Pharyngula

We have a problem

The archbishop of Wales thinks one of the greatest problems facing the world is “atheist fundamentalism”. The only problems he seems to be able to ascribe to it, though, are a dearth of school nativity plays and stewardesses failing to drape themselves with religious paraphernalia, neither of which seem to be exactly pressing crises, especially since it is quite clear that there is no worldwide shortage of public piety. If all outspoken atheism has done is offend a few sanctimonious old bishops, it sounds to me like a virtue that we ought to encourage.

I’d say that this is a much more serious problem:

There are demented fuckwits running for the office of president in the most militarily powerful nation in the world. They think they can have conversations with an all-powerful cosmic being who instructs them in the right things to do, and that they have the approval of that being, no matter what they do: they can initiate an unjust and futile war that kills and maims our soldiers and slaughters the civilians of another country; they can endorse torture; they can deprive people of their civil rights; they can treat loving couples as pariahs if they don’t meet their abstract notions of who is allowed to fall in love; they can poison the planet; they can oppress the poor; they can enrich their corrupt cronies; they can pretty much run roughshod over any notion of justice, liberty, and equality. And what does their imaginary god do? He gives them a phantasmal thumbs-up and an ethereal “Good job!” and assures them that he is on their side. That’s all he can do, since all he is is a projection of a mob of venal bluenoses’ sense of entitlement.

And of course, archbishops and other such foolish figureheads will support their delusions, pointing their bony claws at a woman who isn’t wearing a crucifix around her neck as the great problem of the world. Wouldn’t it be better to point to men with armies who get marching orders from hate-filled apocalyptic holy books as a slightly more plangent concern?

Comments

  1. #1 AndrÚs
    December 23, 2007

    And what does their imaginary god do? He gives them a phantasmal thumbs-up and an ethereal “Good job!” and assures them that he is on their side.

    It’s more like an ethereal “Georgie, you’re doing a heck of a job!”

  2. #2 Sigmund
    December 23, 2007

    I see they have edited that piece following complaints from atheists.
    The original finished with the following:

    “Dr Morgan’s Christmas message comes after the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, the Rev Joel Edwards, compared militant atheists to King Herod in their intolerance of religious faith.
    Their remarks follow the rise of militant atheists such as Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins, whose book The God Delusion, has been a bestseller.”

  3. #3 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 23, 2007

    My letter to the Archbish is as follows:

    ====

    Dear Doctor Morgan,

    I write to take exception to your comments regarding so-called ‘atheistic fundamentalism’ in your recent Christmas message. Though it is true that we atheists advocate that religion has no substance and that faith is superstitious nonsense, to call this behaviour ‘fundamentalist’ is a calumny. The last I saw, Richard Dawkins was not launching a secular inquisition against the faithful, nor were gangs of atheists were roaming the land pronouncing fatwas on churchgoers.

    No, we atheists simply call the godly out on their superstitious belief in an invisible friend. Fundamentalism is more often than not characterised by its actions. It frequently uses force and coercion and fear to ensure orthodoxy. Instead, we atheists use words, argument, persuasion and occasional mockery. We may be vocal and argumentative, but this hardly makes us fundamentalist, and to lump us together with geniune fundies such as jihadists and creationist end-timers is disingenuous.

    I was horrified to hear you wheel out that old fib about the Birmingham ‘Winterval’, a canard which has been thoroughly debunked here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/christmas2006/story/0,,1967367,00.html . I’m afraid I’m going to discount your other horror stories about the secularisation of Britain. In peddling one lie, even in good faith, you lack credibility on your other claims. Please, in future, present the facts and not regurgitated tabloid headlines.

    In lashing out at ‘fundamentalist atheists’ I feel you reveal your weakness. Your only recourse to the onslaught of reason is to lash out at the reasonable. Is this the best the Anglican Church can do? To whine about how those mean atheists keep laughing at your fairy stories? I thought Christians were made of sterner stuff than that.

    Yours,

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    December 23, 2007

    but he’ll drag down the rest of the ticket

    oops. too late, GW already did the groundwork for that one.

    Huckleberry is just “standing on the shoulders of greatness”.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    December 24, 2007

    what are “Wales”?

    if you meant people from Wales, IOW, Welsh, yeah, they do have a tendency to not evolve much, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    :p

    OTOH, if you meant the other sea-going mammals…

    oh fuckit, nobody has a clue what yer on about, not even you, and I can’t even make a good joke out of your nonsense.

    come back so I can make proper fun of you, damnit.

  6. #6 mayhempix
    December 24, 2007

    Ichthyic #75

    Your obtuse arrogance is really not my problem.

    But if you sincerely seek an honest explanation, here you go…

    On a previous thread about the recent discovery of a fossil adding to the evolutionary lineage of whales, I posted a fake Fundie rant with an obscure Led Zeppelin pun/reference and deliberate capitalization/misspellings including “WALES” for “whales”. It appears that my parody was a bit too close and was mistaken as the real thing. One disparaging reply also included a reference to “Brains” that went by me as I had no previous knowledge of a bar in Wales by that name. I responded some are too quick to ridicule and risk becoming those they malign. Another poster jumped in and things quickly devolved as I attempted, futiley as it turned out, to explain my original and apparently failed parody.

    But here I am again…

    The post that you so quickly jumped on to ridicule was a self-deprecating inside to that previous dust up based on the topic of this thread.

    So if you still feel the need “to make proper fun of” me “damnit”, have at it, but don’t expect me to take the whale bait.

    I leave you with this question:

    Do the residents of Wales (the Welsh in case its not perfectly clear) have ichthyic tendencies?

  7. #7 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 24, 2007

    Do the residents of Wales (the Welsh in case its not perfectly clear) have ichthyic tendencies?

    ‘Course they have. Haven’t you seen Torchwood?

    My family live there now and as I’m travelling down there on Boxing Day, I’ll ask. My sister is a Justice of the Peace in Cardiff, so she might know.

    I’m told the Doctor’s TARDIS has been seen there several times recently. Who knows what he’s dug up from the past?

  8. #8 ??????
    December 26, 2007

    goodbig

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