20th February 2012

“Once you've described yourself as a nonbeliever, believers aren't going to take your view of their faith too seriously: you've written yourself out of the story. This would be true even if you had an encyclopedic grasp of religion.”

Katha Pollitt

13 Responses to “20th February 2012”

  1. Dan Says:

    It’s the paradox of religious thinking: If you just don’t think too hard about it, you must be right.

  2. Atheist MC Says:

    Well it makes sense to a point. If I said I didn’t like Heavy Music, my specific opinions on Metallica or AC/DC would be inconsequential I suppose.

  3. jhm Says:

    AMC, I have to disagree with your analogy (not that you were trying to make a big deal of it). I do not, as an antitheist, ‘dislike’ theism in the way I might dislike opera (or Metaliica, et cetera); while I may not understand why someone would enjoy those, I do not think it, on principle, different in kind than someone disliking the music I listen to, and would be prepared to discuss and defend my choices and (parish the thought) be persuaded that I was in the wrong (because I was accepting stereotypes as indicative of the whole, for example). None of this is applicable to either religious belief, or an opposition to it.

  4. Atheist MC Says:

    jhm: Well yes, I suppose I was reacting to “nonbeliever”. Actually atheists that take the time to comment on these sorts of sites are usually less passive than that. Although atheism is definitely not a faith position (whatever the religious might say) it is a theological one, which means we do have opinions on the minutia of religions that we actually don’t believe in.

  5. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    It is a great quote! I find all too often that the most knowledgeable people about religion are atheists. Popular polling services regularly report on this and it is the most peculiar idiosyncracy regarding religious belief: The faithful rarely know the book. I can think of nothing more detrimental to faith that the faithful actually picking up the book and reading it.

  6. Atheist MC Says:

    Sinjin: That gives me a brilliant idea, why don’t we form a society to leave a copy of the bible in every hotel room in the world… or does that sound vaguely familiar, hmmm.

    Serously though it is the most available book ever published, you’d think somebody other than atheists would read the bloody thing.

  7. Atheist MC Says:

    BTW I frequently read the Bible for entertainment. I’m a bit of an OT fan, particularly of Exodus where this character Moses cons all his pals into giving up the day job in the brickworks, then drags them off into the desert where he makes them build him a massive tent, and feed him and his brother endless free roast dinners. Priceless stuff.

  8. The Heretic Says:

    I have very strong views on fairies (it could happen!) My thoughts on the subject should be just as relevant as from people who believe in them. In my estimation, more so.

  9. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    AMC I just about fell out of my chair! Thanx for the laugh!

    I must admit to having taken some humor while lodging in those bibles left by the Gideons. Mostly reading while in the tub. Unfortunately the books always end up wet and soapy. Can’t imagine it bothers anyone as it always appears I’m the only person to ever have opened the silliy things.

  10. Jeff Says:

    Haven’t dug the book out in years, but I still know my way around both the hand bound version my mother did for me (after I professed my atheism, I might add), and the reference bible that sits on the shelf next to it. Knowledge is power, I always say, and I’ve got the Trivial Pursuits scores to prove it. (Chuckle)

    The problem is that the Catholics actively discourage their people from reading the book, the Protestants and Jews have convinced their folks that they’re allowed to read it, but it takes a degree from a divinity school to CORRECTLY interpret it, or that it must be taken literally, and the Muslims openly celebrate young men who can memorize the whole damn thing before they have the ability to critically think about it, thereby crowding out the critical faculties to see it for the BS that it is.

    Three mechanisms of control, but with that one critical factor – concentrating control in the hands of a precious few. Since we have openly declared ourselves outside their control, our thinking must be suppressed for the good of the wider body of (insert your pick here…)

  11. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    The pain of being a Republican has yet again risen to a new level. Rick Santorum’s idiot remark about President Obama’s environmental policy being a “phony theology” specifically.

    You know I’d just love to be able to get behind a candidate, to really support a good Republican candidate, but instead idiots like Rick Santorum.

    I don’t want to leave the party, I want the fundamentalist religious whackos to leave the party, but they have their hooks in.

    People this is painful!

  12. Jeff Says:


    I feel for you, sir, but we put up with these whack jobs on the D side of the aisle until Lyndon shoved them over to you in ’64 & ’65. Just who do you think the Dixiecrats of ’48 and onward really were? Nixon & Reagan consolidated it with their “Southern Strategy”, and now you’re stuck with ’em, because big as the D tent is getting, ain’t no room at this inn.

    Good news for you – they’re screaming the loudest and getting the most press. Bad news for you – our society is getting more secular, and is going to soundly reject their message sometime soon (I hope).

  13. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Jeff if it is Santorum, or Romney, or Gingrich I’m voting Obama.

    And was it Lyndon or Mr. Goldwater that promised them a Rose Garden?

    I think they should form their own part and call it flatly the Theocratic Party. I mean if that is the back bone of their agenda why not stand on it? Why hijack someone else’s party?