Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Atheists vs. Apologists and Mystics/Aesthetics

theObserver offers a perspicacious comment which I believe deserves reposting in its entirety.

Broadly speaking, they are two types of theists : 1) the apologists and 2) the mystics/aesthetics.

Apologists borrow from philosophy in an attempt to demonstrate theism is quite rational and that atheism is irrational and unreasonable. In general, the apologists tend to argue for deism, that is God must exist, and jump for that conclusion to their specific faith. I am not aware of any specific argument for Christianity other than 'the bible is true', which is why most faiths and new age woo woo airheads use the same generic set of arguments. Frankly, these sort of debates are tedious because the arguments are centuries old and people just rehash same old nonsense because theists have not proposed anything new.

2) Then you have the aesthetics and the mystics. This group like to state things like 'oh, god cannot be classified as a member of any set, not even as the set of things which cannot be classified' or 'God is beyond human understanding'. The aesthetic likes to point out the limitations of science and toss around statement's like 'poetry, art, music, although not strictly rational, are better guides to the human condition than science'. Another favorite is : 'The attempt to prove the existence of God is a form of atheism which has arisen from the scientific revolution'. Christianity to this group is about beauty, wonder, awe, humility, the image of the broken and tortured Christ nailed upon a cross, a profound image representing the love God for our fallen and sinful species. The aesthetics claim atheists who do not respect these believes is half-educated and unsophisticated, tackling instead a caricature of religious faith while ignoring the true beauty and the 'deep spirituality' of religion.

Atheists and the aesthetic christians are usually completely confused by each other. The aesthetic Christian thinks the atheist is 'aspect blind', that they completely miss the point of Christianity because they are limited and blinded by 19th century rationalism and science. The atheist considers this view point vacuous nonsense and completely irrelevant.

But what atheists do care about is politics. We believe a society built upon religious grounds is intellectually, socially and sexually repressive as it privileges a handful of religious clerics who claim to derive their moral authority from a divine being. An Atheist believes that is unreasonable and inherently dangerous. So in order to drag the religious away from their undeserved lofty privileged position, atheists need to grapple the clerics and the apologists and drag them into the mud and dirt away from abstract beauty and wonder but into actual reality where religious political decisions cause misery and suffering.

Sometimes outright contempt and derision is called for and I don't see why religious people should be allowed to set the tone for a debate. Bullshit is bullshit and if you find the word offensive, why should I give a fuck? What I find offensive is religious people attempting to regulate my entire existence from when I can have sex to when I am allowed to die. There's a lot of freedoms I am now lucky to enjoy and religious institutions have opposed each and every one of them. So call me vulgar and unsophisticated if it makes you feel better but I don't give a flying toss about the influence of Christianity on the arts when Christianity will happily oppress me and everyone I care about.

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