Thursday, 22 March 2012

My problem with Militant Atheism and the Cult of Science

Hi all FOC here,

J. Michael Straczynski is an atheist. He is also responsible for one of the greatest sci fi TV series of all time, Babylon 5. These two pieces of information may lead you to think that Babylon 5 does not cover religion (like Star Trek) or that there is a relatively negative view of religion in the programme. In fact Babylon 5 goes out of it's way to explore religion and spirituality in a mature and sensitive way, letting the viewer make up their own mind.

But hey that was the nineties, we have come so far backwards since then.

Every day I go on Facebook I am confronted by silly little memes and quotes that belittle religion. There's the Thor/Frost Giant one (which is totally inaccurate by the way), there's the one about a carpenter being nailed to a piece of wood (ho ho, my sides are splitting) and another I saw today about "Science not giving a shit about your beliefs" (classy). I'm sure you can point to more.

Now many of the nicest people I have ever met have been religious. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans I know someone from a bunch of different religions. However for some reason over the last few years it has become acceptable for atheists to not only be content with disbelieving in religion but to actively belittle it. Many of these people would hate it if a religious person started preaching to them but see no problem with doing the exact same thing to religious people.

It's the smugness that I can't stand. Religion is a deeply held belief, all of the major religions are guides on how to be a better person. Jesus for example was a fantastic guy. He taught that we should help the sick and the poor, to avoid violence and try to be a good person. That is the message that most of the Christians I know try to live by. They recognise that there are contradictions in the Bible but the core message is what they hold to. Other religions have the same principle.

Militant Atheists don't get this. The whole Flying Spaghetti Monster/God Delusion position is that religion can't be proved scientifically therefore it is invalid. Effectively they are saying that if you believe in religion you are a stupid, gullible sheep and they by comparison are superior by not believing in a "Sky Bully".  Arrogance on this level is staggering but somehow this nasty superior attitude doesn't seem to worry people. If this was a religious person posting an equivalent argument on Facebook they would get rightfully slapped down so why is it a one way street?

Militant atheism is a way of blaming the worlds ills on religion. For example I have heard atheists say that religious belief causes most wars, in fact Richard Dawkins has himself said this. This is patent bullshit. The Second World War was not a religious war nor was the First, or Vietnam, Korea, the English and American Civil Wars, the Boer War, Napoleonic Wars or the Hundred Years War. Some conflict has religious overtones sure, but frankly to reduce any war to a struggle about religion is as absurd as saying the American Civil War was about slavery. The idea that the removal of religious belief would make the world a better place is simplistic and wrong.

Hand in hand with atheism is the fetishisation of science as this mystical force we should all bow in reverence to. The irony is that the co-opting of science as the totem of an atheistic way of life seems almost religious in it's overtones. Science is always right and you are wrong to try to contemplate anything outside of scientific method. I reject this. Science is important but so is music and art, literature and philosophy and of course your own spiritual beliefs.

Using religion or spiritual belief as a way to attack someone is also just wrong. But what atheists miss is that atheism is a spiritual belief. Just because you reject religion does not make you right. If you accept scientific method then you must also accept that all religions are as equally valid as atheism. There is no conclusive evidence for or against any religion and therefore science cannot prove the non existence of a religious belief. Thus attacks on religions by atheists are not in the name of science and are merely a belief.

This is my problem in a nutshell. Atheism is fine but just like any other spiritual belief it should not be aggressively thrust upon others. Think before you post militant atheist stuff or like it because it's just someone posting an aggressive religious message.

In short if you are an atheist be like J. Michael Straczynski not like Richard Dawkins.

Your resident agnostic

Fall of Camelot

1 comment:

  1. I must agree about the whole "science as a mystical force" thing; I've had conversations with people who seem to believe that science has quantified everything already. They seem unable to understand that mathematical models just don't do reality justice as it is completely unable to account for every factor. Many scientists say as much when describing their new epic theory, but some people don't seem able to read disclaimers...