Religion Poisons Everything. Even Atheism.

by Pitt Griffin on December 29, 2016 · 0 comments

in Religion

The is nothing more annoying than a debate between an atheist and a true believer. I’m an atheist, and I can feel within myself the smug and poisonous intellectual superiority of being a ‘critical thinker’: a dispassionate observer of the world. Not for me the magic of superstition, the prison of rote, the mindless surrender of intellect to the needs of a peevish, thin-skinned and angry God. Oh! What an insufferable prig am I?

Of course, the true believer is even worse. The atheist may be terrestrially smug but the believer is divinely so. It is malicious to foist ancient fables on the feeble-minded if your only aim is to maintain the flock in a hollow, holy priapism. It is doubly malicious to do so if your aim is to fiscally fleece that flock.

Let me tell you, or remind you, of a scene in the dystopian parody “Idiocracy”. (It was written as satire; it now seems documentary) In the movie, Maya Rudolph plays a character from the present day who wakes in a future America where everyone is a moron.

She needs money. She hits upon the expedient of playing a prostitute that charges her Johns up front for a sexual encounter that will occur at some later date. It is so far the best analogy of religion that I have seen.

But let us not be so hasty to whitewash the opposition to sanctimony.

If I thought that the aims of the ‘freedom from religion’ folks were simply to remove religion from the public sphere – and then go home to beat their swords into plowshares – they would have my unadulterated support. But I suspect that they are in it for the pleasure of some intellectual head bashing. Putting the boot of reason in – if you will.

Although the holier-than-thou do deserve it. And there I have proved myself to be merely human – a stew of id and ego. I forgive my fellow atheists their self-congratulation. They are at least headed in the right direction. Whereas the religious are those obstinately clinging to a dream of a return to some Edenic utopia.

Atheism is American; religion is old world. Atheism is action; religion is stasis. Atheism is courage; religion is fear.

Religion believes that if you sail into the unknown you will fall off the edge of a flat world. Atheism puts you in the ships and prays for wind in the sails. And here I am boring myself again.

One of America’s founding intellectuals – and smug deist – Thomas Jefferson offered this: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” And on the face of it, it’s a magnanimous sentiment. But I am not his equal.

I also don’t care about by neighbor’s beliefs. But I am mad at him and our fellow countrymen that I have to waste so much intellectual time and effort to argue the proposition. I’m angry that God and religion are an issue. I hate to waste the time discussing it, defending our children from its pernicious influence, and keeping our schools from being polluted by its science-denialism.

And I detest having to feel so shabbily superior to brains so faith-addled that they are no longer open to my best help.


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