The arrogance of the atheists: They batter believers in religion with smug
certainty

S.E. Cupp

Wednesday, December 29th 2010

a href="https://mail.nyumc.org/owa/redir.aspx?C=aab4525e9d5546ef8c3a5b4cd76ffab3&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.nydailynews.com%2fopinions%2f2010%2f12%2f29%2f2010-12-29_the_arrogance_of_the_atheists_they_batter_believers_with_smug_certainty.html" target="_blank">http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/12/29/2010-12-29_the_arrog...>

Back in college, while I was busy pretending that a blottoed discussion of
Nietzsche over $1 beers made me an intellectual giant, my fiftysomething father,
who'd worked so hard to send me there, was quietly being saved. Having
long eschewed any ties to his Southern Baptist upbringing, he suddenly found
himself born again and on a quest to know God better.

As a longtime atheist

 

>>This is a pretense because there is no evidence that Cupp has ever supported or argued for atheism in the past.

 

I was a little surprised. But eventually I came to be relieved by this development. While my friends' fathers were buying flashysports cars and exchanging their wives for models, my own
father was turning
inward and asking: Is there more to life than this?

I was also proud of him for becoming a student again. As I watched him pore
over C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel and even neoatheist thinkers such as Sam Harris
and Christopher Hitchens, I thought it amazing that he still wanted to learn
something new.

It was a revelation I'd experience over and over again - meeting faithful
believers and discovering that, no matter how long they'd been in the fold, many
were still on a dogged quest for spiritual knowledge.

 

>>Except of course when it contradicts objective evidence and fact,  Lee Strobel is an apologist for Intellligent Design and rejects
objective evidence to the contrary.

And it's why I decided to go back to school as well and study religion in a
more meaningful way. It wasn't necessarily an acknowledgment of a higher power,
but a realization that I knew little about the beliefs I had railed so
arrogantly against.

 

>>She calls us atheists arrogant yet it is the religionists who claim to be the only moral beings on the planet, to "know" the purpose of the universe, the mind of
"god," and that all objective knowledge and science is false.  It is the religionists that attempt to force
their superstitions and rituals upon us. 
And because we resist this tyranny, we are accused of arrogance.  This is a case of religionists accusing
atheists of their own chief shortcoming.

Which brings me to the problem with modern atheism, embodied by the likes of
Harris and Hitchens, authors of "The End of Faith" and "God Is
Not Great," respectively. So often it seems like a conversation ender, not
a conversation
starter. And the loudest voices of today's militant atheism

 

>>Again accusing atheism of religion's chief fault - its militancy.  We do not have laws commanding us to kill people who disagree with us nor do we shoot abortion doctors or intimidate
women trying to get abortions.  We do not
call other atheists "troops" or "warriors" as many of the
Christian and Islamic religionists do. 
We do not carry out Jihads against those who disagree with us.  We do not prevent individuals from attaining
public office because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof or carry signs
proclaiming that religionists will burn in hell forever and ever, simply
because they disagree with us. 

 

for all their talk of rational thought, don't seem to want to do too much thinking at all.

 

>>Again accusing atheists of the fault of religionists, which is accepting dogma with no critical thought.

 

 As James Wood wrote in The New Yorker, "The new atheists do not speak to the millions of people whose form of religion is far from the embodied certainties of contemporary literalism.
Indeed, it is a settled assumption of this kind of
atheism that there are no intelligent religious believers."

What spiritual quest are they on, except to put an abrupt end to those like my
father's?

 

>>This is an untrue and unfair charge. What we want to do is to prevent government from forcing religion upon us.  Your father's spiritual
quest is your father's business and not ours. 
It only becomes ours when he attempts to force his way of life and rules
upon us.

 

For them, the science is settled, the data are conclusive and the book (no, not the Good Book) has been written. Time for everyone else to pack up and move on to other business, like,
presumably, accumulating wealth

 

>>What's this? A condemnation of success and capitalism?

 

 and fulminating at the sight of the nearest Christmas tree.

 

>>Only when it's on public property.

 

The militant atheist wants nothing more than to spoil the believer's spiritual journey. That's both meanspirited and radically unenlightened.

 

>>The fact that the expression of our perception of evidence and truth is so upsetting to religionists is not due to our mean spiritedness but to the fact that religion
is based largely on superstition and unsupported faith and tries to make itself
immune to all contrary evidence and above all criticism.

Though more than 95% of the world finds some meaning in faith, God-hating comic
Bill Maher

 

>>We atheist do not hate god,  We simply assert that one does not exist. If you interpret that as hate that is your distortion and a
pathological one as well.  We reserve the
freedom to disrespect absurdity and tyranny when and if we see it.  The concept of freedom would be meaningless
unless we had the right to do this in a supposedly "free" country
such as ours.

 

 shrugs this off as a "neurological disorder." His version of a quest for knowledge was a series of scathing jokes at the faithfuls' expensein the documentary "Religulous."

The latest incarnation of the thought-eschewing

 

>>More accusation of atheism for religion's faults.

 

secularist is American Atheists spokesman Dave Silverman, who sums up the argument this way on
atheistnexus.org: "Religion is my bitch." He has also tweeted,
"Yes it is a myth. Deal with it. All delusions are myths."

It's these snarky and condescending rejections

 

>>Is this piece itself not "snarky and condescending" toward atheists?/span>

 

, not of faith itself but of those who profess it, that reflect a total unwillingness to learn something new about human nature, the world around us and even of science itself.

 

>>When did thousand year old mythology and superstition become "something new?"

 

While the neoatheists pay only cursory attention to dismantling arguments for God, they spend most of their time painting his followers as uncultured rubes. The fact that religion
has inexplicably persisted, even despite Copernicus, Darwin and the
Enlightenment, doesn't seem to have much sociological meaning for them.

 

>>It's our position that one of the main reasons why religion has persisted is because it relentlessly indoctrinates the young and impressionable and burdens them with
life long fears. Yes, it is also a comfort to many people but at what
price?  The denial of reality, of science,
of objectivity - these downsides have disastrous consequences in the long run.

 

The truth is, folks like Maher and Silverman don't want to know about actual belief - in fact, they are much more certain about the nature of the world than most actual believers, who
understand that a measure of doubt is necessary for faith. They want to focus
on the downfall of a gay pastor or the Nativity scene at a mall.

I wonder what they'd say to someone like Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the
Rwandan genocide who says that her faith in Jesus Christ got her through 91
days of hiding in a 3x4 foot bathroom while her family was murdered
outside. Would they tell her she was crazy? Delusional? To just deal with it? I
would hope not - but I am not sure.

 

>>Couldn't you say the same thing for brave atheists like Galileo who survived excommunication by the catholic church for his heretical views?  And for
every Immaculee Ilibagiza there are probably several others who would like
nothing better than to murder atheists for their lack of belief.

When the esteemed theologian David Martyn Lloyd-Jones asked C.S. Lewis when he would
write another book, Lewis responded, "When I understand the meaning of  prayer." It was an acknowledgment that he
- a thinker with a much sharper mind than, say, Maher's - didn't know
everything. I implore my fellow atheists to take this humility to heart.
There's still a lot to learn, but only if you're not too busy being a
know-it-all.

 

>>Rationalists are perhaps the least arrogant people on the planet because they clearly recognize the limits of human knowledge and strive to understand and clarify the universe
they live in.  That you rail against
their supposed lack of humility suggests that you have either misunderstood or
ignored the atheist books that you supposedly read and are more likely an
apologist for religion in "atheist's" clothing.

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Replies to This Discussion

Militant Muslims commit suicide bombings, militant Christians assassinate medical doctors, militant atheists put up bill boards, enough said.
There is nothing arrogant about questioning dogma, but there is something dishonest about gratuitous accusations of arrogance.

"Militant Muslims commit suicide bombings, militant Christians assassinate medical doctors, militant atheists put up bill boards."

 

I wish there were like buttons for things like this. D;

Oh, thanks for the appreciation, if you would like to read the rest of my take on Ms. Cupp's column, you can check out my (new) blog, http://ainefairygoddess.wordpress.com
A very nice and concise response to their charge of "atheist militancy."  Thanks!

I neither know nor care if she is really an atheist or not.  What's obvious either way is that she's an amoral opportunist who saw a potentially lucrative niche and filled it, ethics be damned.

 

I seem to recall that Cupp was on Bill Maher's "Real Time" on HBO ... and basically came off looking about as atheistic as Pat Robertson does.  I don't think Maher was having any of her BS, nor anyone who bothers to use more than 10% of their gray matter.

 

Whoever this chick is, she has NO credibility as an atheist, and I have no time for her.

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