Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to write about atheism.

Salty Current : How to write about gnu atheists guide

Gnu atheists should be presented as uncivil, strident, aggressive, arrogant proselytizers and rigid fundamentalists. Don’t worry about finding concrete examples to support these generalizations. If you absolutely must quote from a gnu, keep it short and divorced from the complex background and context which would only confuse the reader. You’re firmly within the consensus, so you’re on solid ground. At the same time, whenever possible – as when discussing large-scale surveys showing declining rates of belief – present nonbelievers as merely having “doubts” about God. This is perfectly consistent.

Similarly, gnu atheism shouldn’t be presented as an intellectual position. Repeatedly emphasize their hostility to organized religion as the source of their disbelief. It helps if you acknowledge that there are some legitimate reasons for this hostility – shows you to be fair and balanced while leaving aside those pesky ontological matters.

You’re also safe presenting gnu atheists as cold, hyper-rational, solitary automatons who lack an appreciation of beauty or sense of wonder. Pay no attention to those who are artists, writers, or musicians, or to any of their works describing the wonder of scientific understanding and the sense of cosmic connectedness that follows from this deeper empirical knowledge. Leave aside the enormous spectrum of atheist writing on any number of ethical issues. And no need to discuss gnu atheists as people with families, friends, and communities. There’s nothing dishonest about this. You’re writing about that one dimension that is the guiding focus of their lives: rejecting religion.

In fact, the analysis of gnu atheism not as a position concerning reality but a symptom of something larger, an expression of a (post)modern spiritual malaise, will vault your article right up into the top intellectual ranks, all the more so if you can present this spiritual condition as the root of many contemporary problems. This lends a profound, dare I say existential, element to your writing, and people will take you very, very seriously.

Indeed.  Head over to Salty Current and read the rest. [link]


Update : For an excellent example of the above, read Sadomasochist and Enjoying it! Catholic and Enjoying It!.

That means that the first thing a gung-ho evangelical atheist needs is prayer, not argument. The prayer is not so much for his conversion as for his de-conversion. Because a realio-trulio confirmed atheist already has a deep religious belief. What he needs is not faith (he has that: faith in the three pound piece of meat behind his eyes). Nope, what he needs is right faith: in God and not himself, his brilliance, his rationality, his pride. And no mortal power can disabuse him of that wrongly ordered faith. Only God can.

Of course, not all atheists are of the gung-ho militant variety. Some are atheists because, well, they were just raised outside any living encounter with actual faith. Indeed, I have known a number of atheists who range from curious to wistful about faith in Christ, as though it would be nice to believe if they could, but for whatever reason the inner “click” hasn’t happened to make the life of living faith in Christ real to them. Once again, prayer is the first thing, since only God can convert. At the same time, such atheists are often quite open to having a real conversation about the Faith. Such honest atheists are often treated with profound contempt by the shallow noisy atheist Fundamentalists who have a script and are stickin’ to it. The contempt is due to the fact that these “Christ curious” atheists actually want to use their intellects instead of merely worshipping them as shallow atheists tend to do.

For the dyed-in-the-wool atheist of the New Atheist Speaker’s Bureau, the use of the intellect is strictly forbidden. Slogans and pre-fab sound bites are the key. The same clever lines get repeated again and again in a sort of atheist liturgy that drinks repeatedly from the same stale water. The same prophets (Dennett, Harris, Hitchens and Dawkins) are read like the four gospels. Slogans about flying spaghetti monsters get repeated like antiphons at Mass. The same two arguments about “the Problem of Evil” and “How the Laws of Nature Prove There is No Legislator” get trotted out, oblivious to the fact that St. Thomas answered them both. In addition, we hear the same fallacies again and again in the liturgy of Padded Arguments: religion is for suckers, Noah never lived, why can’t women be priests, Catholics sin, some miracles are fake so all are, the Pope is not photogenic, I am smarter than you, Galileo, six day creationism, SCIENCE!, etc.

It’s all as liturgical as a kabuki or a Mass—and as predictable. Only the New Atheist seems to be oblivious to how much he owes the religion he is attacking. Indeed, even his blasphemies depend for their power on the God he blasphemes, which is why he spends all his time Not Believing in the God of the Bible and very little time blaspheming Thor or Odin.

Lets see :-

Atheism requires faith ... check !
Atheism is another religion ... check !
Atheists are arrogant proselytizers and rigid fundamentalists ... check !
Present nonbelievers as merely having “doubts” about God ... check !
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