Saturday, May 26, 2012

You've got to love atheists

So I've been hanging out at a few atheist blogs to see how the other half lives.  It's not pretty.  More on that later.  I have some comments to get back to and address, and I have some cleaning up to do regarding the whole chilling experience.  But in the process, I have to say, atheism is all its cracked up to be.  Are more people losing their religion today?  Sure, skepticism and secularism are the default positions of choice in our popular culture, our education system, and because of pressure, in most major workplaces.  Our courts have helped that trend. 

Another big sell is that most atheism promotes hedonistic narcissism at its finest.  Several of the blogs I've read enjoy boasting that more and more, young people are abandoning their religious faith.  That's not hard to imagine, since most atheist blogs promote their lower moral denominators as one of the benefits of an atheistic lifestyle.  Tell young kids that if you abandon belief in God, and you can have endless amounts of video games, candy, pizza, and never do any chores or homework, and you won't have a hard time with mass conversions.

Still, every now and then, you get an atheist blog post that attempts to raise the bar somewhat.  Over at the ironically title 'Friendly Atheist', after days and days ridiculing religion and pining for a day when religious belief is shoved in the closet (or in the ghettos or catacombs), one of the contributors jumps on the bandwagon and does the decent thing - condemning Hustler magazine for the flagrantly sexist attack on conservative (and that's atheist conservative) commentator S.E. Cupp.  Of course, like most things done by Flint, it represents the odious levels of human swill to which a world devoid of morals can sink.  In most cases, Left and Right, this has been condemned.  Because it is so flagrantly sexist, even the most radical feminist of groups have condemned it. 

And yet, read the comments.  I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  When you teach that all life is biological, and everything else is an illusion we invent to make sense of the process of passing on our DNA, don't expect much in the realm of common decency.  Even when the most tepid response is given from the atheist blog ('come on guys, you have to admit, there is something 'ick' about the whole thing'), the commenters will have none of it.  I love it.  I also, because of my common sense and experience as a former agnostic and as one who sees what has and hasn't changed in the world of non-religious thought, fear it.


  1. Read Colossians out loud, it banishes fear and it's only four pages long, so it won't take much time.

    In fact if you do it regularly, you'll be memorising it, in no time!!

    God bless.

    Don't forget to pray for the atheists as well as pointing out their defects! (I'm sure you do anyway)

  2. You can't go wrong with Colossians! Though fear can be placed on several levels. I don't fear for the long run, but knowing this is the world my boys will get, there is that level. Like Billy Graham was fond of saying, he's not afraid of going to heaven, but he doesn't want to get there from an airplane.

    Oh, and I do pray for atheists, if nothing else, out of pity.

  3. Dave,

    It sounds like you've just been hanging out on the wrong blogs. If you want to engage with civil atheists and skeptics, I recommend Stephen Law's blog or Tom Cantine's blog. Of course you could also try my blog. And although I only took a brief look at the posts (not the comments), I didn't see anything rude on the friendly atheist blog which you yourself cited.

    But anyway, it's not true that atheism offers a lower moral bar than theism. It's just that atheists don't think God is telling them what they have to do, and so whatever moral bar they set for themselves has to be based on something other than ancient and medieval theology. I certainly don't see any atheists going around "tell[ing] young kids that if you abandon belief in God [then] you can have endless amounts of video games, candy, pizza," etc. That would just be silly.

    Rather, the key reason why so many people are attracted to atheism is that religious doctrines are invariable incoherent or unreasonable. This alerts people to the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of God. Once they realize that fact, then they're at atheism's door.


  4. Greetings Ben!

    I'll stop by your blog and try the others. Mark Shea has already pointed to Leah Libresco's blog, which is a nice place to hear folks reflecting on a host of topics.

    As a former agnostic, I know not *all* atheists promote such views. Sadly, as is so common in today's discourse, those that do have the microphones. And beyond that, the atheist blogs I've visited promote nothing else: abortion, sex of all sorts, yeah some drugs, and who cares (caring being the domain of religion apparently). I won't even mention what has been said to me, and about me, my wife, my kids, you name it.

    But I'm sure some are out there, and I'll be happy to stop by your blog and those you mention. Thanks for the heads up, and have a nice weekend.

    P.S. We can go over the notion of morality with and without God down the road.

  5. Hm, so atheism is sucking people in by telling them they get to do whatever they want and abandon all the old rules.

    Kind of rings a bell...some religion I remember told people they could stop following those old stuffy 600+ rules and just feel the love. Yeah.

    I wonder why this idea of atheists all being immoral, self-indulgent "sinners" has so much traction with Xians. It's simply not true. Look up the stats on marriage, divorce and prison population. Speaking for myself, I've been in one monogamous heterosexual relationship for close to 15 years. And my son is strictly limited on video games and forced to do chores regularly. I will admit to an occasional pizza but this hardly seems like hedonistic narcissism.

    I'd also have to take exception to your notion that secularism is the default in our culture. The overwhelming majority of Americans profess to some kind of religious belief. The government, and by extension, the education system, is supposed to be secular. And it's not nearly as religion-free as it should be.

  6. It has so much traction because, for good or ill, most atheists who have the attention of our popular culture go out of their way to promote open attitudes toward free sex, abortion rights, legalized drugs, and just about anything else associated with the type of living most hormonally driven teenagers yearn for (even if, in reality, many would rather have more dignity). I'm sure not all atheists do so, but as is so common in our modern debate, the ones who do have the press time.

  7. First, I have to take exception to your premise that sex, abortion rights and legalized drugs are necessarily bad, either for the individual or for society. Legalizing drugs, for example, would permit us to treat this problem as a health issue rather than a criminal problem.

    Second, I don't agree that most of the people who are promoting these things are actually atheists. While most atheists would probably say there is nothing wrong with free sex etc., I would guess that many "promoters" are actually believers in a "Higher Power" of one kind or another. In this category, you would find many liberal Xians as well as deists, pantheists, pagans, and New Agers.

  8. Second thing first. I'm sure there are atheists all over the place when it comes to these and other issues. But on the whole, those who identify as not religious tend to be pretty liberal about such things as sex, drugs, and similar topics. That's not to say other religious and spiritual beliefs don't. But in my visiting with atheist blogs (and being a former agnostic myself), I can't help but notice that the overall trend is one of 'free sex, drugs, and self focus.'

    As for sex. There's nothing at all wrong with sex. Nor is there anything wrong with eating. Or drinking. Or watching football. But they can all be abused. It is the terror and horror of the sexual revolution that stands guilty as charged when we start to look at the results of the ideal of 'just take off your clothes, take drugs and have sex, what could possibly go wrong?' Now if you're my age, you know the premise behind the whole sexual freedom movement has shifted. After all, we have to cover it with fanciful tales and notions of safe sex when in the old days it was all about free sex without all those silly rules. But 30 million AIDS victims later, it was decided things needed to change.

    Same with drugs. Legalize them if we must, and some of the crime will go away. But addiction and ODinig will happen much more. I'm not saying that we shouldn't reexamine our policies, but just opening up the door to legal drugs is a lot like basing our sexual ethics on the lie of safe sex: you know someone is going to be a statistic, but you instinctively are fine with that as long as it's not you or someone you love. And that's a self-centered world view that is ultimately incompatible with the world view centered on a Higher Being, at least as revealed through the historic Christian faith.


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