Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Freedom from religion foundation reacts to rallies for religious freedom

The article itself is funny, in a sort of warped early 20th century central European propaganda leaflet sort of way.  But the comments, that's where the gems are.  The premise of this, like so many modern atheist organizations, is that religion is entirely evil, stupid, against learning, and the primary cause of suffering in the world.  If we take good old commenter Ulrich at his word, it's those Bible thumpers who routinely resort to violence.  Just what violence I'm not sure, but it must happen daily since it's a common response on atheist blogs.

Now, it's tempting to try to point to the Communist regimes of the 20th century, those which suppressed and oppressed religion and sought a culture devoid of religious influence, for proof that such a viewpoint is devoid of reality at best.  But like most things, atheists - shockingly - have answers for that: the Communists treated their Communism like religion; the leaders wanted to be worshipped as gods (making it a religion I guess); the Communist states, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary, were actually quite friendly toward religion; the various leaders like Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot were actually devout worshippers of their respective cultural religions and that's why they were so evil. 

This is the post-modern age after all.  We don't go look for facts, we go looking for ammunition.  Any pre-post-modern take on the recent history of the world would show that religion has had little impact over the last 100 years.  The last century was really one in which modern, non-religious philosophies and movements vied for the loyalty and submission of the people in various nations who might otherwise have been led to resist, sometimes because of traditional religious values.  In some cases, such as the concept of nationalism, the forces had absolutely nothing to do with religion and were often seen as alternatives to a religiously structured culture.

But, again, this would require objectivity, real scholarship, and a desire for truth, rather than winning.  As with any propaganda, the FFRF does not seek to enlightened, but it seeks to empower.  It uses the basic building blocks of propaganda for this purpose: You are the true master race, while at the same time being the hapless victim, and it is those people - THOSE PEOPLE - who are the villains, their culture, race, religion, philosophy, whatever.  Such an approach doesn't seek to sit down and say, 'let us reason together.'  It seeks to paint the opposition in the starkest contrasts possible.

Not that people of religious faith are immune to this type of thinking.  When watching your cherished liberties and freedoms being assaulted with overwhelming glee, and seeing that many of the major institutions of your society are aligned against you, it's easy to begin firing back with the same broad brushstrokes.  I know I've caught myself falling into that 'all atheists are...' trap. 

Fact is, most atheists probably aren't.  Most probably just want a nation where they can be atheists without being put upon with the government's consent.  That's fair enough.  Most atheists are probably like most religious people - good folks just trying to pay bills, raise kids, and keep the lawn mowed.  The problem is, while people of faith have been so conditioned to see the terrors of their own faith's history, and therefore are often quick to jump on others of the same faith who we feel are acting in ways inconsistent with the Gospel (there is an entire branch of ministry, I think, that deals with attacking fellow Christians who aren't as good as I am in defending the faith), far too many atheists seem unwilling to call such farcical groups as FFRF on the carpet.

That leads me to one of two conclusions.  Either they simply can't see what's obvious, which means they are no help in defending my liberties against those who would threaten them.  Or secretly, way down inside, they are, in fact, hoping that the FFRF and other such organizations actually accomplish what they clearly wish to achieve.  And neither option does any good, at least IMHO.


  1. Well, the article you cited is still right in the way that christians there are exaggerating. Contraception doesn't kill and I doubt that apart fromo some hormonal imbalance, the pill doesn't cause cancer, at the very least it causes it only when you take it too much, like in every day too much. Atheists are right in the way that christians many times behave in a foolish way and want to impose their moral norm on everyone else.

  2. After almost 50 years in this country, I've come to realize that Christians don't hold a monopoly when it comes to wanting to impose moral norms on people. Just look at the modern gay rights movement.

    As for exaggerating, sure some can. But see my more recent posts. Some evidence has come out that suggests the constant artificial manipulating of women's bodies may not be that good after all. If it's an exaggeration to say contraceptives kill, I've always felt it was no less of an exaggeration to say 'nothing could possibly go wrong here' just the same.


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