Apologists Miss the Mark About “New Atheism”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWn_dNtjVU4]

The video above runs about 8 minutes and I wouldn’t attempt to subject you to more than that. But I think it’s helpful for atheists to watch this video to get a sense of the point of view and the lengths to which those deluded by Christianity (and probably any other religion) are willing to go in order to preserve their superstitious memes.

Here’s the gist of the video:

Christian apologists are greatly concerned about the prevalence of those willing to speak out critically of their superstitions and beliefs. In the very first seconds of the clip, a theologian/apologist remarks that discussion, criticism, and inquiry into his god previously only took place in the “ivory towers” of academia. Now, he continues, such discussion is open and public and, even more to his angst, being discussed on “shows popular with young people” like Comedy Central and the Cobert Report, which, between them, interviewed Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

The accusation, of course, is that these popular authors are attacking transcendent beings and beliefs with “violence and venom.” More amazingly, the theologian/apologist they interviewed goes on to say this “violence and venom” is unprecedented.

Unprecedented.”

First, he does not once establish that Hitchens, Dawkins or Harris have used “violence” in their books. They’ve each discussed violence, but in the context of religious nuts utilizing it against those that believed differently than they. So, not only did the guy completely fabricate the claim of “violence” committed by these three esteemed authors, he also ignores the fact that his own religious cult is culpable in establishing precedence for use of such violence should it have been used. Violence, however, isn’t the method rational people use in speaking out against that which they find objectional, false, silly, or superstitious. Unlike the nuts that killed a gay man in Wyoming because their god hates homosexuality; unlike the nuts that bomb abortion clinics; unlike the nuts that fly planes into skyscrapers; and unlike the thugs that assault Kansas professors who teach evolution -rational people find civil discourse, the press, the media, and the publishing industry to refute the superstitions of irrational people.

As to the charge of “venom,” isn’t this really just an argument from blasphemy? How dare rational people challenge the time-honored tradition of not questioning religious superstition? Is there a polite way to question the superstitions and cult beliefs of the religious without appearing venomous to them? There simply is no good evidence or reason to accept their superstitions as true. Call it venom if you wish, but truth will always be painful to the deluded and their reactions all but demonstrate their delusion.

One of the more disingenuous criticisms the clip attempts to provide is the interview with Paul J. Voss, an associate professor of literature at Georgia State who calls Dawkins’ The God Delusion a “scree,” which he describes as a genre of literature that is “highly emotional, poignant, full of attacking…” The credits under Voss as he delivers his “objective” literary perspective describes him just as I did with the link and words above: an associate professor at Georgia State. What isn’t said is that he isn’t objective. Voss is the president of academic affairs at Southern Catholic College, where indoctrination and superstition reign supreme and rational discourse and science take a back seat. He taught theology at a Catholic High School for over three years and that is the reason he was chosen for the spot on this “news” clip.

But Voss never gives any example of Dawkins’ “emotional” and “attacking” words from the God Delusion. Nor do most of the critics of his book. And the critics that do provide examples are made to look foolish since the quotes they provide are either clearly a jest or otherwise hold up. His only real criticism is the title itself, which includes the accusation of “delusion.” Sorry, Voss, but its true. Delusion, the erroneous belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, is the most accurate assessment of those that believe in superstitious nonsense like virgin births, transubstantiation, creation, and Noah’s flood. The best argument Voss provides to counter this assertion of delusion is an argument from popularity. The band wagon consists of “90%” of the population, so, therefore, the 10% that don’t believe are wrong. One is left to wonder about the 90% of Greeks who believed Medusa was really the snake-haired Gorgon that was so ugly you turned to stone by just looking at her. Did the popularity of their delusion mean she was real?

But getting back on track, the clip goes on to mention the Out Campaign in such a way as to demonstrate the threat that “New Atheists” have on Christian superstitions. The criticism at this point is that the “New Atheism” is militant and intolerant. This, I suppose, is true depending on how one describes militancy and intolerance. If “militant” means being proactive and aggressive, and if “intolerant” means no longer sitting down and simply accepting the old taboo of questioning religious dogma and superstition, then I hope we’re guilty. But, in that case, there’s far less “militancy” than can be found with evangelical, bible-thumping, door-to-door religious nuts who seek to fill their pews for tithing. It’s also clear that religious nuts are not in the least bit tolerant of the non-religious -and this very clip is demonstrative of that fact.

The original apologist/theologian (revealed midway through to be a pastor) I mentioned above shares an anecdote about how he met the graduate assistant of a popular atheist author who finally admits to him how smart the pastor is and how ignorant the atheist is. The implication of this story (probably a complete fiction) is that atheists don’t bother reading religious and theological works and are, therefore, not qualified to discuss or have opinions about the superstitions of religious cults. I challenge any religious nut to, that pastor included, to take me to task on this: present to me any “clear, rational, responsible Christian perspective” written by any theologian and I will demonstrate why it is complete an utter nonsense.

Theologians aren’t qualified to have rational opinions on their own superstitions. It would be like citing the authority of a fairiologist, a ufologist, or an aeropigologist. Only if we are to accept the matter of fact existence of fairies, space aliens in flying saucers, or flying pigs, then these experts are meaningful.

Finally, I want to point out the closing comments of the clip. The call to arms, so to speak, of the religious is to increase apologetics training to the children. Indoctrinate them young and get them on the side of superstition and the Christian meme now, so that they’ll be less open-minded once they reach the university and become exposed to the Ph.D.’s there who are out to turn them all into atheists.

I’m not kidding. That’s the crap it ends with.

About Ylooshi

An anthropologist who is an atheist. My blog at breakingspells.net concerns itself with breaking the spells of superstition and religious belief through examining human superstitions and religions scientifically and rationally. Breaking Spells, the blog, also focuses on atheist and secular concerns such as the separation of church and state as well as the negative influences of Islamo-Judeo-Christian religious cults on society.
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