Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

A Doctor of Divinity in the Immediate Vicinity

A mindless fundamentalist atheist like myself might see the Pope’s recent outreach to conservative Anglicans as a call to hate gays and Muslims together.  Chris Dierkes of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen, however, is a greater mind than I.  Due to his dense theological understanding of these issues, I now see that the Pope is calling Anglicans to hate gays and reason together with him.  Without such “reasonable” and “serious” people as Dierkes, I’m afraid I would have totally missed the point.

*While I’m currently dissing on the League, dear reader, you should know that reading them is a completely worthwhile endeavor, especially since they brought my friend Jamelle aboard.  They’re just fuckwits on the topic of religion.  It’s no reason to avoid reading their otherwise excellent political insights.


It’s always easier to argue with strawmen

Rod Dreher and Andrew Sullivan both quote this PZ Myers post written during the Danish cartoon mess:

Muslims represent a poor and oppressed underclass, and those cartoons represent a ruling establishment intentionally taunting them and basically flipping them off. They have cause to be furious!

I’ve seen the cartoons, and they are crude and uninteresting—they are more about perpetuating stereotypes of Muslims as bomb-throwing terrorists than seriously illuminating a problem. They lack artistic or social or even comedic merit, and are only presented as an insult to inflame a poor minority. I don’t have any sympathy for a newspaper carrying out an exercise in pointless provocation.

Dreher and Sullivan are deeply, deeply offended by the cracker blasphemy imbrolgio.  Their intent here is to show Myers as a hypocrite, excusing Muslim attempts at censorship while lambasting any criticism of himself by Christians.  More succinctly, they’re trying to show that Myers’ atheism is about hatred of Christians and nothing more.

It’s unfortunate for Dreher and Sullivan then, that Myers’ post didn’t stop where they ended their quote:

So on the one hand I see a social problem being mocked, but on the other—and here comes the smug godless finger-wagging—I see a foolish superstition used as a prod to mock people, and a people so muddled by the phony blandishments of religion that they scream “Blasphemy!” and falsely pin the problem on a ridiculous insult to a non-existent god, rather than on the affront to their dignity as human beings and citizens. Religion in this case has accomplished two things, neither one productive: it’s distracted people away from the real problems, which have nothing at all to do with the camera-shy nature of their imaginary deity, and it’s also amplified the hatred.

It also doesn’t help that their riots are confirming the caricatures rather than opposing them. Once again, religiosity turns people into mindless frenzied zombies, and once again it interferes with progress.

Somehow, people are assuming from this that I’m “sympathetic to Islam”. How, I don’t know; I thought I’d always been quite clear in my contempt for all religion, and I thought the last two paragraphs above were plain enough. I am sympathetic to the problem of being a minority immigrant; that’s one issue that is being ignored too much. As I said, the real problem is being exacerbated by bad religion that amplifies the hate.

I really don’t think a Muslim would find me to be a friend to their religion.

Taking someone out of context doesn’t work if you provide a link to the context.  I don’t know whether I should be more appalled that Dreher and Sullivan engaged in quote mining, or that they did such a poor job of it.

A smear too good to die

When it first came out that Barack Obama had a pastor who said batshit insane things, Obama supporters found at least some consolation: conservatives couldn’t possibly say he was a “secret Muslim” anymore. Reverend Wright is undoubtedly a Christian pastor of a Christian congregation. Obama’s decades long membership in that congregation clearly shows which religion he belongs to, no?

Apparently not. Lisa Schiffren, perhaps the Cornerite least troubled by posting complete horseshit, does her best today to resuscitate the “secret Muslim” smear. What exactly is the proof that Obama really is the Jihadist Candidate? Was it a secret memo outlining his plans to institute sharia and surrender to al Qaeda immediately upon entering office? Perhaps an intercepted communique between Obama and Hezbollah? Was he planting bombs in a neighborhood school while chanting Koran verses in Arabic?

Well, no. He was listed as Muslim on some Indonesian school forms. And, as Daniel Pipes puts it:

In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named “Hussein”.

As if religion were some sort of gene to be inherited, and not a choice one makes.

No, it seems the cranks won’t let this one die. “Obama is a Muslim” just hits all the right racist, xenophobic, and fundamentalist notes, and the right simply can’t bear to part with such a perfect smear. They’ll even defy the truth in front of their faces to keep it alive.

After noting that there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim, which I’m sure she feels makes up for her brazen lying, Schiffren closes with hilarious proof that she lives in a wholly impenetrable right-wing bubble:

We don’t know if he is, but we know Daniel Pipes is no crank.

To steal a line from Orac: the stupid, it burns.

Andrew Sullivan Is Always Wrong

Part Four in a Continuing Series

This is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.  I don’t need to write much to refute it, other than that the fact that science doesn’t know everything (which any scientist, atheist, or rationalist will readily acknowledge) doesn’t provide any positive proof that a supernatural realm exists, that there exists beings in this realm and that one is conscious, that this being is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, and that this being can create things and interfere with reality.

In case you’re curious about the above, I’m quoting from the Minnesota Atheists’ Unconvincing Arguments for God, specifically the fact that a typical believer makes at least nine separate leaps of faith to justify their beliefs.

Andrew Sullivan Is Always Wrong

Part Two in a Continuing Series

This installment has been outsourced to Mike Meginnis.

Also: Pope Catholic

Via Skeptico, I see that Dinesh D’Souza is still a complete moron.  Is anyone really shocked that he has no idea what the logical fallacies are?