Following on from the previous post, where it seemed the Archbishop of York was a strong contender for Idiot of the Year award, I have stumbled upon a post by Dinesh D’Souza (via Nullifidian’s blog once more) and Oh My Thor, if we don’t have an even stronger contender. Two wingnuts in one weekend. Loki must be having a field day!
In a post titled “Unbelief as a Form of Payback” Dinesh D’Souza rants on about Atheism (as he has done a few times previously, see Nullifidians blog for more links) and how it basically has nothing to offer the bereaved after an incident like the Virginia Tech shooting. He writes:
Actually my point was a simple one, and it seems to be unrefuted. Atheism seems to have nothing to say to people when there is serious bereavement or tragedy. Of course atheists have feelings and there were undoubtedly atheists among the mourners at Virginia Tech. But the Richard Dawkins philosophy–that we live in a meaningless world where there is no good and no evil–whatever its intellectual merit, seems arid and unconsoling when human beings are really hurting.
Well, while there is some initial appeal from what he is saying (this is normally the whole basis of the theistic wingnut’s arguments, they have superficial appeal but collapse under scrutiny…), it really is not as valid as he seems to think. It appears that the argument in support of Theism is not that it is true or correct but that it gives you “kind things” to say those who grieve after terrible events.
Like I said, it has appeal. D’Souza even produces some examples where his hypothetical Atheist would be at a loss to say comforting words to a grieving mother. The problem is his argument is based on the principle that the grieving mother is a theist of the same denomination as the person giving comfort. If I was a grieving parent, telling me my children were with God now would not comfort me, if I were a Hindu telling me my children were with Allah now would not help. The argument does not hold up to scrutiny. You can make any nice, comforting, gestures you like after a terrible event. Tell the parents their children did not suffer is a common example.
With what looks to me like an appeal to ridicule, D’Souza writes:
One atheist wrote to say that rather than rely on idle promises of fantasies of life after death, what atheists would say is that we need gun control laws and a better health care system. Fair enough, but is this what you tell a crying mother? “Madam, you should feel much better because new gun control laws and mental health reforms are on their way.”
It would be funny if I didn’t think he was serious.
What is entertaining though, is the idea that this Theist is basically accepting as a fact that the benefit of religion is the delusion it offers people. For the final ironic humour though, D’Souza finishes his spewings with a prime example of the theistic mistake: (emphasis in original)
I wonder if the abuse that atheists heap on people when their ideas are questioned is indicative of a deeper malady. Atheists like to portray themselves as devotees of reason, but read the responses and see how much reason you discover there. Rather, it looks like these fellows hate God, and this hate spills over to anyone who brings up God’s name. Call it the atheism of revenge. They blame God for screwing them over in some way, and unbelief is their form of payback.
It always amazes me how people can think I hate something I don’t think exists. It is like hating the tooth fairy.