Here’s another of those mindless memes that seems to be doing the rounds on social media, one that is much more informative about the mindset of its creator, than it actually is about it’s target – that baneful force for evil, otherwise known as religion.
We’re pretty used now to the empty aphorisms of the new atheism, but this one is such a concentrated bubbling brew of ignorance, bile, extra-added ignorance with cheese on top and monumental hypocrisy, that it’s actually quite difficult to know where to start in commenting. Perhaps the serious point is that, the kind of intellect which generated this nonsense is so deprived of functioning critical faculties, that it is actually safer to assume that the text on the page is simply a random assemblage of pixels delivered by a room-full of monkeys hitting typewriters with mallets over several billion years. Yes, that would make much more sense than what we actually find written in the meme. However, this stuff gets repeated sufficiently on social media to leave the nagging impression that someone out there must take it seriously – so it’s worth highlighting toxic garbage when one encounters it.
“I don’t hate religion” says the author, but then goes on to say that he hates a whole bundle of pet peeves, pretty much all of which are the standard pejoratives levelled at religious belief via the scattergun of the new atheists. So, even the title is meaningless, for these days it is impossible for any Christian to hold consistently to his or her beliefs without this kind of accusation, which apparently bypasses the intellect, so swiftly and easily does it attain meme status.
The author also hates “self-righteous condemnation” and “patronising condescension” and “religious hypocrisy and arrogance“. Last time I looked, religious people hadn’t exactly cornered the market in these unlovely characteristics, and it does seem as if the author is giving himself a free pass for exactly those same crimes, judging by his tone of sneering put-down.
He hates “religious justifications for atrocities” but remains quite silent on the mendacious secular justifications for industrialised abortion, claiming some 894,000 lives so far this year (2017) in the USA alone. Compared to this, murder by gun crime (USA) runs at a mere 1.24% of this astounding figure – and there are those lobbyists who get all uppity about that. As well they should.
He hates “religion in politics” but I’m willing to bet that he likes human rights legislation, which has its origins in the Protestant Reformation, and that he’s very happy with politics in religion, insofar as external political lobbying seeks to intrude into Christian practice and secularise it.
He hates “religion disguised as science” but it does sound a little as if he is profoundly uninformed about the historic Christian foundation for modern science, giving rise, as it does to a worldview which makes the doing of science rational. Christians were doing the philosophy of science, and cataloguing and exploring the natural world for centuries before Dawkins came along and grabbed all the toys for himself and his mates.
I love it that he hates “zealotry’s ignorance of its own scripture’s content and context“. Having spent years of my life, debating with atheists who relished flourishing a favoured source of textual embarrassment in my face, without even the faintest hint of a suggestion that context was even a valid concept, this feels like the pot calling the kettle black. Perhaps the author has spent an unfortunately long portion of his life surrounded by empty-headed fundamentalists, but, frankly, this is poor fare – and sets the bar low for any kind of informed discourse.
That’s a whole lot of hate, packed into one little meme. I note, in closing that he also hates “hellfire“, and would comment that if there is a just God, and if there is something like a Judgement, then however this chap feels about it is going to be immaterial. But, thankfully, we’re at that time of the year when celebrating Christmas allows us to focus on much more positive values – of the coming Christ, the angel tells us ‘”and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)’ (Matthew 1:23). Christianity has always been about rescue and redemption, rather than about hating things.