Standing up to Jesus

vRussell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk at Comment is Free (linked here at AlterNet) say that atheists have a duty to mock religion when religion plays too big a role in the political sphere.

The writers say:

Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire often used mockery to show the absurdity of  ideological stances — including religious ones — that were considered sacrosanct. Mockery is one way of saying that a view does not deserve to be taken seriously. Religious views are fair game if one can also show, on a more serious level, why the view in question does indeed not deserve serious respect.

 

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12 Comments

  1. You know, I’ve been at ideological odds with Christians most of my adult life. I’ve enjoyed my share of cheap shots at their expense, as I’m sure they enjoy a few on the likes of me.
    But the kind of mockery that the author seems to call for sounds unseemly. Certainly something less than the intellectual, rational approach atheists used to employ before this “New Atheist” evangelism started.
    Attacking the faith is useless. It only reinforces a Christian’s resolve. Attack the institution, the practices that cross the line drawn by the Constitution between church and state.
    Find a violation, hire or beg a lawyer and go to court. That’s what reasonable people do. Confrontation and mockery just cause more division, more antagonism. If you want people to respect your views, you have to show some respect for theirs.
    This whole idea of “converting” people to atheism is as ridiculous as “curing” homosexuality.

    1. I agree. I posted this because I think it’s an interesting approach, though probably not a very effective one, as you say.

    2. This is what turns me off about Bill Maher.
      “Attacking the faith is useless. It only reinforces a Christian’s resolve. Attack the institution, the practices that cross the line drawn by the Constitution between church and state.”
      This is totally true. What I hate is people saying, “I’m FAR too intelligent to believe what you do” Or like Maher, mocking the most extreme of views as if they were key to belief.

      1. Didn’t Bill win some kind of award for being an atheist?
        If being an atheist means seeing how many times you can use the “M” word in an hour, I guess he deserves some sort of recognition.
        Evangelical atheists raising icons to their….faith??????
        And they want to mock Christians.
        It’s no wonder they must actively recruit.

      2. Did you see “Religiosity?” I was disappointed because I like the way Maher pokes holes in things but thought he went for the lowest-hanging fruit possible. People’s practice of religion (all religion) can often leave much to be desired on a serious level, but he was talking to a guy who thinks he’s Jesus. That’s too easy.

  2. This may be true: “Mockery is one way of saying that a view does not deserve to be taken seriously.”

    However, unless the mockery is part of something like a SNL sketch, I think there are more respectful ways of discussing differring religious views.

    1. And even though I’m not even that great a Christian, I get my back up when people are dismissive. I try not to be dismissive of them and I prefer the same treatment.

  3. I am really tired of the evangelical athiests who do not see they are cut from the same moral cloth as the evangelical Christians -except at least the Christians have potlucks.
    And they also come off seriously ignorant sometimes too – Buddhism is okay, cause they say it is. UUism isn’t because they say it is (even though they’d have more of a home there than in a Mahayana or Tibetan buddhist group) and then start crying because they have no community. When they aren’t willing to create one. Phfft. (Obviously had my run ins. Babysat a girl of those types that felt somehow their 5 yr old daughter’s atheism was compromised by them dropping her off at the Fellowship. Just by being IN THE BUILDING.(

    1. Say goodbye to that phrase, Carol — “except at least Christians have potlucks” — because I’m stealing it.

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