164 comments posted · 320 followers · following 46
In any event, I dislike anything that tries to increase religious following, thereby decreasing rationality. If you're interested in what I wrote, it's at http://www.stateofprotest.com/morality/dont-buy-t...
"sharing" seems a bit weak there. Do we have good verb for "shoving a religion down everyone's throats as a way of life, and strong-arming the government and society into quashing all resistance"? If not, we should invent one.
Better version: <a href="http://www.stateofprotest.com/wp-content/uploads/..." target="_blank">http://www.stateofprotest.com/wp-content/uploads/...
Yes, I've played Portal through about three times now. Wicked game, and a great comparison to religion, Mojoey.
Anyway, I think it's helpful to have a list of good reasons and arguments presented by rational people, as has been excellently done above by your devoted commenters.
2. Precedent/floodgate/slippery slope argument: Once you break the rules you've established for one, does that mean others will follow? Will the rules steadily become weaker, less enforced, irrelevant? Will this become a "Whatever" blogroll, "as long as you mention 'atheist' somewhere in your blog"?
3. Argument from establishment: A blog run by a Christian is a blog run by a theist is a blog run by someone who is, by definition, the polar opposite of an atheist. Putting that blog on an atheist blogroll steers atheists and people who want to visit atheist blogs to, instead, a Christian's blog that merely allows chats about atheism. It's kind of like establishing a secular charity and then indicating to its members that it will be giving a portion of all donations to the Catholic church. Even if the church does something good with the money, the setup is wrong in principle. I honestly don't want to share this establishment with a Christian, regardless of how "fair" he may be. If he doesn't like it, he can become an atheist like the rest of the rational world.
4. Argument from minority: We atheists are members of the most shunned minority in history, and much of what we do is to contest with the imbalanced influence of Christians in the U.S. It's not utterly useless to share the stage with Christians in a debate, but when Christians already have the ear of the government, the hearts of the people, and the money from tax exemptions, what purpose does it serve our cause to give them a little bit more? If this were a "rational thinkers" blogroll, or something ambiguous with regard to theism, I wouldn't be making these arguments. It's not, however. It's an "atheist" blogroll, and we need as much atheist support as we can get.
5. Argument from numbers and pride. I don't believe pride is a sin, and when I look at the swelling membership of the blogroll, I feel proud that the atheist community has an effective online connection. Add a Christian to that members list, and it nullifies the effect of "here's a list of blogs run by atheists -- see, we're many and we're strong." I'd hate the blogroll to have to run a disclaimer, "oh, except for that one Christian we let in because he lets atheists chat on his blog; he's nice, though, you'd like him."
6. Social club argument: We're not getting government money for this. It's a privately run, privately funded operation. There's no good reason to let someone in who clearly does not fit the membership requirements or spirit of the endeavor. Would the DNC allow a Republican member?
7. Elitist argument: I consider myself an elitist, at least to an extent. Perhaps I'm a wannabe elitist, but my point here is that I sincerely want to see Christians fail. I want to see irrationality wiped clean from this planet, from the public schools, government, and all facets of life. I want people to embrace reason, and I want people who do to be placed on pillars and admired. Dawkins, Stenger, Hitchens, Harris, Myers, Condell, and others just like them are people who deserve to be praised and admired (no, not worshiped) for their good works and courage, and, most of all, for their rationality. And, like the selfish person I am, I want others to think of me in positive ways, at least with regard to rationality, and I want to know and associate with others worthy of respect for their attempt to infuse the world with a bit of reason. I cannot bring myself to acknowledge or respect in that manner a person who still calls himself Christian. (There's a different level of respect for a Christian who does good things, but it's not the same). And I believe this blogroll should be reserved for those who do deserve that higher level of respect that comes with intellectual honesty and integrity.
I'm surprised no one else got it.
First, thank you for your second thought (going on to read the post). :)
Second, I find it interesting that your response is fundamentally a rationalization, justifying your actions by claiming they're just "human" responses, and implying that you're not responsible for those reactions for that very reason. I'm not disagreeing, but don't we rational humans strive to overcome base instinct in favor of reason and altruism?
I'm certainly not an accommodationist, but I do like to try to examine my behavior in light of what I see as good and bad in others, and I think it's disturbing when Christians mock non-believers or people of other religions when they think they've achieved some victory. I just don't want to put myself in that camp. But here I am.
Perhaps you're right about it being just a human reaction, but I'd like to qualify that. When the abortion doctor, George Tiller, was murdered, a number of Christians stood up and said, effectively, yay. And they genuinely felt positive about it. I found that disgusting, as did many others, including religious people. But what happened the other day when the anti-abortion protester Jim Pouillon was shot and killed? If you're right about the human reaction, pro-choice people would have cheered a bit inside, and perhaps openly, right? I'm not sure that happened. I think the pro-choice people would view his or any death as a terrible tragedy. Of course, we can't be sure about every one of them, but for the most part, can you actually imagine a majority of rational pro-choicers being genuinely happy that the anti-abortion protester was murdered? Perhaps that is the case. I don't know.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if we chose to, we could learn to react differently to bad things happening to others. I do think, though, that there's a distinction between something as bad as murder and a court victory based on a reasonable interpretation of the Constitution. And I can see that you've made that distinction, choosing to view a victory dance as a celebration of a just victory under the law rather than a defeat or punishment for those who were essentially breaking the law (or just acting unconstitutionally). I'd like to see, though, what you think about a situation not so black and white. Like the abortion/anti-abortion example I made.