Who I mean when I derisively refer to “Christian atheists”

“It’s not that I think non-believers are bad people. It’s just that I don’t think your beliefs are something you arrived at by thinking about your life experience and personal values. No, what’s going on is that you are infected with the disease of sin the religion meme, for which Christianity skeptical atheism is the only cure.”

Also this is why I side-eye meme theory in general–it’s an idea cooked up by a dabbler with a known agenda working outside his normal field, with no empirical basis, published in a popular book rather than anything peer-reviewed, and which justifies using the language of disease to describe any idea you don’t like while maintaining an appearance of clinical, scientific detachment. Kind of suspicious.

0 thoughts on “Who I mean when I derisively refer to “Christian atheists”

  1. Yeah, they're completely identical. Totally. It's not like Christianity is a large, organized body with a heavy influence on politics both local and national, and continually reinforces patriarchal, sexist, and homophobic views of what is considered proper family behavior while atheism is a bunch of people making snide comments on the Internet or anything. Nope.

    Is this what we're getting now? You're out of pony material so now you're posting holier-than-thou smart remarks every day? I really don't see the logic behind this.

  2. I share your misgivings re: meme theory – like evolutionary psychology, it's an evocative, compelling idea but it hasn't produced any meaningful advances to our knowledge, and both seem to show up most often being used by people to rationalize their biases.

    That said, I can't help but compare this post with your previous one where you used bullying as a metaphor – I think the same argument applies in a case like this as well – like the previous commenter implies, Christians are undoubtedly privileged over atheists in modern America, at least. But, like you said, being oppressed doesn't automatically make one virtuous, and one can't claim the moral high ground while using one's opponent's tactics and arguments.

  3. Also, I was going to point out that the dogmatic, vitriolic atheists that you're criticizing are a vocal minority, but a) I have no statistics to back that up, b) you're specifically calling out Dawkins, who is a jerk and a hypocrite and still somehow hugely influential among a lot atheists, and c) I might as well tag that comment #notallatheists. Also, after these two comments, “atheists” no longer looks like a word to me. So there's that.

  4. In my personal experience, they are definitely a minority, hence having a special term for them.

    Which is very much the same as the #notallmen thing–You'll note I'm not talking about all atheists here, only the ones who exhibit this particular toxic behavior–which I am also explicitly noting is shared with certain theists. So if your (generic you, not specifically Harrison Barber) is to defend against this as being an attack on all atheists, you need to ask yourself why you believe this behavior is descriptive of all atheists, and in turn which of us really has a negative view of atheists as a group.

  5. This comment doesn't seem very thoughtful, but it raises an interesting point – this post seems, on a surface level, to conflict with your last post at least a little. I'd be interested, Froborr, in hearing your thoughts on that perceived conflict – intuitively, I feel that it's false, but I'm having trouble working through why.

  6. That is an exceedingly tactful description of the comment you're replying to.

    Anyway, Harrison Barber's basically nailed it. In the previous post I made a point of saying that being oppressed is not a get-out-of-jail-free card or that it “earns” you special Moral High Ground points, just that certain actions are bullying when performed by someone in a position of power, and courageous defiance when performed by someone who is oppressed.

    In the case of what I'm here calling Christian atheists, however, that's not the issue; the issue is that they're employing the tactics of, and thereby becoming, the very people that they've defined themselves in opposition to.

  7. I can understand this in some sense, but in a way, it's not really their fault. Sure, they should know better, but christians and religious people in general run on their own form of nonsense, not the insult nonsense, but in the sense used in the madoka review, of a different form of logic that doesn't adhere to materialistic or imperical logic I guess. the outcome is that people looking in on religion see a bunch of people saying they belive in the things inside this book, and inside the book appear to be horrible and terrible things written there in.

    Obviously the easy conclusion is that they are insidious evil people barely held leashed, but this doesn't seem to be the case or our society would not be as it is. it has problems yes, but stoning is a rare punishment and slavery is abolished. the real trick is to realize that this isn't really how they think, even if they say it is, its through a completely different lens that doesn't follow scientific logic. I could give all sorts of reason's in terms of why the general views held by staunch believers are the way they are despite seeming implausible, but thats impherial, the point is what they believe isn't logical from a scientific viewpoint, so when inconsistancies start to show up, well, they don';t really matter, because they haven't adopted a view point where it's a big deal to them, even if they happen to believe scientific viewpoints and understand them.

    So what it ends up as if they believe some wierd things but aren't acting like assholes, well, theyre probably not assholes. even if they say they are. people say alot of things. and if they are assholes, well, that doesn't mean everyone is.

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