Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Liberal Whitewashing of Religion & Equating Hitchens with Religious Bigots

Tim Padgett wrote an article entitled A Christian on Hitchens’ Atheism and Lowe’s Muslim Problem to defend “reasonable religion” from the twin threats of fundamentalist religion and “angry atheists.” As is typical of the religious-liberal, they invoke false equivalency to tamp down any criticism of religion by equating critiques of religion as bigotry and therefore just as bad as fundamentalism. In this sanctimonious article, Tim Padgett repeatedly mentions (therefore equating) Christopher Hitchens’ name in the same sentence as David Caton; the head of the idiotic Florida Family Association (they have the word “family" in their title so that's a head up as to their hate group status). The man’s grave isn’t cold yet. Low blow, bro. Low. Blow.

Hitchens was best known as one of the "angry atheists" for his 2007 best seller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, and narrow-minded fundamentalists like Caton made his work a lot easier. So of course did extremist Muslims, as well as extremist Roman Catholics, Jews, Hindus and all the fanatics who ruin religion the way drunks ruin driving. Which is why Hitchens' attacks on faith, while brilliantly written, could also feel gratuitous.

Think about that. He equates Hitchens who, while passionately against religion, had many reasons not the least of which was his disgust with bigotry, tyranny, and oppression by the religious with a man who is a bigot and given the opportunity would oppress people. Probably including Mr. Padgett. 

So it's fitting, at least for the silent majority of Christians who aren't hatemongering zealots but who derive hope and humane inspiration from our beliefs, that Caton and Hitchens should both be in the news during the Christmas season. (emphasis added)

“...The silent majority of Christians who aren’t hatemongering zealots...” Therein lies one of the problems. The majority of Christians are silent on these issues. They sit back and let the “angry atheists” defend their rights and attempt to stop the theocratic fascists from taking over. Of course they are quick to throw us under the bus whenever our sites turn on religion in general and not just the silly fundies. Anyone that frequents this site knows that I have asked where the “Liberal Christians” are in really standing up to the lunatics. If they really were out in full force or even half-force, we wouldn’t be dealing with the likes of the GOP primary candidates. They are the new face of mainstream Christianity people. If it wasn’t true they wouldn't be two steps from the Presidency. Take a look in the mirror.

But Caton and Hitchens at least give us Christians a convenient place to start. They prod us on the one hand to assess what isn't Christian — like demonizing gays and Muslims — and on the other hand to reaffirm why Christianity and religion itself are a positive and not always poisonous influence in the world.

Again, equating Caton and Hitchens. It is ludicrous. I can’t help but shake the feeling that he doesn’t realize what he is saying here. So at least some of the time Christianity is a poisonous influence on the world?

It's a fairly widely accepted maxim that atheist fundamentalists, as I call them, can be just as intolerant as religious fundamentalists. And the problem they share is that both take religion way too literally. Just as Christian fundamentalists insist on a literal reading of the Bible, angry atheists tend to insist that belief in God qualifies you as a raving creationist.(See "Why Christopher Hitchens Is Wrong About Billy Graham.") (emphasis added)

Atheism cannot be fundamentalist. Atheism (the BIG umbrella definition) is  based on rationalism and evidence. What could atheist fundamentalism possibly look like? What crazy claim could “atheism” dream up? Again, this is canard almost as old as the “atheism is a religion” one.

Atheism takes religion “way too literally” because it matters. Mr. Padgett, you yourself are describing the fundamentalists as hateful, bigoted and dangerous. Then you self-describe the majority of Christians as “silent” and you have the nerve to tell us we take it too literally? Do you listen to yourself?

Here's what they refuse to get: Yes, Christians believe that Jesus' nativity was a virgin birth and that he rose from the dead on Easter. But if you were to show most Christians incontrovertible scientific proof that those miracles didn't occur, they would shrug — because their faith means more to them than that. Because in the end, what they have faith in is the redemptive power of the story. In Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited, an agnostic says to his Catholic friend, "You can't seriously believe it all ... I mean about Christmas and the star and the three kings and the ox and the ass."

"Oh yes, I believe that. It's a lovely idea."

"But you can't believe things simply because they're a lovely idea."

"But I do. That's how I believe."

That is crazy nonsense. I know I may have just lost any Christian reading this by saying that, but Padgett is the one who typed that up and thought it showed how noble Christians are. It is patently crazy to believe something IF it was proved to be not true. You cannot seriously expect a nontheist to read that and suddenly think “Oh well, it is a lovely story and they believe in the power of stories.” How very postmodern of you.

I'm willing to bet it's how most believers believe.


With all due respect to the memory of Christopher Hitchens, making the here and now better would be difficult without religion. But it's also hard enough without the un-Christian antics of people like David Caton. As Christmas ought to remind us.

At no point did you show respect to the memory of Christopher Hitchens. You lumped him in with the very people he despised and railed against in his fight to ensure we didn’t all become their victims. Including you, Mr. Padgett. Your nice and safe Christianity that doesn’t hate gays is fine when you’re driving the kids to Sunday school, but how does it serve you when other Christians (and they are still Christians whether you want to admit that or not) are trying to gut our rights and ensure their supremacy to enact Dominion? Your Christianity will not allow you to look in the mirror and see how alike you are from them. It will not allow you to see that the underlying absurdity of their beliefs is the same as the underlying absurdity of yours. So, you externalize the cognitive dissonance. “It’s not me, it’s them.”

The proof is in your self-admitted fact that the majority of Christians are very much silent.  



hardcharger said...

This is the type of drivel that makes atheists "angry". It's not the other way around. I guess Time magazine anointed this blowhard spokesperson for atheist ponderings?

"Rather, our belief in God — our belief in the living ideal of ourselves, which is something even atheists ponder — instills in us a faith that in the end, light always defeats darkness (which is how people get through the wars and natural disasters I cover). That does make us open to the possibility of the hereafter — but more important, it gives us purposeful inspiration to make the here and now better."

I guess I sometimes I do ponder a “living ideal” of myself. Problem is, I come away feeling empty and sorry for the people who were duped into believing that nonsense. Sounds like the stuff of comic books to me. It's pretty pathetic that this tool needs the “possibility for the hereafter" to make the here and now better. You know what inspires me make things better? The love I have for my family and friends. Apparently he needs to know he is getting something in return for making the world a better place. Selfish coward.

Oh and by the way "darkness" always wins. See you in hell pal.