Friday, April 06, 2007

Two articles about atheists

The first is by Charles Moore in the The Telegraph, and follows a bit on the post immediately below. He detects that same air of superiority in the most prominent atheists speaking out today, "the voices of a university high table - and almost invariably male voices at that - proving something to their own satisfaction while other people cook the lunch." It's an odd fact that while individual atheists can be great people, generous and understanding and accepting of people with differing views, their most prominent spokesmen are often strident and sneering.

By contrast, this article in our local paper impressed me very much. The writer is himself an atheist, but he's the kind of guy I would enjoy having a talk with. He's not inflated with a sense of his own cleverness in "seeing through" what has bamboozled the majority of people.
At the little gift counter there, you can buy yourself a Darwin fish. The Darwin fish looks just like the Christian fish, except that it's got legs -- a fish evolving into an amphibian.

But Christians don't display a fish in support of creationism (something most educated Christians don't believe in anyway; they know that life evolved from simpler forms, thank you very much). Rather, they're declaring their adherence to a moral code: Blessed are the peacemakers; if someone strikes you on the right cheek, offer them your left; forgive and forget. Responding to that with a smug joke about evolution not only misses what the Christians are saying, but it makes the atheists look mean-spirited....No, what they're really saying is, "If you want time and space devoted to something that's important to you, then I should be given equal time and space to ridicule that thing."
I agree with him. Too many "public" atheists seem to be perpetually crouched to spring at something - they're tense, hostile, and angry. They seem as anguished at the possibility of letting a believer escape unmauled as an Inquisitor would be at seeing a heretic slip his chains and scamper off to lure more souls to perdition.

The article has a slightly disappointing ending, but you must take into account that expressing scorn for George Bush might just be a deeply engrained Canadian prejudice, and have nothing to do with atheism at all. I just think that atheists would be better off themselves if they could relax a bit and think like this guy, and it would be a lot pleasanter for believers when encontering them, too.


Anonymous tacoma said...

Does it seem to anyone else that some of the loudest and angriest atheists aren’t really atheists at all, just people who are very angry at God or the church they were raised in...not all, but enough to be noticeable.

3:44 pm  
Blogger Ellie M said...

I don't believe in atheists.

11:49 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

tacoma - I'll agree with you, that there does seem to be something going on under the surface with very angry atheists. Someone like Christopher Hitchens is SO wound up and emotional when it comes to religion, I do get the feeling that there is some inner battle going on. As the character of George MacDonald said in "The Great Divorce", 'I have seen that sort saved, when those you would have thought less damned have turned back.'

10:27 pm  

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