Thursday, December 14, 2006

Atheists vs. Liberals

Heave an egg outside a Pullman window anywhere in the United States today, and you will probably hit an atheist. In fact, I hope you do. There is a new prominence of what I term, drawing on my theological training, Mean Atheism. I refer to such writers as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, who are taking the old Village Atheist tradition to the ... well, to the global village. Yeah, that's it: the Global Village Atheists.

For orthodox Christians, it's all rather tiring. Didn't we just get done arguing down The DaVinci Code and guaranteeing that the movie would be the lamest and least successful Tom Hanks vehicle since Bonfire of the Vanities? We buried that sucka! Yeah! But now *sigh* there's a new shipment of nitwits that are just begging for the old double-barrel rational refutation treatment. It's exhausting. Can't we get a break?

You know what I say? I say, Let the liberals handle it this time. We orthodox folks are going to take some time off, and we'd really like some of the usual left-wing religious suspects to take this on for us. How about Katherine Jefferts-Schori, new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church? How about it, Kathy, you up for a fight? Why don't you take on Sam Harris? How about you, John Shelby Spong? Marcus Borg? Elaine Pagels? Dom Crossan, why don't you get in the ring with Richard Dawkins? Or John Hick: yes, you. Right now, start refuting. You do think there's something to all this existence of God business, don't you? Well, do us all a favor and crush some of these guys, or at least soften 'em up until the rest of us get back from Christmas vacation? Huh? Whaddya say?

No response? I thought so. Wimps.


Q. Pheevr said...

Good luck finding a Pullman car, though. Or maybe not, since I'm an atheist and would just as soon not be egged, thanks. (I'm not, however, the sort of atheist who insists that theists are deluded; you can save your eggs for them.)

elf said...

Today's public discourse is generally pretty mean. I don't think we can lay the blame on any one group -- liberals, conservatives, atheists, or believers. For what it's worth, though, when I turn on the TV, I hear a lot more loud, obnoxious Christianists than loud, obnoxious atheists. Maybe that's because I'm in the U.S. At any rate, I think that if things quieted down a bit on the Christianist front, the liberal religious would have more time for atheist-bashing.

EMC said...

Gosh, can't a guy kid around any more? Must be my own deficient communication skills. It's a joke. I'm ragging on my own co-religionists (for pugnaciousness), on atheists, at least the ones I named (for being mean), and on the religious left (for acting as if they've above it all). It's equal opportunity sarcasm.

"Christianist"? Never heard that one. What's it mean?

elf said...

Pardon me. You are certainly entitled to kid around, even if some of us can't always take a joke.

"Christianist" is supposed to refer to those who believe that Christianity should have a central role in the public sphere. Those who use the term generally assert that it doesn't imply a value judgement, but it probably does, since it's derived from "Islamist."

James said...

I almost became an Episcopalian monk, until it sank in that a sincere belief in God was a bona fide occupational qualification. I've known several religious, a few unfortunate Jesuits in particular, who had either lost that faith or had never had it, and their lives really appeared to me as a curious onlooker, to suck. So I dropped out before making a mistake that huge. Now I say, if anyone asks my religious preference, that "I was raised as a nihilist, but now I'm a former Episcopalian." I love being able to say that, especially for the fact that it's literally true. Hanging out at my wife's ultra-liberal parish in Oak Park Illinois, with the out lesbian pastor, almost made me want to re-join in earnest, however. According to them, no particular belief in anything was required for mere membership in the club. Truly, however I would not recommend staking one's life on a commitment as all-encompassing as full membership in a religious order without it.

Uzi Silber said...

Just found your blog -- I knew the landscape. just finished reading a debate between Harris and Dennis Prager. The former was impressive beginning combatively, softening up by the end. I dont think Prager did particularly well. Check it out on