Atheists in Bubbleland [Excerpts]
Did you miss it? Last month the country celebrated national Blasphemy Day!
According to NPR.com, atheists marked Blasphemy Day last month at gatherings around the world, celebrating the freedom to denigrate and insult religion.
Activities included de-baptizing people with hair dryers and an art exhibit in Washington, D.C., which showed, among other titles, Jesus Paints His Nails, in which "an effeminate Jesus after the crucifixion [applies] polish to the nails that attach his hands to the cross." The atheist group Center for Inquiry hosted the exhibit.
Addressing a capacity crowd at the University of Toronto, columnist Christopher Hitchens elicited enthusiastic cheers by commenting, "I think religion should be treated with ridicule, hatred and contempt, and I claim that right." He told NPR that religion is "sinister, dangerous and ridiculous," because it can prompt people to fly airplanes into buildings, and it promotes ignorance.
Hitchens defended atheist incivility this way: "If I said to a Protestant or Quaker or Muslim, 'Hey, at least I respect your belief,' I would be telling a lie."
However, not all atheists should be painted with the same brush. Stuart Jordan, who advises the Center for Inquiry on policy issues, explain to NPR that Blasphemy Day is symptomatic of a debate among traditional atheists and "new atheists" over whether people of faith should be treated with respect or derision.
Paul Kurtz, who founded the Center for Inquiry three decades ago, was ousted in a "palace coup" last year. "I consider them atheist fundamentalists," he says. "Merely to critically attack religious beliefs is not sufficient. It leaves a vacuum. What are you for? We know what you're against, but what do you want to defend?"
Truly, it must be a cold day in the infernal regions if atheism can now boast its own ideological schism.
It's as refreshing as it is uncommon to hear a scientist concede the limits of scientific understanding. But why? Why such dogmatic passion, intensity, and fervor among atheists? Why the overzealous insistence that belief in science is based in undiluted logic where belief and God is based in indefensible whimsy?
The so-called "new atheists" are really no different from any other fundamentalist ideologues. They are driven by an irrational compulsion to "prove" that they are right by asserting in the most uncompromising terms that others are wrong. But truth be told, they are haunted by the inescapable reality that ultimate certitude is beyond the reach of human beings. They have taken up permanent residence in Bubbleland, and they will fight to the death anyone who threatens their homegrown fantasy.
[TBC: For further information: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/7636 .]