Yesterday, I mentioned this silly fellow Damon Linker, who complains that the New Atheists aren’t sad enough about their godlessness. This seems to be the new gripe du jour; you can’t be a serious atheist unless you’re all broken up about the absence of god, and unless you tell all the believers how much you appreciate what their superstition brings to the world, and how now you’re going to go home and cry because you have a god-shaped hole in your heart. It’s deeply dishonest and stupid. If anybody tried to pull that nonsense on me in person they’d get a rude response that would reveal that the teddy bear can snarl after all.
Meet Father Barron. I give you fair warning: if you actually watch this video, you may find yourself trying to smash through the glass of your video display to slap the smug prick. The infuriation is compounded by the fact that he’s wearing that pretentious dog collar, which I imagine he thinks gives him a look of authority, but to me is like putting on a big red clown nose. No, that’s not fair; a clown nose wouldn’t be an announcement that one is a pompous fraud.
And there it is again, the crazy complaint that the New Atheists aren’t serious enough, that they’re playing at atheism, because they just don’t express the existential anguish that apostates are expected to feel. Now Camus and Sartre — there are some good atheists; they’re safely dead, so they won’t spit in the eye of a priest, and they appreciated how miserable they were without gods.
Oh, Father Barron, so smug and sure in your phony Catholicism — you must be merely playing at religion, since you aren’t all distressed and weepy over your failure to grasp the power of science and reason and rationalism. How can I take you seriously if you don’t make YouTube videos crying over how sad you are to be trapped in the cloying, smothering dogma of the Catholic church?
And then he gives away his game:
they [the good old atheists] knew that inside us we have a deep desire for fulfillment, truth, goodness, justice…in other words, for God.
Barron is a fool. The equation of fulfillment, truth, goodness, and justice with god is what theists do; atheists haven’t given up on any of those principles, we feel no lack of those important matters to grieve over, we have simply realized that god does not provide fulfillment, truth, goodness, or justice and have sought them out in more practical and real arenas.
And most importantly, we actually respect and take seriously that idea of valuing truth, which is why we reject the superstitions priests offer us. We take it so seriously that we expect to be given reasonable explanations and evidence for fantastic claims, and do not simply accept stories told to us by stuffy old gomers wearing funny collars.