Atheist whining

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In an March 6, 2012 article entitled God save us from atheist whining, Natalie Rothschild wrote:

This idea that closet atheists need to be coaxed out into the open, and that they need to claim the right to rally together as proud non-believers, has become a central tenet of the ‘new atheist’ movement. The approach comes across as a curious blend of therapeutic thinking and fearmongering, and it is expressed with a kind of fervour that would not be altogether alien to the deeply devout. Silverman, for instance, believes that the Christian right ‘has unleashed an unparalleled slew of efforts aimed at Christianising the country’. The same kind of shrillness is heard among those religious people who imagine that atheists are tearing down the social fabric of America and are conducting a ‘war on religion’.

In an article outlining the importance of coming out, Silverman speaks of the ‘fear of rejection’, the ‘shame’ and the ‘mental and physical’ toll experienced by closet atheists. Admitting you’re a non-believer is, Silverman says, ‘the first step’, but he implores readers also to be ‘proud, open, honest’ atheists and not ‘another closeted victim of the Christian right’. The advice here reads like a 12-step programme for people recovering from religion. Rather than a positive clarion call for secular values, this is a self-help scheme for people who see themselves as traumatised abuse-victims.

But are Silverman’s sentiments even borne out by reality? Are atheists really a beleaguered minority in the US? Is it really a great taboo today to profess that you do not believe in God?

The so-called ‘new atheism’ movement has been headed up by esteemed writers like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens, and supported by famous people like Bill Maher, Tim Minchin and - unsurprisingly - the band Bad Religion. In other words, this is an outspoken crowd that does not need to cower in fear or meet behind closed doors. The Reason Rally will take place on the Mall, for god’s sake, on the doorsteps of the US political establishment.[1]

See also: Atheism and social outcasts

In 2011, Belief.net reprinted a portion an essay written by the American Mary Kochran entitled You Whiny, Sniveling Little Atheists Are Pathetic which declared:

You whiny, sniveling, little, pusillanimous cowards. You have the audacity to tell us Christians that we are “weak” and that our religion is a “crutch.” You are supposed to be so “courageous,” venturing forth boldly into the existential mystery of being alone, facing with stoicism the nothingness that awaits you at death, priding yourself on your realism and self-reliance. You are a bunch of feeble fakers.

Yes, you are outsiders. Go start your own...country. This one was started by Christians... It is Christians who established and largely Christians who fought and died to maintain the freedoms you enjoy. And Christians are still the majority. Apparently your vaulted belief system doesn’t equip you to handle being in the minority. That’s interesting, isn’t it? After all, this was and is a societal situation valiantly handled by millions and millions of Christians who suffered — and currently suffer — real oppression, violence, torture, economic deprivation, and cruel deaths. But you have to go through turning off the TV once in a while and so your precious puny feelings are hurt. How delicate and frail your mental architecture is!

You are a pitiful joke. Trembling over the mere mention of God. Running like babies to court because of your brittle feelings. “Oh, but judge, but judge, I saw a cross and I just can’t stand it.” “I heard someone say ‘Merry Christmas’ and it hurt my feelings.” “I just can’t sleep knowing there is a manger scene at the courthouse.” “The sight of the Ten Commandments makes me wet my pants.”

Now we see how inadequate and feeble you really are. Rage, therapists say, is the flip side of helplessness. And so we see your rage against religion in the public square for what it is: a product of your own insubstantial internal resources. Go look at yourself in the mirror if you can bear the pathetic, contemptible sight of yourself.[2]

Poor comments of atheists at YouTube, blogs and other internet properties

Many times atheist use obscene language and engage in other forms of poor commentary at YouTube, blogs and other internet properties. As a result, their comments are often not published. A Barna Group study found that atheist are more likely to see obscene language as being acceptable behavior.[3]

The Christian apologist JP Holding wrote about this matter:

Two weeks back I did an entry on a “censorship crybaby” on YT and how he (and others there) misuse the word “censorship” to gain the sympathy of others like them who feel put upon because the quality of their commentary is recognized for being as poor as it is. The crybaby has “responded” with a vid of his own now, though to call it a “response” would be to misuse and insult that particular word by attributing to the vid he made a dignity that word bestows which is does not warrant. Serious commentators would hesitate to use the word “response” in their own vocabulary for the next ten thousand years if I did that.

Not surprisingly, in 25 minutes of production – which included about a minute and a half of “dead air” at the end of his vid – the crybaby ignored virtually all of my critical points, and refused to admit several errors of his own (such as the claim that my reference to Congress in the free speech clause was “disingenuous” because some people didn’t live in America – an argument all the more embarrassing from the crybaby, inasmuch as I showed that in his native UK, the equivalent freedom is phrased just the same). My challenge to report me to censorship organizations was ignored, though that is to be expected since the crybaby was forced to admit that I indeed was not practicing “censorship” (but, he said, it doesn’t matter, he doesn’t like what I’m doing anyway, so I should stop!).

At any rate, I decided it was not worth a vid response of my own, but that for the record, a Forge post would be adequate.

I had made a point about a private YT channel as equal to what is called a “special library” – generally, a private collection of materials devoted to a specific topic, within which censorship is virtually impossible. The crybaby responded with the inane observation that my channel couldn’t fit this description because it is “not a library” but “more like lectures.” The idiocy of this response is par for the course for this poor fellow, and it is not hard to see why he prefers to offer victim rhetoric (as noted in entry two weeks ago) rather than arguments. In reality, films, including filmed lectures, are just one example of the sort of media that would be collected in a library. Beyond that, of course, the crybaby ignored my many points about the qualities of a special library that also match a YT channel: Not funded by taxes, set up for a special purpose and select audience, etc.[4]

See also

Militant atheism:

Atheism and mental and physical health:

Humor:

References

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