Monday, April 27, 2009

Discrimination Against Atheists?

This morning's New York Times has a big piece up on the trend toward more vocal activism among American atheists (via Memeorandum):

They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.

They liken their strategy to that of the gay-rights movement, which lifted off when closeted members of a scorned minority decided to go public.
Notice that?

Atheists are hitching their wagon to the radical gay rights agenda, which is seen by many as achieving greater respectability, although that's mostly in the courts and in the far-left media and netroots fever swamps.

What's interesting is the explicit victimology in play here. Forty-five years after the passage of the most sweeping civil rights legislation in American history - and the subsequent expansion of rights and opportunities to millions of Americans previously subjugated by genuinely archaic hierarchies of race, class, and gender - there remains a few groups who will continue to mine the emotions of guilt-ridden citizens who cling to a "reparations mindset" on civil rights.

Atheists are not an oppressed class, but you wouldn't know it from the Times' piece. But
observe how Tristero takes up the "prejudice" banner to hammer even more aggressively the bogus discrimination line:

Despite their numbers - or perhaps because of them - atheists today are often the victims of genuine discrimination. It is impossible for an avowed atheist to hold high national office and, despite Obama's oft-noted shout out to non-believers at his Inaugural, the entire ceremony was a religious love-fest. True, I wouldn't have missed Rev. Joseph Lowery's address for anything, but seeing the vile, lying Rick Warren up there was mega-creepy.

So it is good, extremely good, that atheists and atheism have gained so much national status. And hopefully, atheism as an ethics and a belief system will evolve to the point where no one feels they need to go out their way to make excuses for
assholes like this simply because they affirm the non-existence of God.
Note something strange here: Tristero's calling Sam Harris, the author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, an asshole. But why? Harris' work is right up there with Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) in the popular pantheon of secularism and anti-religion. Shouldn't Tristero be recommending Harris rather than scourging him as an "asshole."

Well, no, actually. Tristero's either totally ignorant of Harris' writings - see, for example, "
There is No God (And You Know It) - or he's blogging too fast to take a moment to check the guy's biography. Most likely, he's just totally intolerant of anyone making the case for torture, since Tristero's link for Harris goes to his piece, "In Defense of Torture."

I just take all of this as exemplary of the program of intolerance and rigid ideologism on the left (and Tristero's blogging at
Digby's Hullabloo, a bastion of far left-wing radicalism).

This is what these people are about. Atheism is good, if it gets you closer to your goal of completely eliminating faith in the public square. That eventuality, of course, bolsters the gay radical agenda, so it's all of a piece when you think about it.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It boggles the mind to think that you are employed at an institution of higher learning.
The intelligence one finds in your writing is typical of a junior-high school student. A very sheltered and rather unimaginative one.

Dave said...

I see the next "protected minority" on the horizon.

-Dave

Steve Burri said...

Next thing ya know, the atheists will want to marry each other.

Dana said...

Well, gosh, I guess I just can't understand: how am I supposed to look at a person and know that He Is An Atheist, so I can discriminate against him?

Is my next door neighbor an atheist? I don't notice him going to church on Sunday, but, then again, a lot of people who say they are Christian don't attend church regularly. Their last name doesn't sound particularly Jewish, but who knows: maybe they go to the synagogue in the next town over for the Sabbath.

The simple fact is that I don't know if any particular person is an atheist unless he does something to tell me so. And if he does something to tell me so, isn't that prima facie evidence that he wants me to have that knowledge, for whatever reason?

They are bemoaning the fact that politicians who say they are atheists don't get elected very often. But these politicians tell you what their religious affiliations, or lack thereof, are, and that is presenting information on which we are supposed to judge them.Don't tell me that you are something or believe something -- regardless of what it is -- and then get urinated off when I use that information to cast my vote.

Grizzly Mama said...

Ah yes - so being Christian equates now to uneducated, sheltered and unimaginative, eh anon?

Tim said...

I've been called all sorts of names here on this blog for not toeing the religion line. That's a simple fact. I think Donald is at the head of the queue too for being dismissive of someone who is an atheist. If that ain't discrimination, I don't know what is.

What I love is the implication that somehow, a bunch of peaceful, non-threatening atheists are going to bring about the destruction of the world.

When we all know it's religious fundamentalism that is doing the very same. Or at least attempting.

Religion, like the Republican party, I fear, has seen better days. Or worse days, depending on how you look at it.

Rich Casebolt said...

Tim, my own derision of your position is not based upon discrimination ...

... it is based upon your refusal to clearly identify the faith-based elements within it ...

... and your refusal to recognize that the basis of that faith is a venal, fallible being that lacks the omniscience to justify such faith.

If tenets of the atheist faith, like spontaneous evolution as a theory of origins, were identified as such instead of being presented as incontrovertible fact by those who believe in it, there would be less conflict between all people of faith.

BTW your attempt to broad-brush all of us who hold a spiritual worldview as fellow-travelers with those like bin Laden and Ahmedinijad is far more discriminatory than anything perpetrated upon atheists ... not to mention dwelling in a glass house, given the history of atheist leadership in the 20th century.

Atheism's embrace of moral relativism leaves the door open for destruction ... for without adherence to a moral basis built upon the objective principles that govern human interaction, ANYTHING is justifiable.

Tim said...

Rich: Sorry bud, there is nothing "faith based" in my non-belief in fairies, ghosts, Santa Claus, Zeus, Allah, or God. You're making the wrong argument here, because it really isn't an argument per se. It's an opinion. We disagree on this, clearly. And it's not faith-based to believe in a theory like gravity or evolution. These are things that are rigorously tested. And the results are pretty consistent enough to show an extremely high level of probability. So, no faith here. Faith is to bridge something you cannot see, hear, taste, smell or touch. By merely saying He is all of those things is a faith-based statement, one which I simply do not buy.

Now, I did not say all fundamentalists or try to tag you in any way. But it is religious fundamentalism that is the undoing of the middle east. That's a simple fact of life. It's destabilizing countries locally, and it seeks to destabilize us as well.

The real enemy in the world is fear and ignorance. Fear is easy to control, ignorance is easy to maintain. Just starve your school systems and see what happens.

I think the most offensive idea, to me, is that you can only know morality if you read your bible. I have news for you...the bible did not invent morality, it merely codified it. I despise the idea that somehow mankind is unable to figure anything out for himself.

Religion, by your logic, is the equivalent of a socialistic government...i.e. don't worry, God will sort you out.

The bottom line is, non-believers, secularists, humanists, atheists and agnostics are discriminated against. In small ways. It's like having a disease that can be cured with a simple conversion.

Some of us just don't buy into it, and, surprise surprise, we can still be high functioning, contributing members to society! I think it's fair to say, and again the founding fathers felt this, that your religion is fine. But like your sex life, keep it private, not in my government. Thank you.

Grizzly Mama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grizzly Mama said...

"The bottom line is, non-believers, secularists, humanists, atheists and agnostics are discriminated against."How have you been discriminated against?

Rich Casebolt said...

Tim ... do you have incontrovertible proof that God ... or any of the other entities you listed ... does not exist?

If not, yet you believe they do not exist, you ARE acting on faith ... faith in your own ability to accurately and completely perceive the universe.

In other words, faith in your own omniscience.

You admit that evolution, as an explanation for our origins, is a theory ... but it is taught in our schools EXCLUSIVELY, and in many cases presented as FACT.

However, the common sense of those who have not had that sense replaced with Leftist intellectual elitism, see the basic fallacy in it ... the fallacy that dynamic order can rise spontaneously and perpetuate itself in a universe where the trend of natural processes is towards either stasis (order without dynamism) or chaos (dynamism without order).

You don't have to be a designer who works against those trends in the course of making his living to see the fallacy.

Every mother understands this fallacy ... for they understand that their child's room requires intelligent intervention to clean itself, either on the part of the child or the mother ... for the "probability" that those dirty socks will jump up, wash themselves, dry themselves, fold themselves, and jump into the sock drawer makes a Powerball ticket look like a retirement investment.

Even in that light, I still present my views on our origins as a combination of observation, extrapolation, and assumption ... not incontrovertible fact. I expect you and your fellow-travelers to do no less ... yet many do not live up to this standard.

IMO, the biggest reasons that promoting evolution as fact is so popular among our elites, is because (1) it is one way to dismiss the existence of a Creator who might inconvenience them with His disdain, and (2) it is a "litmus test" that summarily validates one's membership in the intellectual elite ... that one is truly "liberated" from religious "superstition". It is to the atheist/humanist world, what speaking in tongues has become to many in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches ... it is considered a quick (but not incontrovertible) validation that you are a true believer.

Joining AlGore's Climate Change Cult is a similar litmus test, BTW. There are others, as well.


The real enemy in the world is fear and ignorance. Fear is easy to control, ignorance is easy to maintain. Just starve your school systems and see what happens.Or flood your school system with money ... and Leftists who wish to replace the principles of human interaction with their own imaginations.


I think the most offensive idea, to me, is that you can only know morality if you read your bible. I have news for you...the bible did not invent morality, it merely codified it. I despise the idea that somehow mankind is unable to figure anything out for himself.You are correct that the Bible's job is to document moral principles ... part of a larger set of principles that apply to human interaction, whether we like them or not.

Actually, in my view God did leave us with the authority and responsibility to figure things out for ourselves ... out of respect for our existence as living souls. (Otherwise, I think He would make His existence incontrovertible to us ... and turn us into His puppets by doing so).

He also left us a very good User's Guide to help us in our discovery ... yet you prefer to hunt-and-peck in the dark for your principles?

Sounds like human pride is rearing its ugly head ... tell me, are you one of those guys who just won't stop to ask for directions?

Religion, by your logic, is the equivalent of a socialistic government...i.e. don't worry, God will sort you out.The difference being, of course, that it is an omnipotent/omniscient Creator who is doing the sorting ... not an intellectual elite of fallible humans who believe that it is their birthright to impose their sorting on everyone else by the force of law.

And a lot of that righteous sorting is guided by individual choice, as explained earlier ... compared to God's control, the kind of control you and your fellow-travelers seek to impose upon us is truly fascist.

The bottom line is, non-believers, secularists, humanists, atheists and agnostics are discriminated against. In small ways. It's like having a disease that can be cured with a simple conversion.Pot. Kettle. Black ... for the EXACT same process occurs in the intellectual world, via the "litmus tests" I referred to above.

But with one big difference ... because you don't invoke Deity, you are able to worm your way into our public institutions and use it to promote the tenets of your faith, without challenge.

Some of us just don't buy into it, and, surprise surprise, we can still be high functioning, contributing members to society! I think it's fair to say, and again the founding fathers felt this, that your religion is fine. But like your sex life, keep it private, not in my government. Thank you.I ask you to do the same, Tim ... stop presenting faith as fact, using my public institutions to do so.

And never forget ... it is the evangelical Christian and their belief in the "priesthood of the believer", that is the first line of defense against the theocracy you fear ... whether that theocracy be based in a belief in Deity, or in man's perfect omniscience.

Tim said...

As for being discriminated against, I can never run for president. Some of you will be pleased to know that.

Anonymous said...

I am atheist and i think that the things that christians say about atheist are not true we do not worship the devil other wise we would be Satanists. We are normal people that have normal lives but we don't belive in god. Is it that hard to understand.

Free said...

You are a very strange person with some very bizarre ideas as to what constitutes "evidence".
The article you quote clearly states that atheists are banned from holding high national office. A statement you ignore in your demand for "proof of discrimination". Perhaps you are one of those people who cannot recognise discrimination unless it is specifically aimed at you? Let me help - "Christians are banned from holding high national office." Is the previous sentence discriminating against Christians? If you said "yes" then you are part way to understanding how a ban against atheists in high office is discriminatory.
You also seem to suffer from some sort of inability to understand compound sentences. Or perhaps you are under the mistaken impression that "sharing one opinion with another person obligates one to share all of that person's opinions"? Let me once again make this easier for you. You consider yourself a Christian. Does this mean you agree with every opinion of every other Christian? Of course not. You have one opinion in common with other Christians. This suggests that you may share other opinions with other Christians. It does not mean that all Christians have exactly the same opinions about everything.
When Tristero calls Harris an asshole he is actually expressing two opinions, one implied and one stated.. The implied one is that he is vehemently opposed to torture, and to Harris' arguments for torture.
The stated opinion is his hope that public acceptance of atheists will lead to a situation where atheists will stop being so defensive about being atheist that they feel compelled to justify Harris' opinion just because he, also, is an atheist.
Tristero is in fact complaining about the defensiveness of some atheists. But this is not an area you want to examine or discuss, as it invalidates the argument you are trying to make. You wish to argue that there is no discrimination against atheists, or at least that any discrimination that exists is minor and exaggerated. But if you acknowledge that some atheists are defensive, you would indirectly be acknowledging that some atheists may have a reason to feel defensive. Which would imply that there is some form of persecution or discrimination occurring - the very thing you do not wish to acknowledge.
If you genuinely wanted to know whether atheists suffer discrimination, and what form any such discrimination might take, you would Google "discrimination against atheists" and read the results. You are, presumably, capable of using Google. The fact that you have not made even that small effort to discover whether atheists have a legitimate complaint concerning discrimination suggests that you wilfully refuse to consider any information that might indicate that atheists are being discriminated against.
But then, your highly selective and strangely skewed reading of Tristero's words had already indicated as much.

Sam said...

How foolish.

Don't believe that Atheists are discriminated against? Try introducing yourself as one to a stranger. Let it slip at work that you don't believe in God. Tell your family that you won't be attending church anymore, because you don't believe.

Then come back and try to tell people that you were treated like anyone else.

-Sam(www.thecrazyleft.com)