The Atheist’s Self Help Blog or How To Save an Ideology While Getting Girls To Like You! Part II Being – Practice What Ye Preacheth

Its an assumption we might as well take for fact, that if one were to see a man preaching his foolproof method of avoiding alcoholism while proceeding to get entirely trashed, one would assume something wrong with the method, and certainly something wrong with the man. That much would be an easy reaction. The exceedingly difficult – if not impossible – reaction would be to ignore the incongruity of the drunken man, and to follow his method of abstinence. (Actually, it’s just plain difficult to follow any method of abstinence, but you see my point.)

Perhaps you are only drowsy, not drunk, or perhaps you are simply ill-represented. But Atheism – dear Atheism – the world cannot help but see you in the position of this drunk puritan, or the priest with a mistress, or the vegan, granola-crunching hipster who smokes menthols.  It’s the incongruities that are killing your street creds.

And it's just not fair to people listening...

For instance, you’ve taken the noble and true stance of laughing at Creationists. (This – to some extent – is a national past-time that atheists and Catholics can get down with.) “What narrow interpretation of the Bible! What embarrassingly literal reading of a text that is clearly in the style of poetry and story!” you cry, and the world nods with you. In this you shine, truly standing against ignorance and idiocy. Indeed, I believe you must recognize this, given that such a large portion of your literature, memes, advertising, jokes, and general culture seem focused on this debate that is not a debate.

It is awkward then, that when you’ve finished saying “I can’t believe you think the world is 6000 years old because it’s in the Bible,” you turn and, often in the same breath, say, “Look how awful your God is! It’s right there in the Bible!” You want to have your cake, and eat Catholics too. But the inconsistency isn’t helping you. If you want to mock some one for not taking into account the obvious poetic context of the Creation Stories, you cannot then ignore the obvious historical context of the Old Law. Well you can, but then you’ve given any one who can comprehend an ‘if…then…’ statement free reign to mock you. Which I can.

Mockmockmockmockmock.

Likewise, and similarly, and excellently, atheism is in the habit of calling out Christians who make stupid, emotional or stupidly emotional appeals for the existence of God. Observe the girl – OK, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that’s sexist – observe the guy who makes a YouTube video explaining, “God is real, I can prove this because I was praying the other day and I felt his love.” Or the tract that reads “The Bible is true because the Bible is the Word of God”, or the preacher who confronts you and cries, “How can you not believe in God? Look! Right here in Romans it says…” Or the lady who claims to know God exists because He answers her prayers.

Atheism does the world a great service when they kindly mention to these folks that such things are within the realms of personal experience and pre-conceived conception, and do not hold weight in a logical debate. It’s especially helpful to the Catholic, because later, when the Pentecostal we’re arguing with wants to say, “But God hasn’t told me that contraception is bad!” they might think of your lightly ironic comment on their YouTube video, and be staid.

Given that, this is really awkward. To quote my friend who shared this video with me “Now I know it’ll be hard to sit through the whole thing because you might already be on the ground laughing but the last 45 seconds are the best.”

YouTube Preview Image

Now the non-existence of God seems to me to be of minor concern when compared to the non-existence of that gentleman’s forehead. But seriously, how is that atheism manages to say, “Just because you believe that God is real because you’ve seen his goodness doesn’t mean he’s real,” and then turn and cry, “In my experience religion brings nothing but badness and evil, how could there be a God?” To clarify: if the subjective experience of good/love/peace is no logical argument for God, then the subjective experience of bad/hatred/discord cannot be used as an argument against God. Atheism and I, we are watching a beggar. Christian Number 1 walks by and gives him everything he owns. Christian Number Two walks by and kicks him in the face. Is there a God? What a ridiculous question. Arguments in this similarily incongruous vein include ”God doesn’t answer my prayers, therefore God doesn’t exist,” and “I believe that war is wrong, God has been the cause of many wars, therefore your God is evil.” I have no problem with the making of these arguments, but it follows that if you do, you cannot begrudge the Christian who tells you “God answers my prayers, therefore God exists.”

Now these are the minor, argumentative incongruities that discredit atheism. Easily fixed, by the radical act of not using them. The real interesting ones are the major contradictions. The atheist who denies objective morality and lives a shockingly moral life, the materialist who falls in love and gets married, the Darwinist who donates to charities, the moral relativist who gets angry when you punch him in the face, the relativist who tells you what he’s saying is true, or Christopher Hitchens, on a large metal tube with wings, being flown by a pilot he doesn’t know to a conference where he will tell the crowd that “faith is a kind of disease.” But you’ve all heard these absurdities. So, until next time.

  • Rc3971

    “For your penance, turn yourself in to the police.” Isn’t that an option???

    • Aklord13

      I’d also maintain that if someone were truly penitent (which of course you can’t say is the case for everyone seeking the sacrament of Reconciliation, but that’s God’s place to decide), they wouldn’t use God’s mercy as an “out”… if one were truly sorry for such a crime as rape, really and truly sorry, I would hope that that repentance would lead to making it as right as possible… going to the police, seeking forgiveness from those harmed, etc.

      • Laura

        Probably, but I guess there is such a thing as being truly sorry but really scared to face the consequences

  • Jack Viere

    I find that my departure from a more atheistic setting and moving to a Jesuit university has turned me into the devil’s advocate more often than not. I think in this instance, addressing the incongruities of atheists says a lot of being in touch with reality. However, at the same time, addressing atheism is giving its cynicism credence. I’m not suggesting that atheistic claims are therefore not to be heard and consequently have no value. But, I find that comparing and contrasting the similarities (indirectly) and the differences (directly) between “moral objectivists” and atheists is a moot point. The atheist you depicted is one that isn’t open to hearing any type of Christian rationalization of God, morals, faith etc.
    Might I suggest that you play off of Christianity’s, particularly Catholicism’s, overwhelming doctrine instead of a side by side analysis of Christianity to atheism? And, from what I’ve found when doing that to the best of my abilities, the cynicism/close-mindedness will still continues: “We don’t believe in God.” “The Bible says there’s a God.” “We don’t believe in the Bible…” etc
    I think that if you use more grounded, morally sound arguments (that certainly parallel in Christianity’s rationalization of God, morals, faith etc), which I have seen in previous posts of yours, instead of arguments that can be attacked by the cynical counterarguers as fallacious, your observations would be backed by a more objective claim.
    My point is that it’s very easy to use the “God doesn’t exist card” and have that countered by “Yes he does, my Christian sources say so” gets people nowhere…The same can be said about many current events that revolve around “morals and rights.”

    ^^^
    That’s just me trying to apply what I’ve learned in my Moral Foundations class
    :p
    congrats on switching to patheos, hope the transition is treating you well

    Jack
    http://kleshasandtanhas.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    I have said that, for an entity capable of experiencing its own existence to say “There is no evidence for God”, is like for a sapient fireball to say “There is no evidence for heat”.

    But most atheists never get past the guy with beard on cloud version of God; when you explain about the Actus Subsistens Essendi, they think you’re trying to bafflegab them.

    • Laura

      Why is it that they are so fixated with the beard situation?

      • Penny Farthing1893

        I think it’s because it’s easier to argue against “Baby’s First Bible Stories” than 20 centuries of Christian philosophy forged in reason and disciplined thought (most of which they haven’t read). The beard is one they got from a Halloween store, that they put on their straw man.

    • Anonymous

      Did you mean “Ipse Actus Essendi subsistens“?

  • Hamanarhudson1

    Your young athiest makes me want to cry, not laugh.

    I have met it often in lapsed Christians. A conversation will arise, most delightful, and suddenly, it turns. They are arguing, not with me, but some person in their past – father, mother, whatever… Most surprising, and saddening, cause the ears close, the eyes glaze, are in some historic conversation, and the thread of dialogue is broken.

    I agree, I prefer the delight in your faith approach! Not your mocking of lost sheep.

    • Marc

      I disagree most strongly! We need both; there is a glaze to the New Atheist that can only be cracked by humor and antagonism. It is all that will make consider the possibility that the might be wrong, and thus even be remotely open to the ‘delight-in-your-faith-approach’. In a perfect world it would be otherwise, but in reality the close-minded don’t tear up about the the beauty of truth any more than I tear up about the more delightful elements of Hinduism.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/QE25FUVJ4RSDX2P7QY6PUW5F4U Andrew

    Hey, love your stuff, but can you please do me (and all the future readers who haven’t discovered your rapier wit yet) a favor and tag your blogs? Years from now I’d love to be able to search a category called “atheism” on your site and find all the articles in your “what’s wrong with atheists” series.

  • gavin.doyle

    “But seriously, how is that atheism manages to say, “Just because you believe that God is real because you’ve seen his goodness doesn’t mean he’s real,” and then turn and cry, “In my experience religion brings nothing but badness and evil, how could there be a God?” To clarify: if the subjective experience of good/love/peace is no logical argument for God, then the subjective experience of bad/hatred/discord cannot be used as an argument against God.
    [..]
    Now these are the minor, argumentative incongruities that discredit atheism. Easily fixed, by the radical act of not using them.

    Also, easily fixed by dropping the three word prepositional phrase ‘in my experience’.

    • Anonymous

      Atheist regimes killed more people between 1917 and 1989 than all religions, ever, killed from the Bronze Age till the present. That’s not counting China’s millions and Cuba’s thousands of killings after 1989.

      Neo-Confucianism is also an atheist ideology, by the bye (it props up state cults purely for social utility), and it’s killed more people than any religion except Islam. Of the top 5 murderous ideologies in history, #1, #2, and #4 are atheist (Communism’s first, then Nazism). # 3 is Islam, #5 is Protestantism, #6 is probably the Aztec state (which, did you know?, established “deliberate violation of the taboos common to Meso-American religions” as a terror-tactic)…and #7 is Stoicism, which, again: atheist.

      Atheism is the worst thing ever to happen to humanity, bar none. That doesn’t mean it might not be true—it just means if it is, Nietzsche was right, and atheists have no right to moral posturing, since there is no morality.

      Remember, when you look into the void, the void looks back into you.

      • gavin.doyle

        Have a read of this : Was atheism the cause of 20th century atrocities?
        http://www.makingmyway.org/?p=36

      • Korou

        Where exactly in the handbook of atheism does it tell you to do evil? Or indeed where does is tell you to do anything?

        Come to think of it, do we have a handbook of atheism?

        It would be better to say that Nazism and Communism were the worst things that ever happened to humanity. Dogmatic, faith-based totalitarian ideologies with quite a lot in common with religion.

      • ACtheV

        Sophia? I have a question. I am not saying I disagree with you, but can you tell me where to get these facts? Thanks.

  • http://www.philomenasmile.wordpress.com/ Adopted_heir

    I love how he talked about going into our ‘Catholic booth.’ Is that like the TARDIS?

  • Korou

    Marc, why do you think atheists would listen to such an obvious Concern Troll?

    You said:
    But seriously, how is that atheism manages to say, “Just because you believe that God is real because you’ve seen his goodness doesn’t mean he’s real,” and then turn and cry, “In my experience religion brings nothing but badness and evil, how could there be a God?”

    I think it would be better to say:
    Just because you believe that God is real because you see goodness in life which you ascribe to him, doesn’t mean he is real. However, in my experience religion brings nothing but badness and evil, which it would not if God were real, because He would act to prevent it.

    See? No contradiction at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

    What’s so hypocritical about a moral relativist living a life you find moral? I’m a moral relativist, and I try to live a moral life by my standards too.


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