Saturday, 16 November 2013

Columnist: Atheists Who Try To Deconvert Others Have "Sinned"

Abandoned church for sale with crudely painted sign: "TO BE MOVED, FOR SALE(crossed out and replaced with) FREE."
So the last time I referred to columnist Emma Teitel she was defending the current Canadian national anthem from a campaign to remove misogynistic lyrics that were inserted into the song back in the days of the Suffragettes - presumably to show them just who's boss.

Well, now she's back and she's here to tell us atheists to just take a chill pill and stop trying to convince religious people that their beliefs are untrue. It's just not polite, so we best just keep quiet and not call out anyone's BS.

Bless atheists, for they have sinned

Sound a bit condescending? Perhaps a little irritating? The title sure did annoy me. So forgive me if I rant a bit here.

Notice how the top of the article has a mean looking picture of Richard Dawkins on it? When you don't have anything like reason or reality to back up your arguments just, well... POPE RICHARD DAWKINS!

Like so many other columnists she inexplicably pulls out Elevator Gate as if to pad the middle of her article. Because, ELEVATOR GATE!

Now listen. I consider myself a feminist and I recognize the incident points to much deeper issues in the atheist community. I recognize there are severe sexism issues within the community, but what the hell does that have to do with the supposed primary topic of this article?, which is...
His new book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, could be called the bible of deconversion. Boghossian has a mission: to rid the world of religion through what he calls “street epistemology”—the act of literally talking someone out of his or her faith. Street epistemologists are essentially evangelists of reason, set on shepherding religious people away from the darkness of supernatural dogma and into the light of logic. Sound familiar? Boghossian has taken one of organized religion’s most invasive and possibly problematic practices—proselytization—and turned it on its head.
As far as I can tell, Emma is upset because atheists have taken the next logical step to a semblance of freedom and equality in our culture. They're not putting up with bullshit.

Step one was actually coming out - that's happening with increased rapidity. Step two was building community - that's occurring with meet-up groups, organized charities, greater political representation and even churches (assemblies). Well, the next step involves calling people out on their bullshit when we see it and rightfully dispelling superstitious nonsense wherever we can. And it's about freaking time someone took a look at this world's problems without god-coloured glassed.

Is there a sin in trying to open people's eyes to reality and reason? Or have we, in this post-modernist world of ours, completely lost faith in reality? Like it or not, there is nothing wrong with attempting to deconvert the religious and to call it a sin is clearly about the worst way to convince any atheist evangelicals that they should stop.
... has taken one of organized religion’s most invasive and possibly problematic practices—proselytization—and turned it on its head
Most invasive? Possibly most problematic practices? Proselytization? How much further from the truth could someone be? Not even close!

I wonder if Emma has been paying attention to the kind of serious damage religion has done in this world. Does she really know how pervasive it is and how deep its claws dig in? It hasn't only poisoned the well, it's gone on to bottle the water and sell it.

Where do I begin? Religion has its fingers in education - religious public school boards, statecraft - politics. It has been instrumental in oppressing slaves in the United States, kidnapping the children from First Nations families in Canada, forcing the adoption of children from unfit mothers within the Commonwealth, justifying the persecution and killing of child witches in Africa, justifying horrendous treatment of LGBT people in Africa, forcing raped children into deadly labour in South America, justified deadly corporal punishment of children in the United States, justified deadly exorcisms or faith healings in the United States, prevented women from being able to obtain abortions. The list goes on and on and on.

Beliefs in ridiculous myths like the Rapture have even undermined efforts to combat global climate change - with global consequences.

Some guy knocking on our door is the least problematic practice. Annoying, sure, but harmless compared to almost everything else religion has been up to.
Every enlightenment has a dark side. Modern atheism’s may be its creeping idolatry of reason and reality, which, in our current political circumstance, gives way to Islamophobia and sexism—things Boghossian doesn’t endorse, but that some of his contemporaries most certainly do.
Creeping idolatry of reason and reality? She writes this as if it's a bad thing. One who has a keen respect and yearning to be as reasonable and as real as possible  - what is wrong with this? And how the hell does this lead to Islamophobia and sexism? Incomprehensibly, yet predictably, the answer is: (Pope) Richard Dawkins, who is an Islamophobe because...
In April, he asked via Twitter whether the New Statesman, a U.K. magazine, ought to publish work by a Muslim journalist who believes “Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse.”
Seems reasonable to me.

And how about someone who believes their toaster is possessed by the devil? How about someone who believes that zillions of years ago aliens were blown up in a volcano and now their spirits live on inside all of us and only expensive auditing can resolve the issue? How about someone who believes each blade of grass possesses an exact replica of Barbara Streisand's future-soul and screams out psychic cries of pain whenever someone mows their lawn?

And then... just when you thought it couldn't get worse: Hitler.
Unfortunately, though, the Nazis didn’t care about technicalities, nor did any other non-religious power that killed on the basis of religion. But it takes context to make that distinction, and it’s context—not faith—that today’s atheist agitators sorely lack.
And that's what you get for trying to convince someone they're wrong. You'll get called a misogynist, Islamophobic, Nazi militant atheists who will bring on another Holocaust. They just won't bite their lip, shut up and let religion continue on unimpeded.

Here's a link to A Manual for Creating Atheists on Amazon.

I'll end with a nice comment at the end of this article.

I think the point is to be simply contrarian, without doing any reading or serious thinking. Atheism is finally going mainstream, so columnists have to throw mud at it, even if it won't stick. One of their favorite techniques is to paint Richard Dawkins as a demagogue. Anyone who has read his work or seen him speak and debate knows that he is anything but that. He is simply an intelligent, educated, and eloquent spokesman who has very bravely put himself in the line of fire by speaking truths that badly need to be spoken. Many theists seem to feel badly threatened by this, and since they can't refute him they caricature him.  All in all this is a very silly, juvenile article.

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