In it Frank concludes:
"One can’t be an atheist without knowing what it is to be a theist. And most atheists don’t seem to even know what God is supposed to be. What they seem to be against is ignorant people with childish beliefs. If that’s the case, we should call such people areligious. They don’t know or care enough to have an opinion about God, and thus don’t deserve to be called atheists."Hmmm.
I guess I fit into one of these niches. I'm an atheist, or, at the very least, a "don'tgiveashit-ist". My feeling is that I have no fucking idea what is God, or gods, or what it or he or she or they do. Or whether they do anything. Or care, really.
(I should note that it seems to me that if what I see as human life, life on this planet, is really the province of a God, or gods, then those Powers are, at best, some pretty fucking capriciously feckless sonsofbitches and, at worst, some serious assholes).
If people did what those Higher Powers are accused, or credited, with doing in the physical world they'd get kicked from here to Armageddon.
Plagues? Floods? The Penn/Madonna Shanghai Surprise? WTF, deities? You got nothing better to do than eff with people bringin' that shit?
Moraes links to an earlier post of his that references S.J. Gould's idea of "non-overlapping magisteria"; the idea that science (or, at least, non-theological explanations for physical matters) can happily exist side-by-side with theological/philosophical/spiritual explanations of moral and ethical (and ontological) matters.
Moraes' problem is that, apparently, there are a group of atheists who are not content with the Gould idea but are directly attacking religious ideas of, well, pretty much everything. And that this attack is focused on the "worst" aspects of theology, the "Answers in Genesis" sorts of theology that insist that God created dinosaurs and humans and the one rode the other (or something; I never bother much with the AIG people). Moraes wants atheists to a) ignore the AIG dumbshit and b) learn genuine theology - at least, learn enough to understand it - if they want to debate it.
But as I commented on Frank's post, I think the biggest problem is this “worst theology” and how predominant it is over the “better”, and how destructive, and I think that's why the theists are attacking religion, not because they don't understand the higher thinking or care.
There was no Great Flood. We know that. "Know" as in know; the "flood" of Genesis and the Middle Eastern texts that preceded and fomented it were legends, stories, fictions. The textural references to it are stories made up by people who saw things they didn’t have the intellectual tools to understand.
There were no humans riding dinosaurs. "God" didn't give humans "dominion" over volcanoes and oceans and squirrels. That's "Answers in Genesis", the Bible (or Torah, or Quran) as soil survey manual. Iron Age superstition and ignorance dressed up in churchy clothes.
And you'd think there'd be no point attacking or debating that.
But, dammit, this sort of “Answers in Genesis” theologian are all over the fucking place, and their nonsense contributes mightily to the very real damage that religion does in the public square.
It's that sort of Vacation Bible School "theology" that permeates the GOP and helps them in their quest to free their patrons to resume dumping shit into Love Canal and crap into the sky and credulous nonsense (or canned "facts") into kid's brains.
It's that sort of simplistic "theology" that encourages We the People to make stupid choices based on what we've been told about God and Man and the world around us (and politics as God-bothering, another real problem).
THAT’s why the atheists go after them, I think.
Not because they’re a “worthy” opponent Moraes wants to engage...but because, as rubbishy as they are, the Answers-in-Gensis sort of “theology” is much more destructive than the theology of the "better" sort, the kind of theology of people of faith willing to start from the NOMA standpoint.
To put it in videogame terms, it’s all well and good to recommend going up against the boss in an epic struggle.
But it doesn’t help when the damn trashy little minions are running all over the place wrecking the joint.
(h/t to Gods Playing Poker for the comic...)