way they crusade against irrational and dangerous spiritual beliefs. In the New Statesmen, Carl Packman says of Dawkins:

Richard Dawkins is at it again - trying to wean the non-converted away from religion this time in his examination of The Genius of Charles Darwin, on Channel 4.


Dawkins, in choosing a form of firebrand fundamentalist atheism over the discipline science, is no longer the champion of reason but rather a kind of evangelical against religion.


One obvious problem for Dawkins is that he battles to hold two rather inharmonious positions; at once he is the scientist - disciplined in observation and objectivity. But also he is the emotionally charged evangelical atheist.”

In my opinion, Dawkins and others, in order to be a champion of reason, must speak out fervently against religious and spiritual superstitions that threaten science education and scientific research.

“Since the release of his bestseller, Dawkins has been unable to separate the two positions. Gone are the days of the professor dissecting halibut in front of an audience of pre-teens divided into those who are averting their squeamish gazes and those who can’t for the life of them turn away. Now, even in his scientific capacity, Dawkins is belligerent.”

When religious figures speak out against non-believers and talk about how we all need a god in our lives, they are considered to be “passionate” and only wanting what they feel is the best for humankind, but when an atheist does the same thing, only “preaching” against religious superstition and oppression that threatens science, reason and freethinking they are accused of being “belligerent.” The religious folks just want us to be quiet, subdued and to not bring up things that might lead members of their flock to shed their delusional god beliefs.

Packman goes on to say:

It’s quite clear that what the New Atheists are doing is lumping all the religious together in one bundle, just like the religious fundamentalists would do to atheists.


In the fight against religious fundamentalism, atheists need to embrace the moderate religious community; they may well find they have more in common than they’d care to admit.

The “New Atheists” are lumping all the religious together in one bundle because all religious beliefs, whether one is a moderate god believer, or a radical god believer, no matter what their interpretation or individual church doctrine, they all still believe in the same god and Bible. If they choose to lump all atheists together, then that is fine with me because we all are the same in that we believe there is no evidence for the existence of god and while we are individuals in the way we choose to express or not express our atheism, we atheists are united in disbelief.

While atheists and the moderately religious may have everyday things in common, when it comes to superstitious sky daddy beliefs, we absolutely do not. While we may be able to “tolerate” each other, no matter how moderate the Christian, according to their beliefs we are to be pitied for not obtaining the imaginary heavenly rewards upon our deaths. And no matter how much they may “tolerate” us, we are judged in life according to their own set of religious standards and religious morals.

As for “embracing the moderate religious community”, I think Packman and others don’t realize just how dangerous the moderate religious are. The problems, as Dawkins see it is that “religious moderates make the world safe for fundamentalists, by promoting faith as a virtue and by enforcing an overly pious respect for religion.”

About being accused of being an “atheist fundamentalist” according to Wikipedia, “Dawkins rejects this label, saying that fundamentalism implies a belief system that is impervious to change, while his atheism is based on the scientific method of reasoning. He says that if new scientific evidence were found that disproved evolution, then he would willingly give up his belief in evolution and natural selection, whilst a genuine fundamentalist would remain firm in his/her belief no matter how much opposing evidence came to light.”


Cole said...

Hey Star! I just wanted to tell you I won a silver and a bronz trophy for my poem Betrayed. This is the last time I do this because I don't want to keep bothering you with it because it's off topic and everything but I really like this poem. It captures the insanity of God.


Betrayed by the picking of the fruit
In anger I beat my fist
To satisfy my anger and thirst
Now I must bleed your wrist

Let the blood flow and run like water
Until your soul runs dry
I want to feel you scream in pain
And rejoice as I hear you cry

To assauge my wrath and release my pain
Crimson blood is what I need
I get my pleasure out of watching you die
And hear you suffer and bleed

For I am the holy and righteous One
There's no one else besides me
That's what happens when I am betrayed
And you pick from the forbidden tree.

Stardust said...

cole, that's great! Congratulations!

Don't worry about being off-topic. I don't get enough commenters here for it to matter. Great poem. It really does capture the evilness of the god of Abraham. And what I got out of it is a vision of Jesus on a cross, bloody when this god, if real and all powerful, could have found a much more peaceful and kind way. Christians will retort that there was no other way but how do they know? Their god has never tried it. It's only via "tests" torture, baby sacrifice, and killing. Then the ultimate killing of himself/Jesus whatever. It's a bloody religion and I don't know how I could have stayed believing in that and later trying to hold on to such a violent religious belief.

keep it up! You can compile all of these into a book.