Charlotte Allen's recent diatribe against atheists created a minor tempest in a teacup—and rightly so. Until last week's ill-conceived editorial in the LA Times, I had never heard of the woman. A friend sent me a link to Charlotte's venom-dripping web of misrepresentations.
My friend could not even finish reading the article.
Irritation keeps me awake.
My irritation resulted from the transparent attempt to poison the well – there's a lot of that going around – against atheistic non-acceptance of theistic claims.
Frankly, I don't give a toss whether or not Charlotte finds us atheists "boring". We shall happily spare her feelings and not include her on our list of dinner guests when next we have pizza and beer. Or, are atheists supposed to serve tofu and herbal tea?
Allen's emotional stance does underline the fact that theists have not a fact to stand on in defending their beliefs. Without any recourse to incontrovertible evidence for the "omnipotent, omnipresent creator" that Christians love to worship, they have only emotional reactions, fallacies of logic, and invented "facts".
(Misinterpreted evidence is not evidence. There's a lot of that going around too.)
Even if every atheist on the planet were a terminal bore who speaks of nothing but lack-of-belief-in-supernatural-myths, that would not render disbelief invalid. Nor would it render disbelief valid. That is the point. Personal, emotion-invoking qualities of the thinkers signify nothing about the truth value of the thoughts.
Being mostly both rational and liberal, atheists would accept claims for deities if undeniable evidence of their existence were presented. In the meantime, with respect to something for which there should be evidence, to demand belief despite the total absence of corroborating evidence is to be worse than boring, it is to be ... er ... um ... er ... deluded.
Small wonder, then, that Charlotte cannot protect her cherished beliefs without launching an ill-informed attack on atheists.
Just a couple of her misrepresentations:
Myth #1: Atheists do not refute apologetics.
Admittedly, my refutations are not detailed. However, some atheistic bloggers and video-uploaders take an analytic philosophical approach and do a very thorough job of refuting apologetics.
Myth #2: Atheists can hope for election to political office.
Americans themselves refuted this myth in a recent poll. They would, despite 9/11, sooner elect a Muslim than an atheist. (The result is that political hopefuls in America feign religiosity.)
Charlotte tries to slip one under our rational radar when she claims that old laws against allowing atheists to hold office in a mere six states demonstrates that public office is accessible to atheists.
There should not even be old or new laws, whether in one state or fifty, against public positions for atheists. Why not? The First Amendment to the Constitution is why not. You know the one, the law about separation of church and state. Yes that one — that same law that religionists use to overprotect their religious beliefs. The law that should also apply to those who hold different beliefs.
End of story.
Obviously not the end of the story for voters, but definitely the end for Allen's argument.
As to the attitude of a significant portion of Americans to atheists, I'll quote some Americans:
She writes as if atheists don't get death threats from Christians simply for writing about atheism or talking about it in public. She writes as if we don't get our property vandalized by Christians if we get outed as atheists. She writes as if there are no parts of
where we could lose our jobs for being atheists. Allen writes as if completely unaware that Christians spend millions of dollars every year to put their religious beliefs into law - laws which everyone, regardless of religion or non-religion, will be required to follow. She writes as if Christians don't intimidate the children of atheists in attempts to convert them which sometimes ends up in peer violence visited upon those children. America
Show me several million atheists trying to force their beliefs into law, trying to use legal force to coerce all Americans to follow their beliefs. Show me the school children forced to perform atheist rituals under fear of punishment from adults and peers. Show me the atheists protesting at funerals - and I might start to listen to you, Ms. Allen.
I live in the Biblebelt where atheism is equated with immorality and depravity. I get judged left right and center by religious nuts who are pro-war, pro-torture and pro-death penalty; I am anti all violence and YET they act as if they are on the moral highway.[source]