My recent article Atheism Breeds Pity, Faith Begets Indifference draw attention to the contradiction between how people’s political views are so at odds with the doctrines of worldview that they espouse. Perhaps it was my title for the piece that was not specific enough, apparently causing some to skip immediately over the content and directly to the comments section, where they vented their presumptions; but the misunderstanding of those comments have caused me to offer this follow-on piece:
I will start with the very first commentator and comments of one Charles Dumbwin; affectionately nicknamed any number of derivations of that leading name: Dumbo is a well known activist on these pages whose outrageous claims over a protracted period have led many to speculate that this individual (or committee?) is so illogical, confused and unapologetically delusional that s/he must be a Poe… A Poe commentator who intentionally posts comments in direct contradiction to his or her own beliefs that are so outrageous that they are guaranteed to make other readers recoil from those ideas and toward the Poe’s actual, hidden, belief system.
In this instance, Dumbo made the usual, daily, monotonous assertion toward “the cult of atheism” – a charge that is ludicrous when the definition of atheism is considered; and always draws the same correction, which Dumbo conspires not to comprehend or heed. But, that is superfluous.
Of course, Dumbo is generally well off-topic, but today s/he edged uncharacteristically close to the content of the article, stating: “(Atheism) is the most deluded and self-centered belief system in all the world. it's all about self-preservation, self-worship, survival of the fittest. There is NO empathy and sympathy for the poor and week in the religion of atheism.”
This is a confusing assertion from someone who generally hurls the label “humanist” at anyone who asserts an evolutionary or atheist position.
Perhaps Dumbo (and others) don’t know the definition of ‘humanist’, which is: “Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans”.
No doubt, the bipolar nature of these contradicting sentiments from one individual; representing several others; requires no more comment.
Of course, Dumbo did go on to assert that atheism had “hijacks science and deceives simple minds into believing that we all just happened to come from nothing. That’s not science.”
There is a thesis on psychology and projection occurring here that is plain; but I’m more concerned with a perpetually under-informed individual who asserts what is or isn’t science, when that individual clearly hasn’t the foggiest clue (or is assuming a masterfully “poe” stance).
Rather than squabble over the mis-information Dumbo would spread, and returning to my thesis in the original essay, I simply asked of Dumbs whether I had it all wrong: “Are atheists generally associated with political conservatism? Are the religious generally liberals and socialists?” I keenly await a reply that as not come.
In that silence, I assume that Dumbo (and others s/he represents who posed similar reactions) retracts his idea and agrees that he was wrong and my original essay correct.
We were then joined by Peter – who brought up the inaccurate and defeated claim that Stalin/Pol Pot, etc., lays their crimes at atheism’s door: That was dealt with in my other article: Defusing Religion’s Weapon of Mass Distraction.
Other commentators took me to task that my essay generalized; criticism I agreed with; so let me state (too late) that it was a highly generalized statement – but nevertheless true; to use the American example; Republicans tend to be religious and fervently oppose socialism, while Democrats tend to be irreligious and strive toward socialism; confirming that my thesis was broadly accurate. In old style South Africa, think Nationalist and PFP respectively.
But Peter went on to reveal the exceptions to the rule that I too fall into; he said: “a man has the right to own property, equal to the input a man puts in to acquire such property.” Taken literally and expanded, it rejects the notion of socialism; as do I… generally speaking.
Marita also contributed, pointing out that “the liberal (\think Obama\) viewpoint (is) anti-evolutionist”, and asking; “How can pro-gay and pro-protect-the-weak ever be in harmony with evolution and survival of the fittest?” These are fine observations which ironically amplify the point I set out to make… Precisely that the liberal/atheistic viewpoint does intend to oppose natural evolution; it does intentionally form a bulwark against, as she puts it; “kill(ing) all the weak and undesireables and have better education and enough food for the evolutionary fit?”
I’ll grant her that churches have done a lot of social work; of course, there are strings; in its essence, it is a marketing piece for that church and its drive to grow membership. Being a marketer myself, I don’t intend to begrudge an organization its promotional efforts; but let us not confuse that with selflessness.
Another commentator, Iam Whoiam, addressed Marita very well pointing out that understanding “evolution as the correct explanation for the processes in nature does not (make evolution) a moral standard.” Very well said – and in fact, a point I had hoped to make, but apparently didn’t.
It’s such an important point, I want to emphasize it again with Grant’s words; “Evolution is the biological explanation for our origins, not a moral framework.”
Though, that said, evolution does lead to a moral framework – but that is another article.
Johan correctly made some very valid points, but misunderstood my original point when he said: “Natural selection is not the mindlessly cruel system of survival of the fittest you seem to believe it is. In fact, natural selection operates on a far more subtle level than that.”
In the event others were silent and misunderstood, this is what I’d meant:
Natural selection is elegant; it is a magnificent way (at the level of species and at the level of DNA) for nature to conduct itself. But, at the individual level; where each individual creature must make its living as predator or prey; it is cruel and anything but subtle; the buck being eaten alive from behind, the child whose eye is infected with worms that eat their way down the optic nerve into the brain, the seal pup that must run the gauntlet of shark alley, the malformed elephant newborn that can't rise to its feet [due to some mutation in its structure (most of which will be detrimental and only a few lending the individual a small advantage)], and which will be left in the desert heat to dehydrate or face the hyenas... this is the gritty and decidedly inelegant reality of natural selection. Our orphanages, social system, and healthcare are all deliberate attempts by enlightened humans to insulate ourselves and fellows from those cruel ravages.
I can see where you're coming from in your statements; and I agree with them fully - I just wanted to provide some food for thought as to why our politics usually is so at odds with our doctrine.
I trust that this second part and addendum to the original essay named at outset can be read as a single thought that might be interesting and thought provoking.
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