For some reason, it seems to drive people who believe in gods crazy that “secularists” don’t, and that we tend to wear coronavirus masks.
Unable to wrap their heads around this unsettling idea of religious doubt, much less full-bore atheism, true believers seem wholly incapable of framing the curious mask issue in anything but religious terms.
And the belief vs. nonbelief issue du jour is the wearing of masks, universally urged by epidemiologists and public health experts largely to protect others (as well as ourselves) from coronavirus infection in a nasty pandemic that is worsening by the hour.
“Mask-wearing has become a totem, a secular religious symbol,” said Alex Castellanos, a prominent, longtime Republican political strategist, as reported by The Friendly Atheist blog. “Christians wear crosses, Muslims wear a hijab, and members of the Church of Secular Science bow to the Gods of Data by wearing a mask as their symbol, demonstrating that they are the eliute; smarter, more rational ad superior to everyone else.”
Only to grievously insecure people might it seem this way.
Keep in mind that Gods are as nonexistent as supernatural beliefs in the secular world, and as useless as teats on a boar.
Yet, it apparently so annoys politically active religious partisans that religiously uninterested folks don’t have a supernatural faith to ridicule (as they do against them), that they arbitrarily conflate empirical nonbelief with imaginary belief as a bogus way to criticize them.
That’s like criticizing quadriplegic Americans as traitors for hating to play baseball.
This way of thinking totally misunderstands and misrepresents secular principles, which, unlike supernatural religions, are based on repeatably testable facts as opposed to (as far as anyone can tell) permanently imaginary chimera.
There’s no “Church of Secular Science” or “Gods of Data” in the real world, in fact. There is science and facts and people who trust them far more than religious imaginings in comprehending the true nature of the world and cosmos. Because they are real. Only supernatural religions have churches and gods; secular folks have facts and reality.
Never the twain shall meet.
One anti-mask zealot in Palm Beach County, Florida, recently derided the county commissioner’s then-new mandatory masking requirement for throwing “God’s wonderful breathing system out the door,” as I reported in my June 27 Godzooks! post.
Like eyeglasses are to “God-given” sight, hearing aids to divinely anointed human auditory capacity, and bypass surgery to our sacred hearts, I suppose.
Another apoplectic mask opponent yelled at commissioners:
“Every single one of you has a smirk behind that little mask, but every single one of you are going to get punished by God,” bellowed one angry woman at the meeting, as shown in this embedded video. “You cannot escape God. You cannot escape God. I’m going to say that again. You cannot escape God.”
In the meantime, as if defining masks as a religious issue isn’t dunderheaded enough, President Trump and his minions are making it a national political issue, which dovetails nicely with his evangelical, Christian Right supporters, who now know they must hate masks as much as their (literally, many believe) God-sent dear leader.
So, what is clearly, 100 percent a public-health issue has been forcibly morphed into a religious-political struggle, in which the number of people infected with coronavirus is soaring, as are deaths and the suffering the pestilence engenders in many of its victims.
There’s no question that wearing masks massively reduces spread of the virus and deaths attributed to it (as they have everywhere else on earth they’ve been embraced). It’s a proven fact. So why are Republican believers so adamant about rejecting this reality?
Partisan political fear and religion is driving them crazy, not factual reality.
Shame on these people.
There is no religious or political principle that condones needless death and suffering. Yet here we are.
Please sign up (top right) to receive new Godzooks! posts via email, Facebook or Twitter
“Erudite yet readable … very illuminating”
— Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion,” in praise of “Holy Smoke”
Buy either book on Amazon, here (paperback or ebook editions)