The new breed of atheist, whom I find scattered around the blogosphere are not living up to the fine traditions of old. Or so it seems to me.
I follow a few such blogs, and often link to others they suggest as “particularly” good, and most of the time, I see the same failures.
I once considered myself one of them, though I was never so arrogant to proclaim a belief that God did not exist. I found it sufficient to say I simply had no clue, and was not persuaded that there was proof either way.
I have seen many an educated atheist dialogue with believers on shows on PBS and been favorably impressed with the level or argument. Yet, today, I find this new breed, this rough uneducated, simplistic crowd, who bother not to actually think, but only to spout a lot of meaningless jargon, passing it off as “well, I destroyed that Christian myth,” dusting off their hands and moving on to another target.
Many proclaim that James Loftus is an example of one of the better atheist apologists around today. Yet, his blog seems mostly filled with self-promotion of his contribution to a new atheist book (one directed interestingly enough at “evangelical Christianity” only), or in asking his readers to once again validate his efforts at debate–his last foray was not a good time, because his opponent “cheated” by cutting him off and controlling the discussion.
Ken Pulliam, actually entitles his blog “Why I Deconverted from Evangelical Christianity.”
The BEattitude, which we long ago abandoned as too juvenile for adult discussion, tends to rehash the obvious errors within the biblical texts, as if this is not known and understood by all but the hard core fundamentalist.
I of course can understand their choice of foe. It’s easy, requiring little education, smarts or thinking to derail the obviously irrational thinking of most fundamentalist positions. They are against the great weight of the evidence as we used to say in law. And I must say, at least it’s honest. They are being clear, they are not taking on Christianity per se, only the type that we all oppose, whether it be Christian or Muslim, Judaic, or frankly Hindu. Fundamentalism is the same in every faith tradition–and it’s dangers and irrationalities are well known and documented.
Thus, believers can agree with most of these young atheists on much of what they say.
Yet, there is much that must be snickered at, and indeed, I come away shaking my head, at the similar tendency to be so arrogantly sure of one’s position. I cannot recall who said it, but it seems quite true, that some atheists at least have a god that is every bit as important to them as the one believers adhere to. Indeed these new breed atheists have the arrogance to place humans at the top of the heap as the greatest creator of all. All that is, is the result of human hands and minds. Now that’s some chutzpah I’d say.
This post struck me as interesting. VJack at Atheist Revolution, posits whether there is such a thing as rational Christianity. Now, setting aside the pure arrogance of such a thing on its face, lets dig deeper. He tells us that “we all know that faith is inherently irrational.”
Do we now? Care to prove that point? Care to even explain on what you base it? Are you suggesting that thousands of great minds across the ages have been men and women of faith, and are irrational? Was Aquinas irrational? Was Gandhi? Is Desmond Tutu? Aristotle? Have you done the hard work to even attempt to understand the minds of such greats as Rahner, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Gutierrez, MacQuarrie, Moltmann, Sobrino, Boff, de Chardin, to name but a few?
Without a breath, he moves on then and wonders is it possible to believe without faith? Can one have an intellectual belief in God? Surely this is true, but he seems to think not. I would consider that I came to my belief in exactly that way. That it was a more rational position than not. Faith for me came much later.
In full blown arrogance he continues:
What if a Christian genuinely (albeit mistakenly) believed that he or she had sufficient evidence of some sort of god? This person would be wrong, but would it at least be possible to imagine such a form of Christianity that was entirely void of faith?
Note the “albeit mistakenly.” Exactly by what means can you prove conclusively that there is no God Mr. VJack? You may believe by faith in humanity that there is no God, but you cannot prove conclusively that anyone’s conclusion that there is is by definition wrong. Time to climb from the high horse.
And for whomever said it a week or so ago. Yes, faith includes doubt, not as you claimed, that it was anathema to faith. The bible says as much on that point, reflecting that people of faith have always struggled with doubt. Read John of the Cross if you remain doubtful on this point. Or any mystic for that matter.
And pray tell us, what is with the rather well known image you attached?
What has this to do with a supposedly rational discussion on the issue of faith? A creationist cartoon hardly has a thing to do with whether there can be a rational basis for belief in a higher power than mankind.
It’s but another cheap assault, which not only weakens an already weak argument, it reminds us once again, that for most atheists it seems nowadays, the only form of Christianity they are familiar with is fundamentalism.
That comes as no news to me, for I have said for a good while that fundamentalism does more to create non-believers than the other way around.
But please, dear atheist brothers and sisters, don’t sink to the common denominator. Come up in the more rarefied atmosphere of adult conversation. You need to read a bit about Christianity and stop using your childhood fundie learnings as your sole basis of argument. They are simply yawnable.