Friday, December 18, 2009

Crystal Clear Atheism

An interesting (tho' fairly long) article about an evening spent at a fundraising evening for the Atheist Alliance International.
The biggest security guard I’ve ever seen in my life–this guy could work for Blackwater, and he’s got the coiled listening device spilling out of his left ear to prove it–has parked his burly self squarely in front of me, making it clear that I’d best slink back against the wall while the Rock Star of Atheism makes her entrance and a hundred entranced admirers take a collective breath, not quite believing they’re in her presence.
The whole article, entitled Joe Bob Biggs Parties with the Atheists repays the time spend reading it. Quite entertaining. Good quotes throughout about the new, more militant face of atheism:
Christopher Hitchens was an amusement of a different sort–first because he didn’t show up for his speech and several people had to go looking for him (“Check the bar!”), then because his thrown-together 19-minute talk was peppered with hysterical invective, as he described the “moon-faced Baptist preachers” and “smug smarmy rabbis” and “ghouls from Islamic organizations” he’d been forced to debate during the past year. Hitchens says most of them try to argue from some morally superior position, as though religion itself benefits society. “And yet there is this property of the supernatural–it attacks us in our core, despoils our sexuality, it is a source of misery, guilt, shame and immorality. And so my suggestion to you, when you encounter these people, is to say this: your antagonist has to make a moral statement that could not be made by a non-believer. Actually one was posted on my website. ‘Love your enemies.’ I don’t think that’s a moral statement. It’s immoral to say you love them.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What a good article in yesterday's Telegraph
by Christopher Howse!

Today, what we wear is ugly, though the meanest medieval labourer wore hand-made clothes. We can't name the stars, except the ones we see on TV. We can read, but can't be bothered to. We save time by driving, only to lose it by slumping on the sofa. We can't sing, can't dance, can't paint and can't drink politely in company. Yet we have the childish gall to patronise past centuries as inferiors.