Pharyngula

The Good Atheist

S.E. Cupp is a peculiar creature: she insists that she is an atheist, but I’ve never actually seen her defend or promote or even accept the idea of atheism. Instead, all she ever does is carp at atheists for being arrogant or smug or militant or whatever the current term of opprobrium might be. I don’t really understand her game, but then, I also don’t really care — she never says anything interesting, either.

But reading her latest column, I suddenly realized what she is: she’s the Good Atheist the believers want us all to be like. Good Atheists don’t criticize religion; they praise it and make excuses for it and pine away, wishin’ they had the faith themselves. Good Atheists do criticize atheism and atheists. They work hard to tell the Bad Atheists to shut up and stop making it hard for believers to be comfortable with their superstitions. Good Atheists love C.S. Lewis, and read theologians in their spare time, and marvel at their wonderful insights. Good Atheists follow right-wing politics diligently, and think theocracy might not be so bad, after all; at least the trains would all run on time, and the criminals and foreigners wouldn’t get so much slack, and church-goers are such good and upstanding members of society anyway — we should be encouraging them.

S.E. Cupp has found a profitable niche. She’s the Token Atheist, the Good Atheist, the Beloved Atheist who affirms religion. It’s sweet and creepy at the same time. I don’t know whether to say, “Poor girl — no principles and no mind, a sell-out to status quo” or “Lucky girl — the Christian majority loves her, and she’s going to be raking in the accolades”.

Personally, I’d rather be the Bad Atheist. At least I’ve got my self-respect.

Oh, and by the way, Cupp’s article has a poll attached to it. She’s pandering to the believers, all right.

Do you believe God exists?

Yes. 63%
No. 28%
I am undecided. 9%

Pretend the question is something a little more interesting and relevant, like, “Do you believe S.E. Cupp is sincere?” and have fun with it.