Monday, August 23, 2010

The Stupid! It Burns! (anti-semitism edition)

the stupid! it burns! Atheists and Anti-Semites
For starters, atheists reject the historical consensus on God. Never mind that every culture, large or small, believes in some sort of deity. Secondly, they reject the common consensus that is the faith of their peers. As a practical matter... the vast majority of people believe in some kind of superior being. ...

Another axiom for militant atheism is invective — laying the history of bad behavior at the feet of traditional religion. This is more than a little like blaming war on soldiers and crime on cops. A corollary of invective is ad hominem attacks — cherry-picking religious figures to vilify. ...

Polemicists like Maher and Hitchens confuse God with religion. Our entire ethical, legal, and democratic tradition is a linear descendant of Judaism and Christianity. A temple or church is only one of many public institutions, each populated with saints and sinners. Yet without these influences, democratic capitalism is impossible. ...

Many modern anti-religious zealots, unlike Pascal, are not tempered by humility or doubt. They cannot say, I do not know. The cannot say, I may never know. What they do say is that all that will be known shall be known by people like me: an enlightened, progressive, liberal, rational, scientific, intellectual elite. ...

The heart of evangelical atheism is cowardice. What many cannot say is what they truly believe. They believe that they, and only they, know the way forward — all others are backward. They believe that they should not be constrained by “arbitrary” ethics, morality, or law; sounds too much like religion. Hitchens uses the phrase “unfettered scientific inquiry” to describe his vision of the future. Josef Mengele would be comfortable with such a charter.

A profound — some would say fatal — conceit infects secular rationalists: the belief that there could not be any intelligence superior to their intelligence. They also believe what tyrants and oligarchs have always believed since the birth of philosophy: they are the philosopher kings (Plato), they are the vanguard (Lenin), and they are the master race (Hitler). They believe that they should do the thinking for the rest of us. They believe that men like Karl Marx and Noam Chomsky [Noam Chomsky!?] are as godlike as it gets. ...

Karl Marx was not so much a descendant of the “rabbinical line” as he was a product of Teutonic philosophy and a virulent, self-loathing anti-Semite. ...

National Socialism and Soviet Communism shared anti-Semitic roots. And now, at the start of a new century, anti-Semitism is again the legit motif of yet another “ism” — Islamism. Indeed, the convergence of the secular left and the Islamic right is one of the great ciphers of the new millennium — a merger where ecumenicism and suicide pacts are interchangeable.

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