Evolving beyond niceties…

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I was reading the speech that PZ Myers gave today in Australia, at the Global Atheist Convention, and it hit home in many ways.  I have found myself evolving from non-theist, to anti-theist, which comes across as brash and crude, I am well aware, but is necessary nonetheless.  I once convinced myself that there was nothing to be concerned about regarding theists who mostly keep to themselves….then I realized that there pretty much aren’t any.  They raise kids, they vote, and even the most introverted have some manner of influence on others.  The fundamental beliefs that they hold are a danger to themselves and others.  The notion that evidence is unnecessary, that doubt it bad, prayer accomplishes something, that evolution cannot be real, and that ever-increasing nonsensical magical “miracles” occur is dangerous for not only for humans, but for the rest of the inhabitants of this rock we are riding, and the rock itself.   This is not healthy for believers (or society), no matter how unintrusive they remain.

PZ captured some of this in a snipe at Christians:

Now wait, there might be some people saying (not anyone here, of course) that that’s no fair. Maybe you’re a liberal Christian, and I’m picking on the extremists (although, when we’re talking about roughly half the United States being evolution-denying, drill-baby-drill, apocalypse-loving christians, it’s more accurate to say I’m describing a representative sample). Perhaps you’re a moderate, you support good science, education, and the environment, you just love Jesus or Mohammed, too.I’m sorry, but I don’t like you.

I’ll concede that you are doing less direct harm, and I will thank you for your support of shared causes, and I’ll also happily work alongside you in those causes, but I also think you are still doing indirect harm to foundational principles of a rational society. You believe in some outrageous bullshit; the christian myths of a virgin giving birth to a god who dies are illogical lunacy, and the Christian doctrines of original sin and redemption through blood sacrifice by proxy are crippling psychopathological abominations. You promote unreason by telling people that it is OK to believe in some things without evidence, and even in contradiction to evidence and reason.You are cafeteria realists, and you undermine the essential goal of bringing the whole of humanity out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of the real world.

He goes on to define the atheist movement, much of which grows out of our despising not only the dogma, but the constant attempted (and more often than not successful) imposition of it.  My biggest dog in this fight results from the incessant attempt to shove someone’s particular brand of bullshit down my throat…via the law.

For many years, atheists have been in the minority; I have talked with so many people who thought for so long that they were the only one, the only person in their community who saw through the godawful babble of the church. (of course, now that we have the internet, those same people are discovering that they are part of a global movement). What that means, though, is that many atheists are nonconformists, boat-rockers, weirdos, and outcasts.

And we like it that way.

We are not sheep. We love people who stand up for themselves, we detest people who try to impose rules on us — I have to be very careful to keep my description of values general, and be clear that I’m not dictating them to you, but describing what I see emerging as a consensus, because otherwise I’ll be pilloried by my own kind. We’re a pitiless bunch.

But what it means is that we find common cause with the people who have also been oppressed by this racist patriarchal culture we live in. People should be free to be who they are…and more, they should be free to stand up loud and proud and be that person with impunity. We will not live in a monoculture. We’re going to find strength in diversity.

In any event….read PZ’s speech, if you were not lucky enough to be there in person.  I can’t wait to see him deliver it.  Where are you YouTubers?

  1. Joe 'Blondie' Manco says:

    I was there. Great speech. The Atheist Foundation of Australia will be uploading all the speeches from the event in due course, in HD. Their channel is here – http://www.youtube.com/user/AtheistFoundation

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