Well we are starting the year with a special guest post from a twitter ‘chum’ as Cropesy would say and a must follow my friends of twitter!
I have watched his masterful interactions for sometime in the twitterverse and it is with real pleasure I get to share his thoughts with you all.
So without further fanfare please enjoy the words of @lordcropes.
ANTI-THEISM (A PERSONAL VIEW)
After several years discussing evolution with creationists on various platforms, a couple of years ago I opened a Twitter account. The strict 140 character limit allowed me to respond to creationist silliness in seconds; rather than spending an hour explaining just why the theory of evolution and the Big Bang were in fact two entirely unrelated concepts.
Twitter is rife with foolishness. As far as I can tell most of it is simple ignorance, however many people are actually proud of their lack of knowledge. Too often have I responded to a creationist misconception and had willful ignorance thrown back at me.
For example :-
CREATIONIST: “Evolution is stupid!”
ME: “I suspect you don’t understand it. What part of the theory would you like explained?”
CREATIONIST: “I don’t need it explained. It’s a lie!”
100% of the time, this kind of willful ignorance is entirely down to their religious belief and the ‘discussion’ devolves into “Why do you hate God?… You’re gonna burn in Hell!… Why do you atheists only pick on Christians not Muslims, you Satan worshipping libtard?” etc.
The point is, I get accused of being an anti-theist because I try to explain science.
As it happens – I am an atheist. however theism and scientific literacy are not mutually exclusive. My oldest friend is a Catholic who accepts the Big Bang theory and understands that evolution is a fact.
MISREPRESENTATION OF ATHEISTS
Occasionally I respond to tweets from Christians & Muslims that contain untruths about atheists/atheism but that does not make me an anti-theist. It just makes me an atheist who is tired of being misrepresented.
CREATIONIST: “Atheists can’t say murder is bad and being kind is good as they have no basis for morality.”
ME: “Morality is a function of society and has a basis in evolution. Murder within a societal group makes that group weaker, so is a bad thing in evolutionary terms. Caring for other members of the group make that group stronger, so is a good thing in evolutionary terms. Therefore groups that possess moral traits will prosper and immoral ones won’t. So morality is in fact good evidence for evolution.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against anti-theism. I understand where many anti-theists are coming from and as a firm believer in free speech I would never tell them that they can’t air their views. I’m just not an anti-theist, myself.
My wife however, is a different kettle of fish entirely.
And they’re not Jesus fish.
Sue, my wife, does not like religion. Furthermore she is uncomfortable in the presence of overtly religious people. If she could, she would have all religions banned. She is a genuine anti-theist.
When she was eight years old, her dad drove the family to a Pentecostal church. Her mum, her sister and she watched fearfully while her dad writhed around on the floor speaking gibberish as the Holy Spirit (apparently) moved through his body.
Then on the drive back, her sister and she watched her dad smash her mum’s face on the dashboard because she wasn’t devout enough to accept the Holy Spirit.
The next time they went, her mum tried to speak in tongues but she wasn’t very good at it. Later that night her dad beat her up for lying to God.
The beatings were a regular occurrence but the violence was only ever directed at his wife, not his children. When Sue was ten, she used herself as a human shield when her dad threatened her mum with shotgun. Luckily she was right in thinking that he wouldn’t shoot his daughter.
Eventually, he was put on anti-psychotic medication and the police took away most of his guns (but not the ones he had buried in the garden).
The two girls and their mum escaped him and restraining orders were put in place.
In 2001, after hearing nothing of him for decades, my wife was contacted by her dad. He told her that he was dying and he wanted to see her. So the following weekend, I drove us from Cornwall to Scotland to meet him.
He’d married twice since Sue had seen him last. His second marriage failed for undisclosed reasons and his third wife died from an alcohol related illness.
He was working on new Bible code prophecies from Hebrew texts and had discovered that the world was going to end in 2006.Apparently, it was imperative that we introduced our children to God.Furthermore, God had spoken to him directly and told him that he didn’t have to comply with the laws of mortal men.
We drove back to Cornwall the next day and informed our children’s school in case he tried to abduct them. He left three threatening voicemails with us before we changed our number.
It was four long years before we heard that he had died. Frankly, it was a huge relief.
My wife is an ardent anti-theist. I understand why.
I am not.
I am a secularist. I do not believe in thought crime. Consequently, I have absolutely no problem with anyone believing in any god they like, even though there are plenty of religious beliefs that I find patently absurd. (Adam & Eve, I’m looking at you.)
You are free to hold religious views that make me positively angry. (Misogyny & homophobia rank highly here.) But don’t expect me to keep quiet about it if you air your views.
I despise the practices of some religions. (Don’t get me started on genital mutilation.) But if you commit a crime, I’ll report you.
I am free to “like” memes that poke fun at certain aspects of religion. (Sunday is a good day for these on Twitter.) But this still does not make me an anti-theist. Absurdities are funny by definition.
So if I’m not an anti-theist, what am I?
Well if the cartoon below is correct, I’m more than proud to call myself a New Atheist.
Find out more about SON and the shows that make up the network at Secular Outreach.com