Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A-Hole Atheists

Over on Facebook, I've got a "friend" that's an ok guy.  In fact, I only put "friend" in quotes to distinguish him from real friends, as I just don't consider sharing a few thoughts with someone on a website enough to form a true friendship (though I do have a few actual friends online).

And he's part of the atheist community I've found myself in there, which mostly consists of the same sixty or so people who all seem to be friends with one another.  (This guy, for example, has sixty-two friends in common with me; and they're mostly the same sixty-two friends I have in common with the rest of his sixty-two atheist friends.)  And I suppose I don't mind that at all.  Sure, I don't necessarily "like" all of these people, but they're like-minded enough that I don't dislike them; unlike the Facebook bigot I mentioned in my last post.

But of course, one of the big issues I have with many of these atheists is their hardcore anti-Christianity.  Because, I just don't get it.  I mean, why bother?  If someone's set in their beliefs about something, why bother spending your time attacking them for it?  Atheism should be about a lack of religion, not attacks on religion.  Similarly, I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I don't attack the guy either.  And frankly, I don't like how my atheism is besmirched by anti-Christian a-holes who always have to make a point of attacking Christianity, making it so that I'm a bit embarrassed to tell Christians that I'm an atheist, for fear of being lumped in with the anti-Christian atheists. 

Honestly, I'm a live and let live sort of guy and really don't appreciate it when these a-hole atheists screw things up for me and make people assume I'm hostile towards them simply because I don't have a religion.  While I enjoy religious debates, I don't really want to take a side in it and would rather be left out completely if it means anyone's feelings are going to get hurt.  Life's just too short to needlessly make people angry.

Funny Death: Still Not Funny

Now, I should mention that I don't actually find this "friend" to be an a-hole, but really kind of wonder about someone who can read a story about human suffering and immediately make a biting criticism about religion with it.  Specifically, he read a story about someone who was trying to park their car after a church service and accidentally killed two people, and his initial reaction was to write:
god works in mysterious ways huh!

These two were "specially" selected to go to their cloud condo in the SuperMagicLand in the sky! Or...
Uhm...that's disgusting.  I mean, I like making jokes and everything, but see nothing funny about two people dying, whether or not it happened after a church service.  Human suffering just isn't on my comedy menu.  Particularly in this case, as there wasn't anything even remotely ironic or humorous about this.  Not that I ever think it's so great to laugh about someone dying, but this doesn't even approach any sort of joke.  It was just mean.
Senseless Humor
And for what?  What purpose did it serve to mock this senseless death?  Is some Christian going to see this snarky remark about God's mysterious ways and decide that they were wrong about God?  Of course not.  If anything, they'll get upset and get even FIRMER in their belief of God, just to spite the mean atheists who'd mock the death of these two people.  That's just human nature.  You get more flies with honey, and all that.
And I once saw the same thing from another atheist on Facebook, who thought it was clever to point to a Holocaust poster which suggested that God had gone on vacation during that period.  And so they were making a petty joke about a human catastrophe in order to make atheists feel a little more smug about their atheism.  I tried explaining that at the time, but was told that I was being too sensitive, as if it's perfectly ok to score points against Christians by making unfunny jokes about human suffering.  After all, it was just a joke.
And of course, why bother fighting the "mysterious ways" meme?  After all, it's a perfect argument.  All circular logic is.  It simply can't be defeated from the outside, because the arguments support themselves.  And the only criticism of a circular argument is that you can't logically use an argument to support itself.  But Christians don't have that problem, as they have faith, and faith is enough support for anything.  Logical arguments simply can't penetrate something that views logic as a fallacy.
So, why bother?  Why attack people who aren't necessarily doing anything against you?  If someone's doing something that hurts me or stifles my freedom, I'll stand up against that.  But if someone insists upon believing something that doesn't hurt me, I see no reason why I should bother fighting it.  If they're wanting to hear my arguments, that's fine.  I'd love to convert someone who was open to it.  But I see no purpose in feeding a fire that wouldn't hurt me if I leave it alone. 
And I definitely side with someone who'd mourn a senseless death over someone who insists upon using it to score a senseless victory.  Hell, I'd mock a senseless death if it meant I could prevent another.  But even a funny joke isn't a good enough reason to mock human suffering.  And too often, the jokes aren't even funny at all.  Their only purpose is to make us feel smug in our self-righteousness.  And that's just not something I can believe in.


LynxSL said...

I guess I'm one of those A-hole Atheists. I chuckled at the joke.

Don't Hate me. Jokes have a time and place, context if you will. At the funeral of those people that would be in completely poor taste. But between atheists, nothing wrong.

So much of the friction between atheists and the religious, christianists in particular, is on the benevolence of their GOD and the superiority of their morality, that pricking that occasionally, in the right context does very little harm.

I'm practically the only Atheist in my Family, I can get through a family prayer without going evangelical on everybody. But more often than not the reverse cannot be said. Admitting you're an atheist to a christianist is usually an invitation for an conversion attempt.

In the end, I think some people (you, John Cole, others) would like atheists to be polite and meek without the requirement that our adversaries do the same. When the christianists retreat to their polite corner, then we can retreat to ours.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Look, I LOVE religious discussions. I'll talk religion with just about anyone who will listen, and won't apologize for a thing. Of course I'm polite, as that's just standard behavior. But to suggest that I'm meek during a religious discussion is a joke. I don't believe in gods and will evangelize my position to any willing listener.

But...I do draw the line when it comes to people who DON'T want to discuss religion with me. Just as you don't want religious people shoving their religion in your face, we shouldn't shove our lack of religion in theirs. And for the a-hole atheists I was referring to, they're not just atheists; they're anti-Christian, and there is a difference. People who treat Christians with mockery and scorn only make them reject atheism more, as it's simply not human nature to embrace the position of people insulting you.

And yes, I agree that there are many religious folks who shove their religion in our faces, but that's no reason to mock the painful death of two people we don't even know. Who knows, maybe those two women were a-hole Christians who always preached about how God was protecting them and worked in mysterious ways. Or, maybe they're polite Christians who helped others and kept their religion to themselves. The point is we don't know these people at all and shouldn't use their painful death as some sort of superiority pricking exercise. Just as a religious person shouldn't mock an atheist who died of AIDS, a non-religious person shouldn't mock a Christian for getting killed after church. Even amongst like-minded people, that sort of thinking is dangerous.

And hell, this could even have made sense if there was some irony involved here. But there wasn't. Faith-based snake handlers getting killed by snakes would be ironic. Two women getting run over isn't ironic, even if it happened after church. Nobody ever claimed that Christians are immune to death, even after church. Besides, it's quite possible that this WAS some part of God's plan, so I fail to see how mocking it is possible. There's always the possibility that these people are right and any mockery is misplaced.

(And yes, I'm technically agnostic, and not a hardcore Atheist, as I have no position on whether gods exist or not.)

BTW, I specifically mentioned that I didn't consider the guy who made the joke to be an a-hole; so it's not like you'd be one for laughing at it. I was referring to the atheists who do the very thing you're complaining about Christians doing. And to be perfectly honest, I only went with that title because I couldn't think of anything better and liked the alliteration. But it didn't technically apply here, as I wasn't quoting any a-hole atheists.