26th January 2012

“It's almost certain that some religious believers will be bothered by even the mildest of statements from non-believers, but that's a risk atheists have to be willing to take. Where believers are simply 'sharing' the 'good news', atheists are [allegedly] 'forcing' their atheism on others, or being 'rude' and 'disrespectful.'”

Austin Cline

6 Responses to “26th January 2012”

  1. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Today’s quote made me think of another:

    God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.
    Joseph Campbell

    As is for what we either don’t or can’t know, or some would say shouldn’t? Belief in god isn’t real in the sense the person is actually believing in a supreme diety ruling the heavens. Belief in god stops once people are faced with the possibility of god really existing.

    For example:
    1) When someone tells even the most steadfast believer that he has been communing with god, talking with him, recording gods new words he is looked at as a fool, or a charlatan.

    2) When the accused stands up in the courtroom and explains to the god fearing judge and jury that it was god that made him do it he isn’t excuse for his crime. No believes anyone when they say god has been working with them here and now, in the present.

    It is completely normal for believers to accept a story in an ancient text, one that can’t be validated by any other reference, about a supposed prophet guy climbing a mountain to receive god’s commandments but instantly dismissed as absurd or fakery if someone makes a similar claim here in the present.

    No one is ever forced to deny god’s presence in the modern would, even the Pope would dismiss it in a court or the supermarket.

    The clergy person occupies the threshold between the delusion and reality. A kind of gatekeeper of the truth. Any new revelation would threaten the existing doctrine, would threaten the carefully constructed control, and must be dismissed out of hand.

    It is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where the faithful are unwilling to immerse themselves in the wider worldview, they are contented to accept a incredibly small narrative that they all too often haven’t studied, they fear change uncertainty and anything that tells them that we are not the center of the universe, that we aren’t supremely important to the great controller of it all.

    The idea that we are nothing in the grand scheme of things, just the smallest speck in something so much larger than we can ever really know, should bring all humans comfort in the knowledge that for as violent as things can be in universe we are buffeted by the biggness of it all. We are protected not by a supreme diety in the sky but by the 93 million miles between us and our sun, by our atmosphere, by the magnetic fields of our planet.

    There is an irony in the casual disregard we have exhibited over the last 150 years with regard to our life sustaining environment and the fact the planet has and continues to sustain us. That we put so much faith in silly notions of the supernatural and ignore that which is truly important to our safety and security: nature.

    Were “transcendance of intellectual thought” what it really should be our devotions would be to what is real, not imagined. We would worship all that is natural and cherish all that sustains us. We’d realize that for the time being this Earth is our sanctuary and we are our own gods. That instead of keep the faith we could be the keepers of our Earth.

    That the unknown or unknowable will be with us in this experience isn’t a cause for fear, it is a source of motivation and inspiration.

    Bravery is facing fears.

  2. Atheist MC Says:

    Sinjin, I’ve written shorter blogs than that comment 🙂
    It is interesting though how modern relelations are dismissed as fakery by the faithful, unless of course its the Madonna’s face on a daiper or something, in which case it’s a true miracle.

    As for the actual quote, it chimed as I was watching a Dawkins TED lecture on “Militant Atheism” last night. He basically says that religion is so hyper sensitive to criticism that any attempt to sweeten the pill is pointless, may as well give it to them with both barrels.

  3. Jeff Says:

    If either of you haven’t seen Julia Sweeney’s one woman show Letting Go of God, I’d highly recommend it – the journey from Catholicism to Atheism that she took is both an interesting path, and a damn funny one.

    As to Bravery, the best quote I’ve ever heard in that regards comes from a ridiculous source – Gary Marshall’s “The Princess Diaries”, “Bravery is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear.” As it was in a written message from a dead father to his daughter, not a bad thought to give to your child.

    Sinjin, your comments on the state of our stewardship of the Earth are well taken, and completely ignored by the modern “conservative” movement. I suspect that it is because conservatism has been completely co-opted by the religious right that this is so. For them, to admit that mankind is, in effect, defecating in our own front yard is to admit that God has no control over man. Not a good place to start when it comes to defending “God’s creation”, is it?

  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    AMC I fell on the floor after reading you post “Madonna’s face on a daiper “. Great stuff! I saw that TED lecture too.

    Jeff you reference to the Princess Diaries quote is a good one. I’ll be making it a point to remember that one.

    And Jeff I think you are right about the religious right or social conservative. The divide between the traditional conservative, a person whoose conservative focus is fiscal, and the socially conservative religious right is detrimental to the traditional conservatives.

    Add to this the neo-conservative, which in my mind aren’t conservative at all, have conspired to make conservative a bad word in the modern lexicon.

    When I say I’m a conservative I’m saying I don’t want to waste our tax dollars, I don’t want to through the baby out with the bathwater, I could care less about the gender of who you might want to marry.

    I have said here several times I’m socially progressive. I can’t conceive of legislating anyone about who they should marry. People are free, they have liberty, no one has any right to restrict that.

    AMC I apologize for the lengthy posts. I value so much of what just about everyone here posts that I like to speak to everyone or address their points.

  5. R J Says:


    dont apologize for your posts.

    make them any damn length you want



  6. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Thank you R j! Lucky to have you folks for sure!