Saturday, June 09, 2007

An Atheist Triangulates

Karl Reitz, an atheist, writes about religions in an article titled, Hitchens Is Not Great: An Atheist's Defense of Religion, in TCSDaily. Excerpts:
The obvious examples of secularized religions are communism, socialism, and fascism, each of which generally involves worshipping government by slightly different rituals or for slightly different reasons. As these convictions faded, faith in the welfare state, and especially environmental protection, has risen to take their place for reasons government should be worshipped. Environmentalist devotees claim that we will experience the (apocalypse) disasters, for which some people are rebuilding Noah's Ark. These disasters can be prevented if we take the advice of (prophets) people who understand, like Al Gore. Of course, if we (sin) pollute a little too much, well, we can always buy (indulgences) carbon offsets. [Words in parentheses crossed out in original] [...]

Even if the secular authors' ire is well-justified, we are never going to live in a world in which the vast majority of people don't have faith in something, whether that something is God or Government. As an atheist I feel much less threatened by someone who is willing to put off perfection by relegating it to another place than I do by someone who thinks they can create it here and now. In other words, I think that the chance that a religion will "poison everything" is indirectly proportional to the length of time the proponents of the religion think it will take to perfect this world. Therefore, nothing scares me more than the demagogue who promises to immediately do just that. Without traditional religion, I think we would have a lot of demagogues in this mold.
While I can appreciate Karl's viewpoint, I can also be somewhat annoyed that he thinks that his sect of atheism is not religious. He assumes, as many atheists do, that "...we atheists take pride in only thinking realistically." This statement is as fraught with faith as other beliefs. Nonetheless, we do agree on the religious nature of and inherent danger in Al Gore's Church of Gaia.

1 comment:

Al said...

Hey! I like some atheists!