Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Occasional Frustration – Confessional Time!

I sometimes wish I was on the other side of the aisle on the whole radical leftist/atheist thing. Some people might ask why. Simple! You don't need any . . . talent to work the other side of the aisle. All you've got to have is a vicious wit and a contempt for reality.

I don't mean the sort of disagreements that rational people have. For instance, libertarians have some interesting points to make, as do libertarian socialists.

But when I look at the blogosphere – particular blogs like PZ Myers' Pharyngula and the like – there is this constant stream of posts about these corrupt and irrational pseudo-intellectuals prostituting themselves. And, each and every one of them, is wildly more successful building a house of cards ten miles high than those of us who have some connection with reality.

Seriously! Think of how great it would be to be on the side of Intelligent Design! No more careful, nuanced understanding of science or philosophy of science, no attempts to become educated or informed about the subject. You'd just go, “Oh, humans are obviously so complex that there was a designer!” And when people say, “What designer? Where?!” you can go, “The one that clearly designed us!”

Or with gay marriage. Rather than trying to see people different as us as real people, just join up a screaming mob and have one's identity and ideas handed to them by that mob! Just don't bother caring who controls the mob, or why. Just froth at the mouth.

Seriously, thinking is so hard. Better to just close one's eyes, right, and ignore the fundamentalist nutjob in your pew at church, who is a militaristic asshat that believes in dominating the world through force, who thinks gays should be stoned, women kept pregnant in the kitchen, and niggers should know their place – who's for turning the Middle East into “a glass parking lot” with nuclear fire – well, better to just ignore that guy and talk about how, y'know, your church does a little charity work, and therefore the entire religious enterprise isn't massively, irredeemably corrupt.

Wouldn't that be easy? Just go to church, get whipped up into a frenzy, abandon any pretense of justice, logic or reason, and say simple things loudly in the belief that'll make 'em true. What intellectual ease that would put me in!

And, as a writer, how much easier it would be for me! Rather than have to struggle to get published, rather than have to face analysis and critique of what I write, I could just write turgid prose in praise of some Biblical character, and so long as it was passionately religious, overtly glorifying of those characters, and the idea of the Christian god, I could make a mint! No more research, no more grappling with difficult issues, nope, just present a hackneyed and straightforward glorification of some Bible character and off I'd go to superstardom!

But, like Christ on the cross, I can't give in to that deadly temptation. I just wouldn't be me if I did. Plus, y'know, I get to comfort myself by being so terribly right.


Homo Escapeons said...

It would be a walk in the park compared to actually searching for evidence of your convictions...and I should know..well sort of..I squandered away the 80s trying to justify my abrupt resignation from 'the world' and spent a decade arguing about semantics and the abrogation of common sense from within 'the fold'.

Afterall if everything in this Book was true the entire world would recognise it in a heartbeat wouldn't they?

My nagging incurable curiousity got the better of me and although I paid dearly for it in my personal life, I do not regret my decision.
The sheer joy that the freedom to examine my world without restrictions is the greatest gift that any human being can receive.

So I try to think of the whole competition for the hearts and minds of my fellow Earthlings as a challenge to be won on the merits of reason and facts instead of emotion and tradition.

April 11, 2007 11:21 AM  
Chris Bradley said...

homo escapeons,

Oh, yeah, I was religious for a while. And, in a way, it is a walk in the part -- but in other ways, it's very hard. Y'know. All that denying the evidence of your senses and reason and whatnot, hehe. It takes a lot of hard work to keep yourself determinately ignorant. ;)

I'm a big fan of reason and fact, myself, I have to admit. Tho' for fairly emotional reasons. Reason and fact is less acrimonious than any other way of solving a problem, and that leads to personal peace in my life. ;)

April 11, 2007 1:17 PM  
beepbeepitsme said...

Playing a god believer is the easiest gig in town. You never need to let the truth, or facts get in the way of a good story.

Actually, playing a believer of any ilk, political, economic, social, cultural are easy gigs.

All that is required is "I believe this to be true."

I sometimes like to argue like a believer. It is satisfying in the sense that one doesn't have to provide evidence either for or against one's point of view.

Or, more than likely, one only has to provide evidence which supports the belief. Cherry picking for believers is the tool of trade.

April 11, 2007 6:01 PM  
Chris Bradley said...

I sometimes like to argue like a believer. It is satisfying in the sense that one doesn't have to provide evidence either for or against one's point of view.

LOL. I'm glad I'm not the only person who, now and then, just said, "Screw it" and doesn't care who's right or wrong.

I feel bad about it afterwards, and almost always apologize. Which is a trait I rarely see in religious types -- no matter how wrong they are about their religion, no matter how often it gets demonstrated, they never apologize. ;)

April 12, 2007 12:25 AM  
Stew said...

When I was a fundie Baptist thinking was very easy. Everything was black or white, right or wrong. For bible "study" we would always use approved commentaries and guides. All explainations would be accepted at first glance and they all kind of make sence if you don't analyse to deeply, you just think "OK, that's answered then". Back then, if I saw the video about peanut butter disproving evolition I'd have thought "hell, yeah"

When my wife and I were faced with the decision, during IVF treatment for our first child, of having to ditch fertilised embryos we were forced, for the first time to confront the real world of shades of grey. We weren't baby killers like the awful people who have abortions were we? Oh yes we were. Abd if "decent" people like us had to compromise in the face of a complicated life then, maybe, just maybe, those other "worldly" people weren't making such choices lightly either.

April 12, 2007 2:02 AM  
Chris Bradley said...


I never identified as a fundamentalist. Me, and my family, were sort of moderate Christians, maybe even liberal Christians, insofar as any of them had real political beliefs.

Obviously, when confronted with the moral complexity of the world, you abandoned your fundamentalist beliefs. My question is, how do the fundamentalists who are put into equally difficult situations -- both morally and intellectually -- hold onto their fundamentalism? I haven't even gotten an answer to this question that feels right to me, and I'm hoping you can shine some light on things.

April 12, 2007 11:41 AM  
Sadie Lou said...

no matter how wrong they are about their religion, no matter how often it gets demonstrated, they never apologize. ;)

Oh really?

April 12, 2007 11:51 AM  
Sadie Lou said...

You know what else? It's not exactly easy to put yourself out there as a Christian. We're automatically assumed to be intellectually retarded. It would be much easier to be an atheist and join the "cool" people.
You tell someone a Christian and all the sudden you're like this huge list of negative things. You brainwash your children, you're uptight about sex, you're not a critical thinker and the list goes on forever and none of it feels very good.
Someone tells me their an atheist and there are so many varieties of that title that I couldn't possibly assume anything about them--and I don't.
There is one thing I ask myself when someone says they're an atheist:
Are they going to be nice to me
Or are they an arrogant ass?
They usually prove their worth in a few minutes.

April 12, 2007 12:00 PM  
divabeq said...

I think that it's, um... false to say that "putting yourself out there" as a Christian is somehow harder than doing so as an atheist. I mean, demonstrably so. Atheists are the most hated minority group in the US, now. My brother never has to worry about people knowing he and his kids are religious, but I certainly do worry about how people will react (and HAVE, people trying to prosthelyze to my children and convince my children to hide it from me, because them going to heaven is more important to a Christian than them being open and honest with their mother) And there are things that people assume about atheists. People assume atheists are that way because they don't want to follow the rules of religion. Because we're morally bankrupt, or whatever.

Yeah, I'm sure you're very nice, and I read some of your blog and you seem rational and all, but I'm really not buying the thing about how hard it is to be a Christian. You're in the majority after all. hehe.

I just want to be clear I'm not trying to be flamey or anything. I know tone is hard to express in the written word. Just disagreeing.

April 12, 2007 6:43 PM  
Chris Bradley said...


LOL. Becky already got to you, so I don't really need to, but it really is absurd for the Christian to go on about how hard it is to "put yourself out there". I mean, really absurd.

Forgive me if I can't accept a member of the culturally dominate religion in America is somehow especially the subject of attacks!

I know what it is, of course. Whenever anyone's privilege is challenged, they cry like children about it's loss. You hear white folks all the time thataway, crying about how non-whites have more and more economic and social power, you hear straights whining about how gays are having more economic and social power, and you hear Christians whining, too, because they feel "attacked" -- not because they are attacked, but because other groups are demanding the same social prestige that Christians already possess.

We're just doin' to you what you do to, say, those Catholics you attacked on that website. We're doing the exact same thing, Sadie. This is just just what it feels like from the other side.

April 12, 2007 7:00 PM  

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