Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Evengelical Atheism

Atheist Evangelicals

I confess that I have never really understood the point of "evangelical atheism". Certainly, we all have the right to believe or not; that was the primary point of Europeans coming to this continent in the first place. Unless another person's belief directly (or indirectly) interferes with my life or the exercise of my rights, it is of no concern to me.

While religion has been a point of contention for the whole of mankind's history, here in the United States, it has been practiced, in all of it's various forms, in extraordinary peace and tranquility. With the exception of Muslims, for whom murder and mayhem seem to be a malevolent sacrament, all manners of beliefs have been brought to these shores and practiced, virtually free of bloodshed and violence.

Jews and Christians do not find the others' beliefs offensive. Muslims...well, Muslims simply do not play well with others, but that's certainly not a problem peculiar to the United States, though it does seem to be peculiar to Islam. It's pretty clear that the United States has achieved a religious "melting pot" that should be the envy of the world.

That said, I must question the reasoning behind this:
Religions are 'Scams,' Atheist Group Declares in Alabama Advertisement

A new advertisement in Alabama by a national atheist group is reportedly declaring religions to be "scams."

The Huntsville ad -- produced by the American Atheists -- displays the message "You know they're all scams" alongside pictures of religious symbols, such as Islam's crescent moon and star, the cross and the Jewish star, according to the Christian Post.

The billboard also claims that the national group has been "telling the truth since 1963."

The American Atheists define "scam" as a fraudulent business scheme or ploy to intentionally mislead a person, usually with the goal of financial gains, the Post reports.

According to the group, "all religions make lots of promises about an afterlife that doesn't exist."

Here's a video report on the story:

The billboard in question was erected by American Atheists. According to their website, you can be a member (for a year) for as little as $15, or become a Life Member for $2,400. There's also an online store where all manners of merchandise is available. May I remind you of their definition of a "scam" from the piece above:
The American Atheists define "scam" as a fraudulent business scheme or ploy to intentionally mislead a person, usually with the goal of financial gains, the Post reports.
I may attend any church or synagogue in the country, free of charge. To my knowledge, there nary a one that charges admission. Yes, I may contribute to that church or synagogue, but only should I choose to do so - any amount is welcome. On the other hand, one may also be an atheist, free of charge, but may also choose to make it more "official" by joining the club and get the newsletter (for $15 - $2,400) or by buying a nifty T-shirt, or other sundry merchandise, to boldly proclaim one's emancipation from God, to anyone who cares. Personally, I would like further clarification on the "scam" charge.

Ah, but I digress. Why the vehement attacks upon the beliefs of others and what end do they serve? Belief, or lack thereof, is generally a very personal experience and generally not shared with strangers. Why atheists find the beliefs of others so personally offensive that they would actively act to quash them is a mystery.

Theism is no more than a belief system based upon faith in something that cannot be rationally explained or proven, as is atheism. Atheists can no more prove the absence of an afterlife than theists can prove its existence. Theists believe, and atheists disbelieve, each with an equal amount of provable evidence to support their position

Evangelical atheists, on the other hand, seem so fervent in their disbelief, so zealous in their lack of faith, that they feel compelled to cast aspersions upon anyone who has an opposing view.

So, at what point does evangelical atheism become a "religion" unto itself, replete with zealous preachers intent upon delivering "the truth" to the benighted? It would appear that point has been reached.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dale!
As Thomas Jefferson said.
"If my neighbor believes in 20 gods or no god, it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket!"


Dale Weeks said...

Indeed. I care not if my neighbor wishes to worship a Buick as his god, so long as he not blow up my Camry, or make attempts on my life or the lives of others as his sacrament.