DAoS: There are only two kinds of atheist

The truth is not for everyone and the truth can be elusive. If you find this all too stressful, look away now.

Atheist dichotomies. Hard-Soft. Weak-Strong. Militant-Tolerant. Bright-Stupid. Nones-Somes. All complete and utter crap.

There are only two kinds of atheist. Nevers and evers.

Are you an atheist and have you ever been a theist? You’re an Ever.

Are you an atheist and have you never been a theist? You’re a Never.

When will an Ever be as good, smart and virtuous as a Never? Never.

“Whaaaaaa! I came from a harsh fundamentalist background. PITY ME LIKE I PITY ME!”

No. The Universe without God is a harsh place. If you want to get used of it, you have to get used of not having you mother wipe your arse for you. Wipe it yourself milquetoast.

With the publication of The God Delusion, written by Richard Dawkins (an ever himself), closeted Evers have found a modicum of self-respect and thrown of the shackles of servitude to Santa for grown ups. In droves they have joined atheist communities.

I remember godless culture from before all these freaky refugees turned up. Back before all the tents made from tracts and hair-shirt adorned clotheslines, turned up to form a shanty town.

It wasn’t much, but our atheist culture was nice. Thanks Richard. Who were you to invite these basket-cases, anyway? You aren’t the Pope of atheism.

Oh, so they’re atheists now? Look, as any of us with a brain knows, atheism doesn’t grant virtue. Humanism may or may not, depending on the make and model, but atheism doesn’t. So suddenly becoming an atheist earns people precisely zero brownie points.

Look at it this way…

Take the paedophile priest. Suddenly, he’s caught and excommunicated (yeah, yeah I know – but this is a thought experiment) and in the process finds to his delight, that he never had any reason to believe in God to begin with. He just believed because his parents did – it’s always someone else’s fault after all. Especially with paedophiles.

So, the paedophile priest becomes an atheist. My question is, now that he’s an atheist, do you leave your kids alone with him and a jar of petroleum jelly?

If you say no, then you see my point. If you say yes, you’re a fool. A paedophile enabling fool. Maybe you worked for the Rat-Zinger before you became an Ever?

It’s not just run-of-the-mill criminal urges that atheism doesn’t cure of course. How many Evers, before they became Evers, enabled, facilitated or enacted religious brainwashing of the young? Their own young perhaps. This kind of dogmatic epistemology doesn’t just up and leave town just because its fundy host finds a new in-group to extract benefits from.

Religious fundamentalism has given the Godless world an injection of numbers, and an injection of culture. And norms. And values. And morals. And IQ scores.

Disturbingly it’s also given us new leaders. What the hell is an ex-fundy songwriter doing running the Freedom from Religion Foundation? Do atheists want it to be run like a cult? It can happen to atheists – just look at Ayn Rand’s sorry bunch of fawning sycophants. Well, I’m here to tell you that the Nevers don’t like it one bit.

Why are Nevers, Nevers and Evers, Evers? We’re told it’s socio-economics. We’re told it’s educational opportunity. We’re told it’s childhood environment. Crap.

Whatever your walk of life, adults bullshit their kids in various ways and about various things. Nevers choose not to believe. Before they are Evers, Evers do.

It’s not nurture, it’s nature. Nevers are intrinsically better. Don’t get me wrong – environment matters – a Never is more likely to become a Christey if they have a shit life. But all things being equal, potential Evers will never outperform potential Nevers in the Godlessness stakes.

It’s something that echos on through their CV of Godlessness. Which makes me wonder, who was reading these CVs when ex-fundie Shermer was anointed King Skeptic? Why is so much of the work published about atheism, the work of the once-were-woo-addicts? I can understand the whole letting-God-go thing, but what about the getting-on-without-God? Who is best suited to that? Nevers of Evers?

Frankly, as someone who got on as a good kid without God at a younger age than Dawkins, Shermer and the other Evers, ever did, I think I’ve got more to offer in this respect. You guys deal with the trials and tribulations of your fellow refugees, and leave the atheism to people like me. The ones who are good at it.

And for all you Evers out there, could you at least stop taking your hosts for granted, okay? We have different needs and imperatives and much more familiarity with godlessness than you ever will. You can stay if you can stay out-of-the-way.

It’s atheist culture. Not Theoholics Anonymous.

“Ah’ve been without Christ for six months. It’s been hard, but…” But blah blah blah.

You Evers need to know whose house you’re living in now.

~ Bruce

Disclosure: Feeling defensive, frustrated, confused? Read this.

A new kind of blog post – Devil's Advocate on Steroids

I’ve been known to speak my mind from time to time, and then some. To hyperbolise.

But I don’t hyperbolise like a crazy person. When I exaggerate, I know I’m exaggerating. And I’m not exaggerating with the expectation that you’ll take the exaggeration entirely too seriously.

If I told you I don’t earn a single cent, I wouldn’t expect you to go away with the understanding that I have no money. Just that I’m earning a little less than is conducive to day-to-day life. I’m assuming you aren’t stupid. Be flattered.

Hyperbole has function. It can provide humour. It can be a part of a valid and effective reductio ad absurdum, where the audience gets the point but doesn’t take the proportions too literally. Hyperbole can lead to “what if?” speculation. Hyperbole can point down the direction of the if-not-immediately-possible, at outcomes possible if people aren’t to careful.

Calling Glenn Beck a terrorist, which I haven’t done but have seen others do, is an example of the if-not-immediately-possible. And if you don’t take it too literally, and if this is conveyed in the right way, you’ll get the point. There is risk in Glenn Beck’s conspiracy-minded, revolutionary talk. Can you really exclude the possibility that one of Beck’s cultish followers, driven by Beck’s rhetoric, could do something violently stupid in the name of the revolution?

No. So you get the point. See? I knew I was right not to assume you were stupid.

Thus far though, my hyperbole has been my usual idiosyncratic self, doing what comes naturally. It hasn’t been that deliberate and much less has it been calculated.

With this in mind, I’m considering trying some Devil’s-advocate-on-steroids kind of blogging. Devil’s advocate with a rough pinch of truth, just to make it uncomfortable. Because I don’t think anyone with intellectual aspirations should be too comfortable in their assumptions. Comforting as it may seem, it’s just too careless. If you’re a thinker, you need your cage rattled from time to time. If you don’t like it, step away.

I’m going to say things that will offend some people. But people should keep in mind that I don’t literally mean what I write in these posts. At least not each and every point.

I’ll reserve the right not to disclose what points I do and don’t believe. That’s for you to work out. I’m rattling your cage.

People familiar enough with what I write will probably be able to tell a lot of what I do or don’t really mean. I’d encourage people who aren’t familiar with my line of argument to try and understand, and for those that don’t know me, not to pretend that they do. And please all, keep in mind it’s not my intent to hurt anyone – or have anyone hurt their own feelings by reading these posts wrong.

Again, if it’s too harsh, turn back. Read something else or come back to it later or just avoid my blog altogether if you want to believe that I’m that much of a dickhead. This isn’t intended as an exercise in me judging you, so I won’t be screaming victory if you leave with your tail between your legs.

If you do stay, I’d ask that you direct your questions about these ultra-hyperbolic posts either to yourself, or to other readers. And I’d ask you not to avoid questioning anything that comes to mind if you can – this is the reason I want to shake some cages. I’m not going to make it easy on anyone by removing the ambiguity, so if you ask me, don’t expect that you’ll get a straight answer.

I’ll try not to violate people’s trust in me, or at least the trust that I’ve been given. I’ll try to remember to link to this post as a kind of disclosure, but this is all the warning I’m intending to give.

It’s not an opinion piece, it’s a stimulus for discussion.

~ Bruce