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Jul. 26 2010 - 1:36 pm | 432 views | 0 recommendations | 31 comments

The Atheists are Doing it Wrong

Cults and new religious movements in literatur...

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After having just watched HBO’s Friends of God last night, and recently reading Atheists  using blow dryers to de-baptize themselves, I’ve come to the conclusion that Atheists are doing it wrong.   On religious home-schooling:

“They are practicing child abuse in teaching that the world operates in ways other than it does,” he told the convention crowd. “And in my opinion, they are engaged in terrorism by weakening our nation and our understanding of science and things with which we can defend ourselves and progress. If it had not been for these fools we could have been at the stars 2,000 years ago.”

-Atheists use Blow-Dryers to De-Baptize

While everyone has the right to use hot button key words like “child abuse”,  ”terrorism”, or even “science”, these words cause religious folk to foam at the mouth, and when that happens, you know no healthy debate will take place. We live in a time when everyone is fearful and quick to hate.

I wrote in my “How to Talk to your Gaming Significant Other“, if someone is already in a hyped up aggressive state (Religion regarding Atheism), you shouldn’t approach that hyped-up person with more aggression. Kagin has every right to poke fun at religion, and has every right to use satire to make a point, but in this instance, maybe taking a less aggressive stance might do more good. What would this less aggressive stance be?

Advocating more religious education.

If the fundamentalist Christians are pushing for Creationism to be taught in public schools  (despite it violating the First Amendment), then the Atheists should be willing to compromise by pushing for more faith based studies – because, how can religious folk say no to more religious education?

If teaching a science-based view of the creation of the world is too difficult to get public support for,  getting public support for a World Religion class should be a cinch. The class can begin with a bible studies unit, which should please the religious. Children should learn  the New Testament was written at least 50 years after Christ, with some books coming hundreds of years after Christ. The canonization process of the Bible should be discussed, and this would be a good time to discuss all the stories of Jesus the church removed because they did not like them (for example: Jesus as a child making clay figurines and breathing them to life – the church thought this made Jesus look like a loner. In fact, all of the stories of Jesus as a child were removed, save one).

The Epic of Gilgamesh should be taught, particularly the Gilgamesh flood myth,  for its similarities with the Noah flood myth in the bible. It should be noted that Judo- Islam-Christianity (or as I like to call them, “the desert religions” created by men for men) has spread quickly due to its violent nature. Once the bible unit is complete, Judaism and Islam should be mentioned, but do not meet the requirements of  another religious viewpoint because they share the same god. Buddhism and Hinduism should be mentioned, as should all ancient religions like the Greek and Roman religions.

While I realize global religious studies are required in some universities,  a world religious class should be given as an alternative  to an evolution class. Religious students should have the right to choose between a global religious studies class or a class on evolution.

If getting a Global Religious Studies class is too complicated to accomplish, then inside the history unit, there should be a religious component. When students study the Greek, Roman and Egyptian empires (later the Frank and Nordic Empires), there should be a religious component. When students learn about the colonization of South America, they should learn about the Mayans, Incan, etc. When students learn about the great silk road through China, they should learn about Confucius. When students are taught about Christopher Columbus and Plymouth Rock, there should be a unit on the Native American religion.

Atheists will not be able to dispel the notion of God from our collective minds for a long long time (Religion has dominated human minds for thousands of years) – so Atheists should instead be pushing for more tolerance of various different viewpoints, of various different religions. Because that is the real problem Athiests have with the Religious. The religious fundamentals lack critical thinking skills, are narrow minded, possess various prejudices in spades, don’t care about love or this planet, and cannot even defend why they are part of the faith they are in – its like they are indoctrinated, much like a cult.

Hopefully teaching the religious about other religions will make them a more tolerant people, a people who can defend their own religion, and are more like that Jesus fellow they admire so much.

Edit: A TED video featuring Dan Dennett has come to my attention.  Philosopher Dennett advocates a similar educational initiative, without my facetiousness and New York City rudeness.


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  1. collapse expand

    Oh please. _Some_ atheists may be doing it wrong, but I guarantee you don’t have any idea how many atheists are doing what you think they are doing. Most likely it is a small fraction, but I have no idea either. The difference between me and you is, I’m not making a blanket statement based on my ignorance as if it were the gospel truth.

  2. collapse expand

    To be fair, an atheist saying “you know, I’ve considered the evidence, and I find your case for the existence of God to be insufficient, if you don’t mind me saying so” also causes the religious to foam at the mouth.

    Atheists stepping delicately around the sensitive dispositions of the religiously deluded is what got us to where we are today – a world wracked by open religious conflict. Maybe it’s actually time for a little directness.

  3. collapse expand

    An atheist since 1954, I taught “The Bible as Literature” in a public high school for 30 years. Comparative religion courses are good as well. Teaching a religion as true is unconstitutional and stupid.

    I would never say, “There is no god,” but, similarly, I would never say, “There is no red-nosed dwarf on a small planet circling Sirius who controls NBA games.”

  4. collapse expand

    Amazing. Like any non-atheist, I’m gang-attacked every time I go on line and fail to say something mean about religion (especially at Faith-Bashing Central, a.k.a. Huff-Po), but I’M the one who’s hyped-up and aggressive? That’s the best laugh I’ve had all week, and it’s only Monday. Thank you, thank you.

    • collapse expand

      Talking to yourself? Delusions of persecution?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Christianity, the most beleaguered religious minority on the planet in general, and America in particular. This poor oppressed group of humble faith has been viciously and ruthlessly subjugated by Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, and Communists (never forget the dirty commies). They’ve been systematically rounded up, interrogated, tortured, drown, hung and burned at the stake by women who practice “witchcraft.” They’ve –

      Oh wait, that’s not quite right, is it?

      P.S. I do so hope that my grammar and punctuation are up to your exacting standards.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        So, just imagine 20 or 30 trolls of Darth’s type, and you have Huff-Po’s so-called Religion page.

        The tribal mentality on display here is pretty scary–all members of the bad tribe (Christians) are murdering maniacs with no moral standards. Meanwhile, the members of the good tribe (atheists) are pure and noble and so on. That are advanced thinking.

        Best of all, the Darth and Justin types honestly believe they’re doing something bold and original by dissing the majority, but the neocons have been doing this for decades. Think about it–neocons hate our form of democracy, they regard middlebrow culture as elitist and oppressive, they want the judicial branch eliminated, and so on. They generally hold values at odds, not only with our system’s, but with those of most Americans. Dissing the mainstream is not only a rather conventional thing to do, it tends to be a right-wing thing. What’s conventional is, by definition, neither bold nor original. And what’s right-wing is, by definition, not very progressive.

        As a Democrat way left of Obama, and sick to death of watching our faux-Democrat president hand victory after victory to Boehner and Co., I’m very careful not to adopt right-wing ways, imitation being not only the sincerest form of flattery but often the deadliest kind of abetment.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I could give a shit less about your stupid cult, if only you kept it to yourself. Want me to quit complaining about your precious “faith?” Stop coming to my door with goddam pamphlets. Stop proselytizing to me about a religion I know inside-out. Stop trying to pass your stupid cult’s rules into national law. In other words

          LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE, and I’ll do you the same.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Preserve this in amber; this truly is the most insipid example of savio’s brain-dead form of accommodationism. “We can’t point out the corrupting and poisoning aspects of religion, or we’re no better than the neocons.” Well, no, we are better, because we’re not wrong.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  5. collapse expand

    I agree, in spirit.

    I’m all for teaching the Bible in public school, in comparative religion course under a sociology umbrella or as literature w/ a narrative and character (Suggested textbook: “God, A Biography”) … anyone who objectively reads The Book of Job cannot help to come out of the experience with a deep understanding of the forbearance of the human spirit and that the God of the Bible is a real d!ck.

    If faith is to enter science curriculum then it should be lumped in w/ every other creation myth that might be culturally, demographically or geographically relevant.

  6. collapse expand

    Ms. Eordogh,

    You wrote:”If the fundamentalist Christians are pushing for Creationism to be taught in public schools (despite it violating the First Amendment), then the Atheists should be willing to compromise by pushing for more faith based studies – because, how can religious folk say no to more religious education?”

    That is exactly the point of the Fundamentalist’s strategy, take an extreme position and then when you don’t get what you want, you cut the baby in half. The constitutionalists says “Schools cannot teach religion” and the Fundatmentalist says “Teach my religion called Creationism”. Then people get tired of the debate and say “OK, well teach both!”. The Fundamentalist just won.

    This debate is not about “Religion vs. Atheism” it is about political power. Fundamentalism (be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or whatever) is not about spiritual beliefs, it is about giving political power to groups and individuals based on their religious “expertise”.

    Even in a democratic society, not everything is egalitarian. Not everyone can practice medicine, not everyone can be on a Medical Licensing Board, not everyone can testify as an expert in malpractice trial, not everyone is called to be on government advisory committees on communicable diseases. There are special positions with power and influence that are awarded not by election but by expertise, in the examples I provided, having a MD. Fundamentalists want that same sort of power for themselves by virtue of them being experts on religion. In this case, they want the power to decide school curriculum. From there they can expand that power to other spheres of society, like medical practice, deciding who can or cannot have abortions.

    Fundamentalists are not a bunch guys sitting around with hurt feeling because their pet theories are not being taught in school. They are political operatives advancing a political agenda.

    • collapse expand

      “From there they can expand that power to other spheres of society, like medical practice, deciding who can or cannot have abortions.”

      Well, they’d better hurry up. To date, we have no national church, no school prayer, and abortion is still legal. That last right, tragically, has been compromised, but it’s still there. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans are–or are well on their way to becoming–pro-gay-rights. And polls show that the majority of us are pro-choice. Not to mention accepting of faiths other than their own (those of us who have one to begin with).

      Therefore, I have to conclude that these fundies have the lobbying power of a ball of dryer lint. They need to take instruction from the controllers of our democracy–BP, Wall St., Blackwater, etc.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Hello Savio,

        I think that the overall trajectory of the Christian fundamentalists is that they are actually on the decline. As you rightly point out, the percentage of people who claim to be Christians is declining. More to the point, again as you point out, their ability actually impact social policy has also declined.

        This it must be pointed out is in sharp contrast to their role historically. Christianity has long had the status as, if not the official religion, at the “default” religion. I would note that the President takes his oath of office on a Christian Bible and on US currency it says “In God We Trust”. The very fact that abortion was illegal for so long is a testament to the hegemony it enjoyed for quite some time.

        This is the what is behind the recent “Battle over Christmas” where Fundamentalists have been trying to claim “Christmas for the Christians”. They rightly feel their power slipping away and they are rather desperately trying to reclaim it. The recent business with the Texas School Board and its text books is an example of this.

        So I do not disagree with you in your snapshot assessment, I just think it needs the broader historical context to fully appreciate it.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          “As you rightly point out, the percentage of people who claim to be Christians is declining.”

          Actually, my point is that the majority of Christians have mainstream values, even as relentlessly as our media pretends that fundie values and Christian values are one and the same. The majority of Americans are Christians, and (for ex.) the majority of Americans are pro-choice. Simple logic suggests that Christian values would be synonymous with popular values. Yet, anti-choice is somehow seen as the default Christian position. I think what we’re seeing and hearing 24/7 is the media’s stereotype of faith and the faithful, with facts ignored whenever they gets in the way of that construct. The constant false reporting on religion has literally and significantly reduced my respect for journalism in this country.

          Re your points about Christianity as the “default” faith, that will happen when the majority of people are Christians. That doesn’t make Christianity official in the sense that concerned our founders–i.e., as an “established” religion, with taxes supporting it and membership required to hold positions of importance. To those who (endlessly) cite tax breaks given to churches and/or the general (and real) influence of religion on our system, I say, welcome to popular/representative democracy. Citizens and their popular institutions are PART of popular democracy, and religion no less so than anything else. The First Amendment is chiefly concerned with the government not interfering with freedom of speech, freedom to worship, to peaceably assemble, etc. It does not assign outcast status to religion as a popular institution. Of all the institutions that enjoy tax breaks, religion is pretty low on the list. Compared to the citizen-funded incentives we pay to Big Polluters, and the like.

          Popular faith and average believers are religiously excluded from just about every on-line discussion of faith. It’s like discussing U.S. sports while not mentioning football.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Er “…whenever they get in the way,” not “gets.”

            The hazards of sentence revision.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Hello savio,

            You wrote:”The majority of Americans are Christians, and (for ex.) the majority of Americans are pro-choice. Simple logic suggests that Christian values would be synonymous with popular values. Yet, anti-choice is somehow seen as the default Christian position.”

            I think that, perhaps, we are saying the same thing. It is my proposition that Fundamentalism is a *political* movement which has as its objective the political empowerment of certain individuals or institutions based upon their religious authority. I am not limiting this to just the Christian variety but it would include Islamic, Judaic, and Hindu or anything you can think of, although in the USA it would only be Christian Fundamentalism that we up for discussion. Fundamentalism is only found in countries or regions where there is one clearly dominant religion and the fundamentalists are always of that religion. There have been Christians in Syria, Iraq, and Iran for thousands of years yet you find very few Christian Fundamentalists there and they sure have very little influence. The reverse can be said of Muslims here in the US.

            Fundamentalism is *not about faith*, it is about a conservative political agenda, which is why the average believer is not a participant in the political discussion about fundamentalism. Now of course Fundamentalists wrap themselves the guise of “faith” and “religion” exactly to confuse the issues and to blunt any criticism of them. They want to engage in political debate but then claim when they get push back, they can claim to above “mere politics” because they are “people of faith”.

            Now there are few Fundamentalists in this country who want an out and out theocracy (unlike Dominionists, Reconstructionists, and Theonomist) but they very definitely want a politically conservative churches and pastors to have political influence and power based their religious authority, not secular authority.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      I’m right there with you, Davidlosangeles.

      But how can they call themselves Religious Experts if they only know one religion, and not very well?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    Good call. We should all have world religions and personal finance as mandatory education in all levels of schooling so we can make informed decisions about what we choose to believe rather than having others choose for us. This might go a long way to transferring the understanding of religion from faith to business (the catholic church is the largest business in the world). If you look at the Bible, Jesus was threatening the financial dominance of the Jewish priests. That’s why he had to go. Kick the money changers out of the temple and get crucified by the temple, that’s reality.

  8. collapse expand

    Science and faith should never be lumped together. The former is seeing then believing, the latter is believing without seeing. The two are simply mutually exclusive.

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    When I am not gracing the front page of google news, I'm writing on one of my other blogs or doing research.

    I was born in Budapest, and escaped the evils of communism at a young age. When I was four, I jumped a fence, fought a guard, disarmed fifteen land mines, and swam across the Atlantic to New York City. Basically.

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