Bob Kellemen of RPM Ministries has blogged an article over at everyday christian living that is a good encapsulation of the numerous myths surrounding non-belief, so lets take a look.
[Note to Bob … I dropped a link to this into your blog, so do feel free to reply in the comments section below]
He starts out with references to earlier articles.
- One in which he asserted that non-belief is actually a response to life letting us down and also the thought that we (the non-believers) perceive god to be unfair and so have rejected him.
- The other asserts that we don’t want to live for others, only ourselves, and so that is apparently why we choose to reject Jesus.
What he totally fails to grasp is that non-belief is not a rejection for emotional reasons of a real supernatural entity, but rather it is the default position … the null hypothesis. There has been a complete lack of empirical objective evidence to verify even one single supernatural Christian claim, or for that matter non-Christian claim, and until that changes there is no reason to embrace a fantasy as fact.
Anyway, in his latest article, he identifies what he calls “Five Hallmarks of The Fundamentalist Atheists”, so we shall now take a quick peek at each and see what we have … here is the first …
Hallmark # 1: Angry
When I read the fundamentalist atheists, I detect that they are angrier than the Christians they accuse of being angry … I wonder if it has something to do with their suppressed rage against the God they say does not exist …
No Bob, folks get upset when faced with outrageous claims, when told that they are wicked, evil and doomed unless they embrace a specific superstitious belief, when initial attempts to inquire about rational evidence fails to produce anything, and when logical arguments are dismissed, and even when debunked over and over, the same tired old arguments are trotted out again and again.
Hallmark # 2: Anti-Intellectualism
When I read the fundamentalist atheists, I detect that they are more anti-intellectual than the Christians they accuse of being anti-intellectual. In personal conversation I’ll sometimes ask, “What books by thinking, loving Christians have you read in the last year? The last decade?” Almost universally the answer is, “None!” …
… Could this be caused, in part, by fear of being swayed by the other perspective? …
… Another aspect of this anti-intellectualism is “cherry picking.” That is, in a discussion they will describe one extreme negative example from the life of a Christian and stereotype that as indicative of the Christian norm. …
There are two distinct points to address here, so lets look at each in turn.
First, we are apparently “anti-intellectual” because we don’t sup their cool aid due to our inherent fear of being swayed. Nope, non-believers tend not to sup nonsense because they have better things to read. I personally tend not to read a lot of stuff … I don’t read religious texts … true, but I also do not read books on astrology, water dowsing, or for that matter stamp collecting or knitting. I have no interest, nor would I learn anything. Most Atheists tend to also be skeptics and hence are always interested in a wide range of topics and quite happy to change their minds where presented with new information. In stark contract, it has been my experience that many believers are quite close-minded, and when presented with evidence that refutes a belief, they discard the evidence and retain the belief. Examples abound, but the primary illustration is the rejection of evolution which is perhaps one of the most established facts in modern science and embraced as reality by 99.9% of life-science scientists … yet rejected by many religious people. In other words, when it comes to “anti-intellectual”, look in the mirror.
Now, on to his other point … “cherry picking.. Sure, folks will indeed pick out some of the truly outrageous stuff for mockery and criticism, but that does not in any way exclude any who assert supernatural claims without any evidence at all – that is the Christian norm. Christianity is not criticized and rejected because of some extremes, that just illustrates where delusional belief can take you. Instead it is rejected due to the complete lack of evidence for any and all supernatural claims.
Hallmark # 3: Unloving
When I read the fundamentalist atheists, I detect that they are less loving than the Christians they accuse of being unloving …
And yet, statistically, Christians give far more to charitable causes than non-Christians. They give far more time to charitable work. The fundamentalist atheist expends more energy railing against Christians than sacrificially giving to others—like Christ lived His life.
Need I point out the obvious … these “loving” Christians label normal decent humans as immoral and wicked on the basis that they are gay. There is open discrimination against non-believers, and the desire to impose irrational beliefs upon others. Folks should of course be free to believe in whatever they wish, but they cross the line when they attempt to impose their beliefs upon others. Public prayer, religious beliefs masquerading as science and the numerous attempts to impose it, on and on, its a long list.
As for the statistics on giving, that very much depends upon how you define charity. Many religious organizations would come in scope, but should not be counted. The reality is that as individuals, non-believers are just as giving and just as loving as believers, if not more so.
Hallmark # 4: Judgmentalism
When I read the fundamentalist atheists, I detect that they are more judgmental than the Christians they accuse of being judgmental. When they hold a view with passionate conviction they call it “social justice.” When a Christian holds a view with passionate conviction they call it “arrogant condemnation” or “hateful intolerance.”
This conveys the typical post-modernist perspective that the only approved moral position is amorality. They fail to acknowledge that their refusal to allow others to hold a moral view other than their own view is itself intolerant.
John Dickson has an excellent definition of humility: holding power in the service of others. Why wouldn’t the Christian who stands up for pro-life views be seen as compassionately and humbly holding power in the service of the most powerless—the unborn? Instead, in the supposed name of an accepting and cooperative society, the only acceptable cooperation is blind allegiance to an atheistic worldview.
This is of course to a reference to topics such as gay rights and also pro-choice views. Morality, secular morality, is far superior and far more tolerant than religious morality. Deploying religious texts is no basis for making decent moral choices, only logic and reason is.
For example, many (not all) believers are anti-gay on the basis that the bible says so and have no other logical reason or justification for that stance. That is not an alternative morality that needs to be respected. Instead it is an utterly irrational position that only warrants mockery and derision for the considerable harm it does.
Incidentally, there is no such thing as the “atheistic worldview”. Atheism is the rejection of claims regarding supernatural entities … that’s all, nothing more. Discussions and views regarding morality have other sources such as secular humanism. Once you discard the irrational and all the dubious morality it brings with it, folks naturally fall back upon more rational approaches.
Hallmark # 5: Weakness
Fundamentalist atheists often accuse Christians of being “weak” because “they have to place their faith in a Supreme Being.” Is faith weak? Is it weak to engage in “creative suffering” that provides healing hope that leads not only to surviving, but also to thriving? It is weak to engage in “creative suffering” that not only produces meaning in seeming meaningless suffering, but prompts and promotes sacrificial living for others?
“Weak” is not a word I’ve ever deployed, nor and I aware of anybody who makes this assertion. What I would advocate is a rational basis for determining what is true and what is not. Is there something beyond the rational? Yep there sure is, its the irrational.
So that’s it then … have we learned something new? Perhaps yes, we can see that (some) believers truly do not comprehend non-belief and cannot grasp that we are not simply angry at their god, but that we dismiss their supernatural claims as a fantasy in precisely the same manner that they would dismiss a claim that magic pink invisible unicorns are real – there is not a single jot of credible evidence.
Oh, and before anybody comments … yes the unicorns are indeed pink and invisible at the same time. They can maintain that special status because they are also magic. (see, I can deploy religious logic as well).