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  1. #1 "I Can't Stand Atheists Because They're Such Crashing Bores." 
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    Charlotte Allen: Why I can't stand atheists

    I can't stand atheists — but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores.

    Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book "Faith, Reason, and Revolution," take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion") and political journalist Christopher Hitchens ("God Is Not Great") for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can't prove something, it doesn't exist.

    My problem with atheists is their tiresome — and way old — insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity.
    What, did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?


    Read Dawkins, or Hitchens, or the works of fellow atheists Sam Harris ("The End of Faith") and Daniel Dennett ("Breaking the Spell"), or visit an atheist Web site or blog (there are zillions of them, bearing such titles as "God Is for Suckers," "God Is Imaginary" and "God Is Pretend"), and your eyes will glaze over as you peruse — again and again — the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain.

    First off, there's atheist victimology: Boohoo, everybody hates us 'cuz we don't believe in God.

    Although a recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16 percent of Americans describe themselves as religiously

    unaffiliated, only 1.6 percent call themselves atheists, with another 2.4 percent weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists).

    You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists' failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall.

    In his online "Atheist Manifesto," Harris writes that "no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that ... God exists."

    The evidence? Antique clauses in the constitutions of six — count 'em — states barring atheists from office.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such provisions unenforceable nearly 50 years ago, but that doesn't stop atheists from bewailing that they have to hide their Godlessness from friends, relatives, employers and potential dates. One representative of the pity-poor-me school of atheism, Kathleen Goodman, writing in January for the Chronicle of Higher Education, went so far as to promote affirmative action for atheists on college campuses: specially designated, college-subsidized "safe spaces" for them to express their views.

    Maybe atheists wouldn't be so unpopular if they stopped beating the drum until the hide splits on their second-favorite topic: How stupid people are who believe in God.

    This is a favorite Dawkins theme.
    In a recent interview with Trina Hoaks, the atheist blogger for the Examiner.com Web site, Dawkins described religious believers as follows:

    "They feel uneducated, which they are; often rather stupid, which they are; inferior, which they are; and paranoid about pointy-headed intellectuals from the East Coast looking down on them, which, with some justification, they do." Thanks, Richard!

    Dennett likes to call atheists "the Brights," in contrast to everybody else, who obviously aren't so bright.

    In a 2006 essay describing his brush with death after a heart operation, Dennett wrote these thoughts about his religious friends who told him they were praying for his recovery: "Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?" With friends like Daniel Dennett, you don't need enemies.

    Then there's P.Z. Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota's Morris campus, whose blog, Pharyngula, is supposedly about Myers' field, evolutionary biology, but is actually about his fanatical propensity to label religious believers as "idiots," "morons," "loony" or "imbecilic" in nearly every post.

    The university deactivated its link to Myers' blog in July after he posted a photo of a consecrated host from a Catholic Mass that he had pierced with a rusty nail and thrown into the garbage ("I hope Jesus' tetanus shots are up to date") in an effort to prove that Catholicism is bunk — or something.

    http://www.twincities.com/opinion/ci...nclick_check=1
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    You have the memory of a goldfish Megs... We already had a discussion over this article, and I even think you participated.

    But this provides an opportunity to post a retort that was published in the LA Times a couple days later.


    Why is Charlotte Allen so mad at atheists?
    She says it's because we're boring. More likely, it's because we speak out against the intellectually bankrupt beliefs of religion.
    By P.Z. Myers
    May 22, 2009

    Charlotte Allen is very, very angry with us atheists -- that's the only conclusion that can be drawn from her furious broadside in The Times on May 17. She can't stand us; we're unpopular; we're a problem. What, exactly, is the greatest crime of modern atheists?

    We're boring.

    I can't actually argue with that. It's true. We're all just ordinary people -- your neighbors, your friends, your relatives. I know atheists who are accountants, real estate agents, schoolteachers, lawyers, soldiers, journalists, even ministers (but don't tell their congregations!). Our leading lights are college professors, scientists, philosophers, theologians and other such pedantic, scholarly riffraff. For entertainment, they read books, and if they want to do something ambitious and dramatic, they write books. I'm one of them, so trust me, I know -- we don't exactly live the James Bond lifestyle. Calling us boring is a fair cop.

    But still -- why would anyone get angry about that? I find myself bored witless by games of chance, but I don't write irate letters condemning all card players and demanding the immediate shuttering of all casinos. I'm afraid I don't believe Allen. There are other motivations behind her denunciations, and they aren't as simple as that she finds us boring.

    She should drop the pretense that the objectionable part of our character is our lack of excitement. What really annoys Allen is that in our books, blogs and media appearances, we challenge religious preconceptions. That's all we do. It's admittedly not exactly a roller-coaster ride of thrills, but it does annoy the superstitious and the fervent true believers in things unseen and unevidenced. We are also, admittedly, often abrasive in being outspoken critics of religious dogma, but it's also very hard to restrain our laughter and contempt when we see the spectacle of god-belief in full flower. I would actually say nigh impossible...

    Rest here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...,1759305.story
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  3. #3  
    PORCUS MAXIMUS Rockntractor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    You have the memory of a goldfish Megs... We already had a discussion over this article, and I even think you participated.

    But this provides an opportunity to post a retort that was published in the LA Times a couple days later.
    Wilbur are you home from church allready!
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    You have the memory of a goldfish Megs... We already had a discussion over this article, and I even think you participated.

    I know atheists who are accountants, real estate agents, schoolteachers, lawyers, soldiers, journalists, even ministers (but don't tell their congregations!). Our leading lights are college professors, scientists, philosophers, theologians and other such pedantic, scholarly riffraff. For entertainment, they read books, and if they want to do something ambitious and dramatic, they write books. I'm one of them, so trust me, I know -- we don't exactly live the James Bond lifestyle. Calling us boring is a fair cop.

    She should drop the pretense that the objectionable part of our character is our lack of excitement. What really annoys Allen is that in our books, blogs and media appearances, we challenge religious preconceptions. That's all we do. It's admittedly not exactly a roller-coaster ride of thrills, but it does annoy the superstitious and the fervent true believers in things unseen and unevidenced. We are also, admittedly, often abrasive in being outspoken critics of religious dogma, but it's also very hard to restrain our laughter and contempt when we see the spectacle of god-belief in full flower. I would actually say nigh impossible...
    But this provides an opportunity to post a retort that was published in the LA Times a couple days later.
    Charlotte Allen was being kind. What annoys most people about militant atheists is that they're boring, arrogant, pretentious and belligerent. We can see that in the response, where we get a list of prominent professions (note that he doesn't address homeless atheists, welfare recipient atheists or blue collar atheists (excepting the police and Soldiers, who lefties claim affinity with whenever their proletarian bona fides are questioned). BTW, as I've said before, I'm not a believer, but I respect believers and belief, and have been moving from my teenage rebellion mode of atheism towards agnosticism for many years, not because I'm coming around to belief, but because the atheist argument that one cannot either prove or disprove the existence of God is an argument for agnosticism rather than certainty. Most of your arguments against belief are simply personal attacks on believers, but just because some believers fall short of their ideals, that does not make the belief false, any more than Bernie Madoff's abuse of the trust of his clients makes capitalism evil.
    --Odysseus
    Sic Hacer Pace, Para Bellum.

    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockntractor View Post
    Wilbur are you home from church allready!
    Black Sunday Mass at the church of the demon !It's one of the high priests !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    Charlotte Allen was being kind. What annoys most people about militant atheists is that they're boring, arrogant, pretentious and belligerent.
    Some are, some arent... most are exasperated by the supreme deficit of reason and common sense from religious persons... even from the "learned" ones, who put forth incredulous arguments as proof and evidence for laughably ridiculous beliefs with the honest expectation of being taken seriously. To many atheists credit, they do take the arguments seriously. If there is one tenet, oft repeated by many Christians that I could identify with, its that one should not necessarily be out to make friends or be nice... but to tell the truth (or as close as we can get to it). If it offends, tough. Atheists are 'militant' when they do this... while others are simply acting honorably and respectably according to their "faith".

    We can see that in the response, where we get a list of prominent professions (note that he doesn't address homeless atheists, welfare recipient atheists or blue collar atheists (excepting the police and Soldiers, who lefties claim affinity with whenever their proletarian bona fides are questioned).
    Huh? So what? Homeless atheists arent likely to be at the forefront of the debate. If you really want to expand the OP article's attack to include atheists who arent outspoken or have no presence in the public sphere as "boring"... well I just have to ask, how on earth do you know?

    BTW, as I've said before, I'm not a believer, but I respect believers and belief,
    That's a character flaw you should work on.

    and have been moving from my teenage rebellion mode of atheism towards agnosticism for many years, not because I'm coming around to belief, but because the atheist argument that one cannot either prove or disprove the existence of God is an argument for agnosticism rather than certainty.
    To be an atheist does not require the absolute stance that no god exists. Not a single of the atheists that the article criticizes actually take that sort of stance, nor do I.

    What you are is more correctly defined as an agnostic atheist or a weak atheist.

    Most of your arguments against belief are simply personal attacks on believers, but just because some believers fall short of their ideals, that does not make the belief false, any more than Bernie Madoff's abuse of the trust of his clients makes capitalism evil.
    Sometimes I attack the believer... but more often than not, I'm defending against their attacks, misconceptions and falsehoods. The article itself was such an attack.
    Last edited by wilbur; 05-24-2009 at 07:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by megimoo View Post
    Black Sunday Mass at the church of the demon !It's one of the high priests !
    Sorry megs... I think most forms of worship are bad... that includes worshiping the morally questionable yahweh character, these demon things, or this satan character.
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    Some are, some arent... most are exasperated by the supreme deficit of reason and common sense from religious persons... even from the "learned" ones, who put forth incredulous arguments as proof and evidence for laughably ridiculous beliefs with the honest expectation of being taken seriously. To many atheists credit, they do take the arguments seriously. If there is one tenet, oft repeated by many Christians that I could identify with, its that one should not necessarily be out to make friends or be nice... but to tell the truth (or as close as we can get to it). If it offends, tough. Atheists are 'militant' when they do this... while others are simply acting honorably and respectably according to their "faith".
    But who says that your tenets are the truth? And why does belief automatically become a deficit of reason and common sense? Can't you see the hostility that you bring to the table before you even begin to speak? Does that anger serve you well?
    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    Huh? So what? Homeless atheists arent likely to be at the forefront of the debate. If you really want to expand the OP article's attack to include atheists who arent outspoken or have no presence in the public sphere as "boring"... well I just have to ask, how on earth do you know?
    Ah, but atheists are quick to point out the percentage of believers in prisons and tar all believers as ignorant, blue collar yokels. Besides, the point is that the author seeks to associate atheism with respectable professions, which had nothing to do with Ms. Allen's argument.
    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    That's a character flaw you should work on.
    You consider respect for the beliefs of others a character flaw? And yet, of the two of us, I have no doubt that you consider yourself the more tolerant. Go figure.
    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    To be an atheist does not require the absolute stance that no god exists. Not a single of the atheists that the article criticizes actually take that sort of stance, nor do I.
    What you are is more correctly defined as an agnostic atheist or a weak atheist.
    No. The absolute stance that no god exists, is pretty much the definition of the term. Atheist is derived from the Greek adjective atheos, literally translated as "godless." Those who deny knowledge of god, literally those who claim to not know the answer, are agnostics, again, from the Greek, "without knowledge," and specifically means that one considers spiritual questions, such as the existence of god, inherently impossible to prove or disprove. An Atheist Agnostic is therefore a contradiction in terms, and a "weak atheist" is someone who denies the existence of any god and cannot do push-ups.
    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    Sometimes I attack the believer... but more often than not, I'm defending against their attacks, misconceptions and falsehoods. The article itself was such an attack.
    In my experience with you, you attack believers through derision of their beliefs.
    --Odysseus
    Sic Hacer Pace, Para Bellum.

    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    But who says that your tenets are the truth? And why does belief automatically become a deficit of reason and common sense? Can't you see the hostility that you bring to the table before you even begin to speak? Does that anger serve you well?

    Ah, but atheists are quick to point out the percentage of believers in prisons and tar all believers as ignorant, blue collar yokels. Besides, the point is that the author seeks to associate atheism with respectable professions, which had nothing to do with Ms. Allen's argument.

    No. The absolute stance that no god exists, is pretty much the definition of the term. Atheist is derived from the Greek adjective atheos, literally translated as "godless." Those who deny knowledge of god, literally those who claim to not know the answer, are agnostics, again, from the Greek, "without knowledge," and specifically means that one considers spiritual questions, such as the existence of god, inherently impossible to prove or disprove. An Atheist Agnostic is therefore a contradiction in terms, and a "weak atheist" is someone who denies the existence of any god and cannot do push-ups.

    In my experience with you, you attack believers through derision of their beliefs.
    Perhaps we could somehow turn this argument into a pro jewish state thing and sic the Gator on his ass !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    ...In my experience with you, you attack believers through derision of their beliefs.
    I think you will see that the facts contradict your experience. If you do a search on "atheist" for example, you will find that the vast majority of threads that really deal with atheism (and don't simply contain the word) have been started by those theists here to initiate argument. In fact, as has been pointed out, this is the second time around for this thread.
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