Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Atheists: Outrage Does Not Suit You

It’s that time again, when atheists are out in full force behind one of their pet-causes. You don’t have to wait long in the atheist blogging world, because it’s such a small, inter-connected place. When one atheist gets so much as a whiff of religious crazy, the whole pack is alerted.

I’m not going to link to the guy or post his name, for obvious reasons, but some Evangelical pastor suggested that atheists be registered, like sex offenders and convicts. This is the news of the moment among atheists, or at least it was last week (I guess now it’s not news, it’s olds).

Look folks… atheists need to stop being the free advertising and marketing department of Christian extremists. That’s what all of you are, posting this guy’s blog link and name everywhere. You aren’t “getting the word out” on some horrible form of oppression against atheists, you’re feeding the ego of a man who isn’t worth the time or the trouble.

If you honestly believe the idea of an atheist registry is a viable threat, then I do want your name on a list. I would like that list, so I have a complete record of who to ignore as being a know-nothing chicken-little who gets upset over juvenile fantasies.

I saw this guy’s post a while ago, I believe a day or two after it was originally posted. I read the same words every other atheist who went to his blog read. My reaction wasn’t outrage, nor did I think to compare this man to Hitler or Stalin, nor did I even consider writing a post about him.

No, my reaction was amusement, and I would compare him to that pastor who burned a Quran, in that he is a harmless attention whore. I still have no interest in doing a post about him, but I am indirectly doing so, not because of what he said, but because of the ridiculous and overblown reaction to his nonsense that is coming from the atheist community.

This post isn’t about him, it’s about how little respect I have come to have for atheist bloggers. I’m glad I have little or nothing to do with most of you, and I am reminded on a near weekly basis of why I am infinitely happier for never affiliating myself with any sort of atheist group.

Why do atheist bloggers insist on making one nutball’s idea go viral? Do atheists realize that by posting and reposting this guy’s insanity all over the place that they’re just doing him a great service?

I’m even tempted to do a search for the ridiculous things I have seen and read about this incident on atheist blogs. The sheer level of pseudo-indignation is enough to make me uninterested in re-reading any of it. I even heard from my wife that when there were redirection errors sending people away from atheist blogs during some sort of script coding error last week on atheist blogrolls, people were blaming this pastor and his “atheist registry” in the blogger help forums.

Frankly, it’s to the point that these sort of incidents happen so often, where atheists get up on their high-horse and heap piles of scorn (and undue publicity) on the otherwise ignored religious fringe, that I am flirting with the idea of just disassociating myself from atheism. I honestly want nothing to do with you people sometimes.

Yes, we get it. There are crazy people who say crazy things. This sort of incident tends to highlight what is so lazy and unintellectual about most atheist bloggers: they are reactionary. Too many atheists think atheism is about sitting back and waiting for a religious person to say something, and to then get offended and write about how offensive religious people are. This sort passive-whining strategy is annoying, not just to me, but to anyone who isn’t atheist.

Whether you’re trying to or not, focusing on the religious extremists of the world makes atheism look stupid. Anyone can point to a religious nut and criticize them, and I mean literally anyone, even most religious people.

Have a little integrity and try criticizing someone who isn’t screaming out and begging to be publicly made a spectacle. Better yet, ignore religious people entirely, and focus instead on the ideas you hear them repeat every day, because these are the things that need to be addressed if atheism is to make any headway into the ranks of those who believe. Religious extremists are nothing but flesh-and-blood strawmen who serve only as an ideological distraction.

There is no novelty left in religion, so there is nothing new that can be said by the religious that warrants a response. As far as the pro-belief stance is concerned, it’s all out there on the table already, and in some cases, it has been for centuries.

Maybe this is what drives atheists to latch onto every little scrap of religious extremism they can dig up. Maybe most atheist bloggers have just run out of ideas, and the temptation to write the easy piece about a total whackjob is too great to pass up. But I assure you: there are still new ways of looking at things, it just takes creativity and a complete rethinking of the matter. I just get the feeling most atheists lack the former, and are frightened of the latter.


  1. We don't seem to agree on much, but I'm with you on this one.

  2. "You aren’t “getting the word out” on some horrible form of oppression against atheists, you’re feeding the ego of a man who isn’t worth the time or the trouble."

    Well said. People like Dawkins like to act as if they were Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei in one person, while they really are well-paid professors or ex-professors, who play persecuted the way Marie-Antoinette played shepherd.

  3. Responding with anything but jest to this pastor and his "list" is certainly a waste of time IMO. The guy's either an idiot or a blatant troll.

    I don't know why you seem to take it so personally that some chose to respond seriously though. They were off the mark but that's not a reason to lump all atheist bloggers together as one big waste of bytes, unworthy of respect and act like you're more focused and creative and innovative and whatever than them all. And then here you are, posting about the pastor anyway! Indirectly, to be sure, but making sure everyone knows you knew about him right away, just like everyone else, but were too far above the fray to respond. Frankly it's a bit juvenile and somewhat counterproductive if your goal is to elevate atheist blogging beyond reactionary ranting.

  4. I must admit I am guilty of leaving a comment on the guy's blog. It was only two sentences, pointing out how ridiculous he was being, and at that time I had only heard one person mention it.. the person who directed me toward the blog. Only a few days later, everyone on Twitter (which is my "atheism discussion outlet") was talking about him and his goofy propostion.
    Yeah, he's just some random nut off the internet. I personally found it interesting because I am fascinated by people's misconceptions about atheism and the way that some people directly associate being atheist with being "evil". Living in a small, predominantly Christian town, I could relate to how people were personally offended by the nutjob's assumptions and comparisons.
    I agree that we are guilty of giving him publicity, but honestly, I don't care whether the guy's ego was flattered by the attention or whether he was shamed. It makes no difference to me. I just found it amusing and worth sharing simply as an example of precisely how narrow-minded some people can be.

  5. Meh, leaving a comment on someone's blog isn't the same as what I was talking about. I'm all for criticizing someone, especially where they can see it. I just find the fact that almost every atheist blog I read did posts all about him (sometimes even made videos), most of which seemed to take him far more seriously than I think he did (I think he was being slightly facetious, but if he wasn't, kudos to him on the creativity of his nonsense).


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