Paul Prather is a “contributing columnist” to the Lexington Herald-Leader. He’s a pastor who has written an awful piece about atheism.
And they wonder why no one reads newspapers anymore…
Here’s a guy who stereotypes atheists while he writes that we stereotype Christians.
He makes the same mistakes we’ve seen Christians make time and time again.
The irony is that this current brand of aggressive atheism is just another form of fundamentalism. These particular atheists are zealots on the subject of faith who see no shadings of gray, only black and white. They’re dead-set against religion but weirdly obsessed with it.
Oooh… he trots out the “fundamentalism” line without explaining what that means in the context of atheism.
I guess it means we *really* don’t believe in god.
Though we’re not killing people over it… or trying to change laws to suit our personal beliefs at the expense of everyone else’s…
Why are we “obsessed” with religion?
Because it’s based on falsehoods and mythology and yet people revolve their lives around it. Because of religion, atheists are distrusted and (almost) unelectable. Children have been killed because of their parents’ religious beliefs. Religion is the reason our educational standards in history and science are dropping quickly. Oh, hell, Greta Christina said it better than I ever could.
My objection to the new atheists isn’t that they’re atheists.
It’s that they strike me as hypocrites, which is the charge they unfailingly level, with mixed justification, against the religious. In opposing religion in the manner they do, they betray themselves as possessing the traits they profess to loathe.
They’re smug, dogmatic and mean-spirited. They trot out tired, half-truthful stereotypes, and they cherry-pick historical examples of religious wrongdoing while ignoring the innumerable instances in which the faithful have performed great acts of decency and charity.
We’re smug? The evidence is on our side. It’s called confidence.
We’re dogmatic? We’re the ones who will change our minds if you present us with evidence that we’re wrong. What would it take to change your mind about god?
We’re mean-spirited? No doubt there is a wide range of tones among atheists — but it sounds like Prather is calling all atheists “mean-spirited.” He can’t seem to find one example of a friendly atheist. Stereotyping much?
Have religious people done horrible thing throughout history? Obviously.
Do they do horrible things now? Without a doubt.
Do religion people perform “great acts of decency and charity”? Sure. Some of them. But I don’t know any atheist who has denied that, including Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
They pretend that all Christians are bigots prone to violence. They claim that Christians are by definition illogical bumpkins who mindlessly accept fairy tales.
Umm… what? Not all Christians are bigots nor are they violent.
Hell, most of them — damn near every one I know personally — are neither.
That said, how many large churches can you name where the majority of the congregation supports gay marriage?
Actually, Why Wont God Heal Amputees suggests Prather’s assertion about Christians being bigots/violent is true:
All Christians ARE bigots prone to violence. All Christians believe that anyone who does not proclaim Jesus to be the one and only son of God will be tortured in hell for eternity. Eternal torture is violence. The belief that all outsiders will be treated in this violent manner is bigotry.
Are Christians illogical? Absolutely. If you believe in a talking snake, a literal Noah’s Ark, the existence of Heaven and Hell, or that anyone’s listening to your prayers, it’s true, you are “mindlessly accepting fairy tales.”
Even moderate Christians who see most of the Bible as a metaphor believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
Are Christians stupid? Not at all. You can go to any church in this country and find people with advanced degrees, “smart” jobs, and intelligent opinions. Personally, I think a lot of them compartmentalize what they learn in church with their experience in the real world.
I wish these atheists would venture, say, into a seminary library. They’d find tens of thousands of volumes written by thinkers great and obscure across two millennia.
They’d find works by scholars who take every word of the Bible literally and works by others who argue that most of the Scripture is made up and that Jesus said almost nothing attributed to him. They’d find every gradation between those extremes.
If we read this books in a seminary library, what would we find? Some Christians are kinder than others? More tolerant? Shocking.
You know what you wouldn’t find? Any reason to believe that there’s any truth in the Christian myth.
The newspaper should be embarrassed they published this piece.
Tucker Phelps is far gentler in his dismantling of Prather’s piece:
Look below the surface, understand the differences, then make your argument. I wouldn’t attack a scientifically literate religious moderate on matters of Creationism — I’d ask them their thoughts on the science of consciousness and what this means for their belief in a mind as separate from body. Don’t attack us over your misunderstanding and we’ll promise not to do the same.