Jennifer LeClaire is a news editor at Charisma, a “Christian” magazine with a “Christian Agenda” … can I say that, or have they already trademarked the word “agenda” when used in scare quotes?
Anyway, she has written an article about the “Athiest Agenda” that perhaps warrants a few comments. It is positively drenched in hostility and paranoia of the kind that only belief can drum up, so I thought I’d pull out a few passing gems for you and comment on them.
She starts out with …
Anything the gay agenda can do, the atheists can do better. That seems to be the unbeliever’s mantra for 2013 as godless radicals rise up not only for recognition—and not only to tear down all things Christian in the public square—but to actually woo born-again Bible believers to the dark side.
“gay agenda” … “unbelievers mantra” … “godless radicals rise up” …. this is dripping with contempt and also reveals an utter terror of people with a different sexual orientation and also a revulsion for people who do not happen to believe exactly what she believes.
Claim: “tear down all things Christian in the public square” … except there is no such radical uprising taking place, nor is anybody seeking to actually do this. What is true is that beliefs should not be permitted any special privilege, but that is not at all the same as “tearing down all things Christian”, it is instead all about adhering to the constitution, which rather oddly she will support when it comes to other beliefs, but oppose when it concerns her belief
Claim: “woo born-again Bible believers to the dark side” … would that be “woo” as in discuss in a friendly manner using logic and reason, and “dark side” as in reality.
Consider Peter Boghossian, a philosophy instructor and author of a hot new book dubbed A Manual for Creating Atheists. Yes, it’s actually a book that aims to equip nonbelievers with the skills they need to talk believers into willfully turning their back on Christ.
Oh … nice tip, I should send her a note of thanks for pointing this out for me. A book that helps people to use logic and reason to debunk daft religious claims that don’t have a jot of evidence sounds like a fine read. Additionally, if indeed a belief cannot withstand logic and reason, then is it really worth embracing such a delusional fantasy?
She then inserts a quote from the book she mentions above and follows that up with a rebuttal that is just a bible text.
[Time to face-palm].
Meanwhile, there are bona fide atheist megachurches springing up across the U.S
… except for the rather inconvenient fact that the Sunday Assemblys are not “Mega-churches”, or for that matter, not even “churches” at all, just a few folks getting together under the motto of : live better, help often, wonder more.
And apparently we are supposed to “believe” that this is all evidence for a claim that …
the radical atheist agenda is about destruction
… and this is then followed by even more “evidence” that is essentially another bible quote.
[Yes, it is time to face-palm once again].
Next comes a really choice bit of paranoia …
… infiltrating the church to plant seeds of doubt. …An unbeliever I call “Wolf” … plans to integrate with a friend into a “highly conservative religious community without informing the community that [they] are skeptics,”
Wow, a couple of people who dare to “doubt” plan to knock a bit of sense into a few folks by joining their community so that they can then debate on a personal level … oh the horror. This of course is not “evidence” of any grand conspiracy, but instead reeks of an almost McCarthy era type of paranoia. The reality is that most non-believers are quite happy to let believers get on with whatever they wish and leave them to it, but occasionally you will find some non-believers who do engage directly with believers because they get a bit fed up with both the relentless and vigorous promotion of daft religious claims and also the constant attempts to impose and inflict silly religious beliefs upon others.
She them proceeds to rabbit some utterly daft nonsense about how the “gay agenda can convince Christian leaders to pervert the gospel” … so obviously non-believers will cause believers to doubt.
Er, would that “pervert the gospel” be in fact a reference to the fact that they have simply come to appreciate that being a homophobic bigot is not actually ethical or moral, and so have abandoned that stance, and so she actually tries to use this observation of something good as a means to fan the flames of fear to ensure that believers are not tempted into doubting!! … no this is not making any sense to me either.
We then get more bible verses as further “evidence” and she finally finishes off by encouraging people to not let little things like facts or reality cause doubt to take root. Well OK, not her exact turn of phrase, she used religious speak, but that is essentially what she was saying.
So there you have it then, an article positively drenched in both hostility and paranoia that is directed specifically at those who are gay, those who do not believe, and those that are humanists.
People believe what they believe which is fine, but if that belief has no evidence and cannot withstand fact-based criticism, then doubt is actually the only viable rational stance to adopt.
Generally beliefs tell us a great deal about where the believer was born and also the community that the believer grew up in, but do not actually tell us anything at all about reality. And as for her drumming up fear and loathing for any form of rational thinking, well that rather sadly leaves her in a position that is perhaps akin to an attempt to build a sandcastle against the advancing tide.