God is on the Side of the Atheists

Here’s an interesting take on the current atheist rage in America, from The Phoenix.

There are several lines that strike me in a bad way, though, even when I know the reporter James Parker is just trying to be cute with words.

There’s no doubt about it: right now, God is on the side of the atheists.

The apostles of unbelief are having their Pentecostal moment. The spirit is upon them, endowing them with the gift of tongues and commanding them to spread the Bad News.

That needs to stop.

In pure publishing terms, this mini-boom in godlessness can be interpreted as a backlash against the mumbo-jumbo juggernaut of The Da Vinci Code and its ilk.

The Da Vinci Code?! The reporter thinks these books are a backlash against The Da Vinci Code?! No! That’s a work of fiction. We don’t care about that.

The atheist books are a backlash against the Religious Right, Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, irrational thinking, religious indoctrination, and so much more.

Secularism is not glorious: it’s a dude in Starbucks tweaking his Blackberry.

WTF?

And that’s just the first three paragraphs.

It gets better after that, though. I promise.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Pentecostal, The Da Vinci Code, Religious Right, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Starbucks, Blackberry, James Parker[/tags]

  • Richard Wade

    Hemant, don’t just tell us, tell Parker. If he’s full of crap just to be cute, he should be called on it. You’re in an excellent position to write and have printed a rebuttal, as a published atheist author who’s not just defending himself because he was mentioned in Parker’s article. Kick his ass in your inimitable friendly way.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Richard– Not a bad thought. Let me consider that in the morning :) Good night to you.

  • http://fivepublicopinions.blogspot.com AV

    You’re right–the article does get much better, and on balance it appears to agree with you on the point that:

    The atheist books are a backlash against the Religious Right, Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, irrational thinking, religious indoctrination, and so much more.

  • http://misanthropic-bastard.blogspot.com/ Rasputin

    “That’s a work of fiction. We don’t care about that.”

    At the risk of being a tad pedantic, we care about the Bible too don’t we? You know, the way we’d care if a pedophile moved in next door.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Hemant, after looking at his archieve at The Phoenix I’d object to calling James Parker a “reporter”, he’s a features writer at best, an opinion “journalist” at worst. Reporters should be the cream of journalism, the ones who don’t deal in opinion, the ones who go out, find facts, get two independent verifications of those facts and then publishes those facts, no matter what the facts are.

    That said, I don’t think his bilge is much worse than the bilge that the recent pop-atheism is made of. I’ve gone on a lot of atheist blogs (yours is the best of those, by the way) and have found that while there is a lot of attitude and some platitudes about reason that you are more likely to find informed viewpoints from people who have some sense of their own limitations on liberal religious blogs. I have yet to find one that is even relatively free of bigotry and nonsense.

    Call James Parker out, by all means, it is a service to the truth to call out bigotry where you find it. But a thorough examiniation of conscience should be a part of everyones’ day.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    atheist rage

    Really? Has it come that far?

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    That article made no sense at all. It was as if the author was trying to write in Hitchens’s acerbic style but couldn’t quite pull it off. I never could decide what his point was.

  • Jonathan

    I’m not sure I think the article got any better. This was almost at the end. Talk about profoundly missing the point.

    Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris also share a peculiar quality of being pissed at God: for professed disbelievers in a Supreme Being, their attacks on him are rather personal. Dawkins says He’s lazy. Hitchens compares Him to Kim Jong-Il. “Our own bodies,” writes Harris irritably, “testify to the whimsy and incompetence of the creator.”

  • Mriana

    You know, it sounds to me, that this guy has no clue what atheism is about. IF he and others truly believe this, I’m afraid Dawkins, Dennett, and Harris missed their goal. Either that or religious extremists are full of hatred for things that doe not fit in with their ideology.

    Of course, the strongly religious people insist I am an atheist and I keep saying, “No, I am a non-theist.” The liberal Christians accept my natural human concept, even though it is non-theistic. Be that as it may, I will admit I can appear to be an atheist, which makes something Harris say to be true about atheism, I guess.

    Be that as it may, I’m wondering if the problem is because the three gentlemen did not show an alternative to religious belief, besides atheism. What would happen if they had explained Humanism here and there in their books? I know, Harris didn’t, although I’ve not finished his book yet and I haven’t begun Dawkins’s book yet.

    The pastor then threw Dawkins and the camera crew off his land, uttering the classic creationist retort: “You called my children animals!”

    Well, humans are animals and Haggard is not god. I have to agree with Harris on the intellectualism, or lack there of, and Dawkins statement of it being the instrument of torture and execution. IMHO, religion is a source of misery no matter how you look at it. It is an attempt to control the masses.

  • Darryl

    Things seem to be coming to a head. The pundits are already predicting that 2008 will be a year filled with religious talk surrounding the Presidential campaign. Brace yourselves for a lot of nastiness. The Right and Left will both be vying for the values voters and trying to out-Jesus each other. Throw the atheist rhetoric into the mix and things are going to get crazy. Fear, the war in Iraq, Rudy and 9-11, talk radio, cable TV, fundamentalism, partisan political fighting, Congressional jockeying, wall-to-wall negative TV ads, creationism/evolution, Mormonism, demagoguery, etc. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

  • Tim

    Darryl said,
    Things seem to be coming to a head. The pundits are already predicting that 2008 will be a year filled with religious talk surrounding the Presidential campaign. Brace yourselves for a lot of nastiness. The Right and Left will both be vying for the values voters and trying to out-Jesus each other. Throw the atheist rhetoric into the mix and things are going to get crazy. Fear, the war in Iraq, Rudy and 9-11, talk radio, cable TV, fundamentalism, partisan political fighting, Congressional jockeying, wall-to-wall negative TV ads, creationism/evolution, Mormonism, demagoguery, etc. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

    That actually sounds like a lot of fun, if you ask me!

  • Mriana

    It makes me sick too. How can they violate the 1st amendment and no one seems to care? It doesn’t seem like much fun to me. :( It sounds like more crap to me.

  • Miko

    It makes me sick too. How can they violate the 1st amendment and no one seems to care? It doesn’t seem like much fun to me. :( It sounds like more crap to me.

    “So this is how democracy ends… To thunderous applause.”

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    “So this is how democracy ends… To thunderous applause.”

    No, it ends in back room deals with corporate lobbyists. For all the danger of religious demagoguery in the next election, I still think the influence of big business and corporate greed on politics is a far greater threat to democracy right now than anything else we can imagine.

    But I love the Star Wars quote! (Even though I hated the prequels.) :)

  • Miko

    No, it ends in back room deals with corporate lobbyists. For all the danger of religious demagoguery in the next election, I still think the influence of big business and corporate greed on politics is a far greater threat to democracy right now than anything else we can imagine.

    If only this were an issue which only plagued one party. As Emerson said, property will always write the laws for property. There are companies out there that are paying billions and billions of dollars a year in income taxes. Anything that big is obviously a threat to democracy. If the right few people decided it was in their interest, they could probably bankrupt the United States. Of course, somewhat ironically the populist message of low interest rate take-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor would cause so much inflation that the money would cease to have any real value. Rocking the boat too far in either direction brings disaster. While backroom deals are unquestionably bad for about 85% of the U.S. population, democracy does have one thing in its favor: business values consistency above all else. When populists start suggesting we intentionally cause double-digit inflation in order to “predistribute” wealth, business gets worried. As long as that’s not happening, business is pretty content to work with either party. That said, making things religious is the trick that the corporate types use in order to sneak in their agenda.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    If only this were an issue which only plagued one party.

    Indeed. Which is why I typically vote third party whenever I can.

    BTW, have you ever read “Jennifer Government”? It’s like the converse of 1984 – what happens when corporations have all the power and government has none?

  • monkeymind

    Which is why I typically vote third party whenever I can.

    A Green and an Alfie Kohn reader – you my soul bruthah!

  • Darryl

    I’m registered as an Independent, and I usually find more in common with Democrats because the Republicans have gone so far out. But, I’m pissed at both parties now for the reason Mike gave and because of the pervasive corruption. Congress is pitiful. The rule of law is a joke. Politics has ceased to be a noble endeavor in their hands. The system seems to have spun out of control, and taken on a life of its own. It’s almost like inertia–this behemoth is in motion, and it won’t stop until it goes crashing into some equally huge object.

  • Maria

    The atheist books are a backlash against the Religious Right, Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, irrational thinking, religious indoctrination, and so much more.

    I agree. Apparently Parker failed to notice that these books started coming out after years of the religious right pushing their radical agenda. They’ve been pushing it with extreme force ever since Bush got “elected” (I still can’t figure out how that happened, no one I know voted for him!)


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