Posted by: gebs | April 27, 2008

The Hostility of Atheism

In a comment against an article on the latest encyclical by the pope, one commentator writes: “no, this pope does not surprise us at all. He is just as narrow and bigoted and exclusive as his church.”  It is funny how one seems to think it is somehow possible make this argument whilst by being exclusive, narrow minded and bigoted!

 

Ignorance seems not only to be blissful but also very vocal.  No one would deny that the church has been part of many evil things in the darkened history of human evolution.  But truth also demands that we also see some of the great goodness that has come from its existence.  Some of the core values that people use to argue against the church were themselves introduced into the social psyche by Christianity.  Although freedom and equality, for example, have been hijacked by secular mentality, their origin has a particular context and meaning.  Today, most of these concepts have been manipulated for human desires, perhaps in the same way many accuse the church of manipulating people.  The church is a human institution, which is prone to human error, trying to understand and preach a revealed message, a message whose source came from outside the human condition.  Like all things human, including our very own self, it has fallen and will continue to fall.  As a modern day Catholic I do not deny the sins of the organisation I belong to.  I seek, however, to forgive these things, as I have been forgiven for my own faults and in the way I must forgive my own self if I am to grow from my failings and become a better person.  I do not ignorantly assume that I am somehow superior to my ancestors, only because I now have a computer and a defibrillator.  Although the nature of my belief in God has changed, I cannot simply dismiss my need for it as being illusionary.  All these things can help me to become a better believer, more conscious of the traps that religion can create.  But to think that religion itself is the problem seems naive beyond imagination.  Religion is simply one of the many things in my life which can become good or for evil.  The root of evil is not religion itself, but my actions and the actions of those around me.  If I argue that the church is an evil institution with teaches only hate and exclusion, whilst using these very things within my own reasoning, what is it that I have done?  I have simply illustrated my point that the very issues that Christianity is trying to address, are not solved without it and are indeed exaggerated under the guise of my own foolishness and stubbornness, which have clearly led to my own blindness. 

 

One thing seems certain; hate leaves no room for listening.  Hate fuels the need to express itself and often overwhelms the person that tries to control it.  Hate does not seem to have the ability to stay silent the same way love does and perhaps this is one of the reasons why most responses have been made by hostile parties.  The hate that has been articulated against the church is a clear example of this.  There seems to be no room for negotiation in the arguments used against the church.  It is somewhat humorous to see the degree of fundamentalism that is embedded in all the so called atheistic arguments, somewhat ignorantly made as an attack against believers, who they accuse of being what they themselves are!  If it is one thing my own faith has taught me, it is to realise the inability of my own nature to fathom all things and take pride in what I know.  Only a position of pride can lead me to violently attack what I deem to be inferior, which in this case is the church and its believers.  If only the atheists would question their own position in the same way they question their opponents.  By denying any need for introspection and spiritual growth, the atheists seems to be blinded by their own arguments.    

 

How silly and ignorant it is to deny the heritage of religion and its evidence in human history?  How fundamentalist it is to deny any possibility that one can be in error and that they are indeed not better than any one else?  How ignorant is it to deny the benefits that religion has brought to so many people in the world who can find only God to answer their fears and otherwise meaningless suffering?  It is equally, if not more ignorant, than to claim that religion is not prone to human error.  But what kind of person would pretend that they have no need for salvation in their life, when the very world in which they live is yearning with all its energy for such salvation, peace and harmony.  These same people would argue that technological process and science has meant a better life for our world, despite the truth that unhappiness is ever more rampant in our societies and suicide has never been higher!

 

Thank God for his continuing work in our world, despite our ongoing need to reject him and continually crucify his redeeming message of love and forgiveness.           

    


Responses

  1. Once again… once again.

    First you decry someone calling the pope a bigot because… okay lets be honest- “I’m rubber and your glue” went out of fashion in the… Max? 3rd or 4th grade.

    Then you claim that the Catholic Church brought freedom and equality. I, of course was under the impression these concepts excist because people don’t like being slaves or serfs, but according to you they didn’t exist until the one true faith blessed them upon us. Naturally this ignores the overwhelming majority of human history (hunter gathers are big on equality and many settled groups valued freedom, although in varying degrees), but lets slug on.

    Then you claim the church is a human institution. Maybe you forgot the part where the pope is God’s representative on Earth? Yeah- not exactly human now. It is like saying a foreign embassy is an American institution. Minor doctrine point really.

    Oh, I am strong in my hate. I hate injustice, I hate tyranny and I hate stupidity. But above all else I hate the sickenly poor thinking that characterizes leftists and moderates- poor thoughts, vapant excuses, words without substance. They are what drive stupidity and ignorance. Without them, without having to expend my strength to rally people… being actually able tow work to fix things…

    I am completely and utterly intolerant of those who would utter buzzwords without even understanding how flawed their statements are. Atheists are fundamentalists because of the tone of their retoric. You hear that? If you raise your voice you are a fundamentalist!

    Congradulations- you have butchered both thought and the English language. You lack understanding girl. You assume that the atheists don’t question to their position- simply because they are vocal and have a position different from your own! I think, I question, I doubt. I have no faith, I use no false answers- I follow the evidence and logic to where it may lead.

    And for that you dismiss me as a fundamentalist. You refuse to hear me. You repeat trite comments and catchy slogans that wouldn’t be out of place in Oceania or a NOD bunker.

    In the end you are blind to what you are saying. Look over your words, line by line and with luck you would see the problem. Do you see it yet? Do you understand? Maybe… maybe. Maybe you’ll see the crucial flaw that your post has- it is completely unrelated to God’s existance. Truth is a valuable commodity- never forget that. God does not exist. It doesn’t matter how beneficial you claim the faith is, how traditional it is or any other matter- all atheists claim is they don’t believe in God, and all strong atheists claim is that he doesn’t exist. Only antitheist take the next, necesary steps and argue against the church itself.

    Now, I know this is unlikely to affect you. I’d pray for you, but I am not driven by hedonism- it would only make me feel better. Prayer doesn’t work and God doesn’t exist… I hope that you can learn, but… but I doubt it. I have tried… stupid optomism, I have tried on so many blogs, so many posts… but believers are like unsinkable rubber ducks. Oh, sure- I have seen those who have deconverted, but in the end I have, as ever, failed to change someones mind.

    So think this over. You decry atheists as being incapable of believing they are in error, ignoring history, ignoring peoples real needs, being intolerant, being assholes… now look up projection in a psych dictionary- you are attributing to these people your feelings, your opinions, your actions and ideas.

    Never forget atheists are real people. They are not communists- they don’t have a doctrine. They are simply people who have no belief in God or they don’t believe God exists. That is all. They are not here to slaughter infidels, to shut down science, to sieze the government or to destroy the world.

    Please consider this. All of it. Ask if the reasoning you use for religion is the same you use for everything else. If it is different… ask yourself why. Why should I think something is true is the most important and powerful questions you can ask.

  2. Once again, my friend Skinner :).

    Excuse my ignorance but I do not understand your first comment. I will however take the time, as you requested, to try and listen as well as comment on your remarks.The format of my reponse is one pragraph for each point you have made.

    Even with your amateur look at history I will accept that elements of some types of freedom and equality may have existed in ‘hunter gatherers’. Let me use one more specific example. ‘Love your enemy’. This concept had one particular origin neither I nor any atheist can deny, despite any ability to argue against its crucial significance if peace is to prosper on earth.

    The church is a human institution. Listen. Representative does not equal God. But of course you seem to be more logical than me, right? Because I’m just a narrow minded, brain washed believer. But let’s not start throwing emotional accusations at each other despite the fuel that exists on the fire.

    Your next paragraph is a pure example of the hate you ridicule. It is bias and uncompromising in its stance. It is a clear example of the ignorance you hate so much.

    Please look at your own spelling and grammar mistakes before accusing me of poor use of English. I do not claim to be an English academic and it is considered my second language. I did not say that if you raise your voice you are a fundamentalist. They are your words, and not the meaning I intended. The meaning is more nuanced than that and I suspect that is why you have missed it. Atheists don’t question their position, for the same reason all fundamentalists (including religious ones) refuse to.

    Fundamentalism is ALSO very rampant amongst atheists despite their inability to see it. You do not follow evidence, but your own judgment of evidence and what you class to be viable evidence, which by no doubt is empirically measured. Evidence and logic are two different things. According to some peoples logic, the unseen is equally as existent as the seen.
    I do not refuse to hear you, but what you are saying is not all that you make it out to be. Read St John of the Cross and tell me if you understand anything before you dismiss it.

    Now I have looked over my words and do not see this thing that you point to. How is my post not related to God existence when it is clear that I equate truth with God? Do not be fooled my good friend, I value truth as much as you do, but please do not pretend to know whether or not God exists. For an atheist to deny God exists, he must first assume to know what God is, which even a believer does not admit. What is it that you are denying? What does it mean to say that God exists?

    By the way, my post is directly related to the church, so it is necessary for me to use the church in my argument.

    I understand your frustration at believers. Many believers feel the same frustration at atheists. I do not pretend for a minute that I have no doubt, and that no word ever goes unheard. Your arguments seem good enough. But you will not change my mind, as I will not change yours. There is no need for hostility at this truth. Faith, my friend, is a gift that is accepted or rejected. Although I cannot describe my faith with the same passions as you describe your own empirical beliefs, I do not have to. Faith is something that brings with it the capacity to believe. So do not be angry at us or your self. For, if there is a God, then surely he loves you as equally as he love me. As Jesus indeed revealed.

    I do not hate atheists and this is the wrong way to interpret my post. It is the words of my own thoughts which I have chosen to post on my blog. Judging by the responses made to the article my post was referring to, I am glad that I have not received more comments and often regret not staying silent.

    You end by asking a question about truth, which is riddled with the grammatical errors you so easily accuse me of! You are right, I do think that truth is the most important and powerful question one can ask.

    Thanks.


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