Someone sent me a link to this ‘blog’ entry titled “10 Questions Every Intelligent Christian Must Answer”. Now, I definitely don’t agree with the premise. I don’t think we are obliged to answer most of the questions, springing as they do out of sheer ignorance and contempt. What I found most telling about this entry with 850 kudos and 5,000 comments and applauded by Sam Harris himself is the rationale that follows his list:
When you use your brain, and when you think logically about your religious faith, you can reach only one possible conclusion: the “god” that you have heard about since you were an infant is completely imaginary. You have to willfully discard rationality, and accept hundreds of bizarre rationalizations to believe in your “god.”
Now, let me ask you one last question: Why should you care? What difference does it make if people want to believe in a “god”, even if he is imaginary?
It matters because people who believe in imaginary beings are delusional.
It matters because people who talk to imaginary beings are delusional.
It matters because people who believe in imaginary superstitions like prayer are delusional.
It’s that simple, and that obvious. Your religious beliefs hurt you personally and hurt us as a species because they are delusional. The belief in any “god” is complete nonsense.
You are a smart person. It is time for you to use your intelligence to free yourself from these delusions. It is time for you to begin thinking like a rational human being, rather than clinging to imaginary friends and childhood fantasies.
This is a glimpse into the mind of the militant atheist. Not every atheist is militant, mind you. However, it is the militant atheists at large in society writing books, pushing for legislation, etc, etc. We need to read between the lines a bit here. The question posed was why should you care if a person wants to believe in a god even if he is imaginary. The answer given is because believing in imaginary things is delusional. However, that only pushes the question back one step- why should we care if a person believes in a delusion?
The answer is hinted at in the sentence “Your religious beliefs hurt you personally and hurt us as a species.”
Now, you, my dear reader, are a smart person. What does society do when they believe someone is hurting themselves or hurting society, ie, they are delusional. Why, they lock them up. Or, in another time and place, they send them to gulags and re-education camps. Will this ‘smart’ blogger advocate for the logical consequence of his argument? Of course not. For one thing, that’s just not the kind of thing you admit. For another thing, he being ‘rational’ and all, won’t see the relationship between the argument and the obvious action to take.
This is like Richard Dawkins arguing that teaching the doctrine of hell is more abusive to a child then sexual abuse but do we hear Dawkins arguing that children should be taken out of the homes where that doctrine is taught and given over to the state? Of course not. But that is exactly what we do if we think sexual abuse is going on and if we think the doctrine of hell is worse than that then obviously we’d all the more want to remove the child from that situation. This thought doesn’t even occur to Dawkins.
This is what passes as rational, intelligent, thought: Spouting arguments and then not even being smart enough to think through to the obvious actions that ought to follow if your argument is true… or not having the courage to think it… or say it.
I cannot resist once again quoting from that atheist Ayn Rand, where she records in the introduction to her little book Anthem:
“Some might think- though I don’t- that nine years ago there was some excuse for men not to see the direction in which the world was going. Today, the evidence is so blatant that no excuse can be claimed by anyone any longer. Those who refuse to see it now are neither blind nor innocent.
The greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one’s eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: “But I didn’t mean this!”
Now, if you really believe Christians are delusional child abusers, your course of action is quite clear if you have any ethical bone in your body- if you are not advocating the confinement of Christians to asylums and mental institutions and the removal of their children to the care of the state, then you either too mentally untrained so as to not see your next step or you are too cowardly to say it aloud. But perhaps you do think it… and are making steps in that direction, and nine years hence you will take the world in precisely this direction…
The content of militant atheism needs to be examined. It needs to be exposed. It needs to be called to task. Now, while we still can.
If anyone would like me to respond to any of the 10 ‘questions’ I certainly can, although honestly they’ve been answered by many better then me and most centuries before I was even born.
By the way, not all imaginary things are delusions. Models of the atom, for example, are imaginary things.