Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fallacy: Fascination = Doubt

I think a great feature would be to keep a running tab of religious fallacies used here on the blog. This way, when I keep seeing the same ones, I can link to posts that explain in detail why the argument makes no sense.

Today’s fallacy is one I like to call, “Fascination = Doubt.” The idea here is that because I’m an atheist who writes about religion, I must know deep down that religion is true and that my inability to abandon religion implies I value religion in some way.

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think religion plays a wonderful role in society. I can literally identify whether or not someone is a fool just by their jewelry. Cross? Moron. Star of David? Moron, though they could probably do my taxes. Pentagram? Rebel who will blow you if you say you listen to Marilyn Manson.

Basically, religion is a great way for people to easily self-identify and segregate themselves in a meaningful way so that others can accurately judge what kind of person they are. Like… being an atheist means I’m a judgmental prick who thinks he knows everything. This method is way better than racism, since you get to choose how others see you.

Now, why would I write about religion? Well, why do Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly always talk about liberals? If you view a particular group of people as being detrimental to society, you tend to criticize them. It’s not like Rush and Bill are closet-liberals who are actually kind, giving individuals who think of others before themselves. They really are just assholes who hate poor people and I really am just an asshole who is disgusted by religion.

What’s more, I am fascinated by many religions. In fact, these days I spend most of my time reading Greek and Roman mythology… so does that mean I am questioning my doubt in the existence of Zeus?

In truth, I just absorbed everything at my disposal when it comes to Christianity. I could read the books of various authors and pore through the exegesis of theologians of every stripe… but the truth is, I know nearly as much about the source material as anyone could possibly know. I’m not saying I could beat Ken Jennings at a game of Bible Jeopardy (and I would be really screwed if we included the Book of Mormon), I’m just saying I have digested the overall material and what I lack is merely specific minutia which I could cross reference in minutes if I needed to.

So why do I post about Christianity if I’m fascinated by other religions? I have found most people don’t care about Odinism because 1) most people aren’t Odinists, 2) Odinists have very little impact on society, and 3) most people have never met an Odinist at all, if they even know what it means. Generally, I have no audience for something like that, and I even question what the motive of such a post would be.

Ultimately, I tend to post about Christianity because it is this brand of religion that dominates the political landscape of the country where I live. I post largely for the amusement of atheists, because I cannot pretend to be capable of altering a religious person’s views. In that regard, I am reminded of an old joke:

How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.

I think I could do this for 500 years and still never change the mind of a Christian, but that’s okay. To me, it’s about quality, not quantity. We don’t want you believers, anyway… you would totally ruin it for us. For the love of God… don’t stop believing.

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