Rise of the Atheists – Gary Young MySpace Blog

Rise of the Atheists
Category: Religion and Philosophy

I apologize for these long blogs.  I’ve just been in a writing mood lately.  You know how it goes.  Phases.

DARK COMEDY
George Carlin, Bill Maher, David Cross.  These are three comedians that I like.  They are brilliant, insightful and acerbic but they are on the warpath when it comes to religion.  There are a few new books on the market — and there will be more — claiming that religion is the worst invention of man ever and/or that faith is a vice and not a virtue.  So now atheism is becoming a cash cow.  It’s a backlash against christian conservatives.

A former skinhead on an episode of “City Confidential” (the killing of an Ethiopian grad student by a group of skinheads) said that the hatred, the anarchy, the nihilism of skinheads was a rebellion against the peace, love and tolerance of Portland, Oregon’s hippy-ish culture.  I think it’s the same way with this pop culture atheism.  People are fed up with the sheer, utter hypocrisy of western and American religion.  How can you see that and not feel jaded?  People say and do the dumbest crap in the name of God.

They claim the moral high ground and then pre-emptively kill people, have meth-addled sex with gay prostitutes, claim to be imbued with the spirit of Jesus Christ and God and then say:

“God hates fags” and hurricanes, tornados and 9-11 are in part caused by gays and feminists.  What?!

Talk about Jesus’ heart for the poor and yet we are the wealthiest country in the world with an extraordinary number of homeless people.

Use a disproportionately large amount of the worlds’ resources and then claim it’s our American, God-given “way of life”.

You can’t help but notice how many obese Christians there are.  Where’s the physical discipline?  Not that overweight people are bad but it’s a sign of the cultural excess that has become our way of life.  (Well, it’s also a result of our great post-modern industrial food experimention — refined sugars and hydrogenated oils.)

Now, this is not a fair portrayal.  For every bullcrap politician, whack job (“when the race war comes I’ll have a Bible in one hand and a .45 in the other”), and charlatan getting air time there are a lot of sincere, upright, big-hearted people out there trying to live good, full lives and make the world a better place in the process while being a pillar of their professed faith (including Atheism and Agnosticism).

PERSPECTIVE
Atheists and cynics claim that more wars and atrocities have been committed in the name of religion than anything else.  And so on.

To this I say, don’t forget the millions of people killed by Hitler in the name of Nationalism, Stalin in the name of Communism, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the name of Socialism, Rwandan Tutsis in the name of ethnic pride/political power(?).  Between them, you’re up around 15 to 20 million in the 20th century alone.  Political oppression, imprisonment and torture by certain countries to minimize or exterminate religion, whether that practice is Christianity or Qi Gong.  And there’s much more that I’m too lazy to research at the moment.  Hey, it’s Saturday morning.  Cut me some slack, huh.

GOOD
My point is that religion is being scapegoated for pretty much everything when the true culprit is human nature. I also posit that religion and spirituality are a biological, evolutionary, innate and necessary part of human nature.  Yes, necessary.  Not necessary in the sense that every single person out there has to profess a religion, but necessary in the sense that the human species seeks to understand the nature of reality and mortality.  I think it is a great and beautiful thing, spirituality.  It is a vibrant realization of the art of philosophy — applied philosophy.  It is the pursuit of invisible and intangible truths.

BAD
I am NOT a fan of the industry of religion and I’m not oblivious to the misuses of religion, the ignorant s— that people say and what people will do in the name of their gods.  (I don’t think God favors certain basketball teams or NASCAR drivers.)  Institutionalized child rape has nothing to do with Christianity.  It has everything to do with the policies and manipulations of an organization that is a political powerhouse.  Depriving men of physical intimacy and sex, putting them in positions of power and influence, and then putting them in the proximity of the innocent and vulnerable.  Hello??  It’s like starving a lion and keeping it in the same cage as a flock of lambs.   What the hell do you think is going to happen?  But that’s about corruption.  Period.

HUMAN NATURE
What people will do in the name of their tribe, neighborhood, city-state, country.  Check out soccer riots in Europe.  In America, educated, college coeds riot after their team wins basketball games or because their school passes a no-drinking policy.  As ugly as that is, that’s a part of human nature.   The same social behavior that compels us to gather in clusters for the sake of survival and progress is the same social behavior that compels us to bond as a tribe (for lack of a better word) and defend, attack, gather.  The positives that make us more than we are, that makes the sum of us in numbers greater by far than the individual, is just the silver lining of the dark cloud that makes us a destructive force.

City building and technological marvels on one hand.  Mob mentality and ethnic cleansing on the other.  Two sides of the same coin that are evident in every human gathering.

A NEW CHURCH
What’s been bothering me, however, and why I’m writing this is that as Atheism becomes the in-thing, as it becomes a popular and hip expression of counter-culturalism, it’s becoming a church.  A secular church that espouses the belief that it is superior to those who don’t share its views.  That it has a hold on some truth that eludes the psychologically weaker members of society.  Irony.

When atheists fight their legal battles to remove religion from the public spectrum, they fight to eliminate even the traces that acknowledge the prominence that religion has played in the morays of Democracy and our democratic republic.

Make no mistake.  Atheism is not anti-religion, it is a religion.  I think it will become clear as atheists become more mainstream and gain political clout.  Then they’ll flex their power, become organized, gather members, raise money, and set out to change the world for the better.  Then they will make the same mistakes and abuses as every institution before them.

WORSHIP
And the common folk, we will grasp a hold of something to continue to search for meaning and purpose.  To try and comprehend what it means to exist.

Today I will do that in the form of writing, eating a tuna melt and Indian restaurant leftovers, picking up a knitting pattern for a cousin, a Wacom pen tablet for the computer, wishing I had an ace to hang out with, picking up my dog and hanging out with the family.

Amen.

Currently reading :
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
By Neil Gaiman
Release date: By 26 September, 2006

2:03 AM – 3 Comments – 6 Kudos – Add CommentEditRemove

Janna Mordan

Hey G, have you read a book called Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson?
I highly recommend it.
Religion and just about everything else is franchised, and religion is not only franchised, but also a virus.
Some good near-future irreverant funny suspenseful science fiction.
-J

Posted by Janna Mordan on May 7, 2007 10:55 PM
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Gary Young

Heya.

Yes, I have read Snow Crash.  It was a while ago, though.  When our company was moving, all the cubicles were moved first so we were working at big fold out tables, two per.  Every day I thought of YT’s mother going to work for the the government.

Something I meant to ask.  Oh.  I remember.  To the mail!

Posted by Gary Young on May 7, 2007 10:59 PM
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f(bod)

don’t know how i missed this blog before … but yeah i’ve been watching dawkins and “new atheism” grow progressively popular with what i can best describe as a smirk of resignation.

i think the human competition of ideas can best be described by one of the great jokes of the cosmos:

a galaxy and a quasar glide into opposite ends of the budo3001-alpha sector on an immutable collision course.

the quasar says, “why are we doing this?”

and the galaxy says, “cause when you get right down to it, we’re both just super-massive assholes!”

<em>insert rim shot</em>

Posted by f(bod) on Nov 18, 2007 2:06 PM
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