Sunday, November 25, 2007

I am not afraid

By Capt. Fogg
"There's no question in my mind that horror at militant Islam and fear of Muslim immigration lie behind at least some of the current vogue for atheism--you don't make the bestseller list by excoriating the evils of Lutheranism or Buddhism."
Well at least she qualified the statement to limit it to events in her mind. Katha Pollitt, writing An Atheists Dilemma in The Nation is indulging in a bit of solipsism and she needs it to limit the scope of her sweeping generalities, because in the world outside her mind, it makes no sense.

Atheism or something arbitrarily close to it, seems to be the norm in Western Europe and was so before 9/11 changed nothing. Europe has been wracked by centuries of bloody war over the evils of Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism and other systems of religious certainty. Although American religious apologists, even the moderate ones, seem to look upon Christianity through pastel lenses as something that only a person with a malignant and ulterior motive would criticize, Europeans have too much horrible history to be covered with syrupy faith a la mode Americain. Buddhism of course, isn't about gods although Buddhists and Hindus have been going at it in bloody fashion as well.
"Even if you are a ferocious Sam Harris-style atheist who thinks religion is completely stupid--the province of shysters and fools--you have to admit it would be quite astonishing if that view persuaded the devout anytime soon"
I would be astonished if the average IQ suddenly elevated itself by 50 points too, but it would be a hell of a good idea. But at any rate her assertion that fear of Islam is behind this hard to establish fad for Atheism is even harder to establish. I think there's enough information to show that religiosity declines with education and even more so with intelligence and while that sounds provocative and even smug, I can reply that your religion requires as much suspension (or lack) of cognitive function as any other - if not more.

I see no evil in Islam that I have not seen at one time or another in Christianity and God's Jewish warriors differ only by being a smaller group; and while we're on the subject of Brother Martin, he was a bloody handed son of a bitch and probably schizophrenic; a perfect argument for establishing that you don't have to go abroad to find the septic heart of all faiths and a good foundation for disbelief.

Of course the word "ferocious" wasn't chosen without some thought. It implies fanaticism of the religious sort and distracts from the validity of the distaste the non-believer, heretic or infidel has acquired from uncountable centuries of persecution. It's another version of the pathetic " you're wrong because you're angry" argument common to Bush supporters and other idiots.

If books such as Dawkins' The God Delusion or Hitchens' God is not Great make the top of the best seller list, it hardly indicates a mass exodus from America's fugue state. What it indicates is that amongst the minority of Americans that read, some are willing to part with $24.95 to hear someone brave enough to say what they wish they could say in the presence of mine enemies. It doesn't have a damned thing to do with Islam other than as another example of the madness of religion in general.

If you want to believe something, believe that admitting you don't share the visions or see the portents or believe the fiction is a ticket to ostracism. People won't let their children near you and your job performance rating will fail to glow the way it used to. If there is any dilemma this atheist sees, it isn't the one Pollitt has patched together. It's the same one my ancestors have had to face since Emperor Constantine. Lie and get by, tell the truth and die.


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Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Brilliant Fogg. However, I think you just blew your chance at getting an endorsement from Focus on the Family, if you ever decide to run for president. :-}

8:53:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"Run" would be the key word. I've already been accused of proselytizing for an alternate religion by posting this at Human Voices. I guess I'm very intolerant for objecting to intolerance.

9:14:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL. I always wonder how people live with cognitive dissonance.

9:45:00 AM  

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