Functional Religionists

In responding to this NPR post, I found myself returning again to what I was saying last time and what I regularly say about religion, that it’s an addictive vice. I know nothing about the author, so I don’t know if he’s one of the religion appeasers (and thus, an enabler) but a couple of things he said bothered me. Have a read and if my comment doesn’t appear there, well I have it here…

What on Earth is an atheist fundamentalist? I’d love to hear a breakdown of that label sir, for it’s nonsensical to me.

As for the scientists who see their work as unraveling their god’s work, well yes, if that’s truly the extent of their belief than they’re functional religionists. By the same token, we shouldn’t be upset if they show up for work smelling of scotch. If they can function with a buzz, what’s the problem? Of course one could argue drinking is a problem to their health, but that’s their choice, right? We do, however, put our foot down when that drinking threatens others, and I think that’s precisely what the objections are to religious use, that it’s very difficult to isolate the effects to just oneself.

I agree that science doesn’t have an anti-religion agenda, but it does have a seek and share the truth agenda, and so if there are truths to be said concerning religion and/or its effects, it should say them without worrying about anyone’s delicate sensibilities. And let’s not forget, whereas science has no anti-religion agenda, religion has quite the history of an anti-science, or more specifically, an anti-inquiry agenda.

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7 Responses to “Functional Religionists”

  1. Well put Phillychief.

  2. I saw a bumper sticker today that I think needs an adaptation:
    Impairment begins with the first drink

    Perhaps:
    Impairment begins with the first rationalization

  3. Nice comment, and it does appear at the Web site. So far, there are no responses to what you said, but I'll keep checking.

  4. Erin Bell addressed this to Philly:

    A fundamentalist atheist, Philly Chief, if I may answer you, is someone who tries to push atheism on others and sees it as the only useful (i.e., the fundamental) manner in which to look at the world–effectively seeing those who don't subscribe to it as inferior human beings. One need only look at "The Brights" to see a solid example of this fundamentalism.

    What does Ms. Bell have in mind when she writes of atheists pushing our views on others? Is she picturing us going door-to-door with anti-god tracts? Or standing on street corners quoting from On the Origin of Species, Why I Am Not a Christian, or Natural Atheism? Or, is she offended by the fact that some atheists speak openly and have the temerity to suggest that religious propositions should be examined with the same scrutiny as other propositions? Oh, the horror!

    Furthermore, she's got it backwards when she says that fundamentalist atheists think that atheism is the only useful way to look at the world. She doesn't seem to realize that atheism is the conclusion of many inquiries, not a premise. She also doesn't seem to realize that atheism doesn't figure into many inquiries at all. Rationalism, empiricism and experimentalism are demonstrably effective methods of looking at the world. One need not be an atheist to engage in any of those practices, though many who engage in those activities do, eventually, derive atheism as a conclusion.

    Not surprisingly, she plays the "atheists think they're better than anyone else" card. We're not the ones going around telling people who don't agree with us that their disagreement renders them deserving of eternal torment, as well as immoral and untrustworthy.

    The only thing I agree with her about is that the Brights idea was, ironically, one of the stupidest notions I've ever come across.

  5. I left another comment which addressed bullshit from numerous other commenters, including Erin Bell. There's a word limit I think though.

    One thing which I find very annoying, and something which may be a growing cultural problem, is this idea that everyone has a right to say whatever the fuck they want and that it's intolerant to challenge what they're saying. That's simply bullshit. People are wrong from time to time, and if they were raised correctly, they can handle being wrong. Still, whether they can handle it or not, guess what? IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER! That has no bearing on whether 2+2=4!

  6. My goodness! Some of those commenters are really shoveling out the shit. I hope you were wearing boots.

  7. LMAO!!! You think the religionists get more intoxicated when they start rationalizing!? I never thought about religion as being an event comparable to drinking booze before.

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