LA Times on Atheism

I’m getting a bit bored with the whole atheism thing. While I haven’t engaged in any emailed debates for a couple of days the last 200 email saga is still playing itself out in my head. It just makes me angry. So angry that rather than beating my head against the desk I will share this recent opinion piece from the LA Times with you

The problem with atheists — and what makes them such excruciating snoozes — is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God’s existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God’s omniscience with free will or God’s goodness with human suffering.

What does strike me about the whole debate – and this article brought it home – is that atheists feel like they’re in the minority. In the US they may well be – it’s politically incorrect to be an atheist. But I’m not sure that the “religion” stats from censuses are anything to go by. And I’d suggest that in Australia being an atheist is the normal or default position (assuming that agnostics are just uncommitted atheists because most religions would suggest that if you don’t act like you believe in God, you don’t believe in God) – not the exception to the rule.

“A recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16% of Americans describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, only 1.6% call themselves atheists, with another 2.4% weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists). You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists’ failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall.”

That’s certainly not consistent with my experiences where I would expect the majority of people I deal with to be either atheists, or agnostics.

I’m wondering why the whole debate bothers me so much – and I suspect it really is that somewhat selfishly I’d like to be taken seriously and not treated like an idiot for having “an imaginary friend”…

Atheists seem to assume that the whole idea of God is a ridiculous absurdity, the “flying spaghetti monster” of atheists’ typically lame jokes. They think that lobbing a few Gaza-style rockets accusing God of failing to create a world more to their liking (“If there’s a God, why aren’t I rich?” “If there’s a God, why didn’t he give me two heads so I could sleep with one head while I get some work done with the other?”) will suffice to knock down the entire edifice of belief.