June 27, 2002


"You Americans really love a lawsuit, don't you?" said my young British wife, as we watched the feeble-minded fellow who brought the pledge of allegiance case making the rounds on TV last night. "What a waste of time." Especially since, as everybody keeps saying, there's a war on.

I see why she was so puzzled. After all, England is probably the least religious society on earth, yet people seem to handle the fact that every other building is a church and that references to God abound: hardly anyone feels oppressed by history itself, as many of us appear to be. They don't shy away from words the way we do, nor do they seem to have our faith that complex problems can be dispensed with simply by devising the proper euphemism. Ironically, I think it is partly our Puritan past that accounts for the fact that we are capable of turning just about anything, even the lack of something, into a focus of passionate belief and a basis for a distinctly American type of persecution mania.

Listening to this man, who seems to have devoted a pretty big chunk of his life to the anti-God cause, preach his passionate belief in lack of belief, and the need to protect the tender sensibilities of atheist children, I realized something else: his cause is yet another variety of identity politics. Atheology is the new victimology. Fortunately, it is perhaps the form of identity politics (atheist rights?) that stands the least chance of doing any damage. But it sure is silly.

My favorite statement on this subject is from the first edition (1768-1771) of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which has the following entry for "Atheist":

a person who does not believe the existence of a Deity. Many people, both ancient and modern, have pretended to atheism, or have been reckoned atheists by the world; but it is justly questioned whether any man seriously adopted such a principle. These pretensions, therefore, must be founded on pride or affectation.

I have nothing to add to that.

Posted by Dr. Frank at June 27, 2002 11:41 AM | TrackBack

Dr. Frank,

I just read your entry on "Atheology" today--how refreshing! I am just so damn fed-up with all the bitchin' and moaning coming from every single little insignificant minority fringe-group on the planet--gay rights, animal rights, boy-lovers' rights--and now, ATHEIST rights?! Gimme a fucking break! Where will it end?

You know what we *should* do is kick the anti-God coalition out of our nation UNDER GOD once and for all. This is a CHRISTIAN country--it was founded by a CHRISTIAN people attempting to escape religious persecution in Europe--and if they wanna to throw a temper-tantrum everytime some teacher or politician or WHATEVER utters a word that has anything remotely to do with God or Christianity, then they can get the fuck out! I know the vast majority of this country would have no qualms whatsoever with that. Yeah, and we oughta ship 'em out to the MIDDLE EAST and see how they like bitchin' about God over THERE--before ya' know it they'll be BEGGING to come back and pledge alligiance to the flag of the United States of America!

Atheist rights!? Puh-lease. They should be greatful for the rights they get. (Afterall, rights are from GOD.)

And you know what else really pisses me off? Everytime I turn around those God-haters are finding some new way to use the idea of "separation of church and state" as an excuse to force their anti-God crap down the throats of the other 99.9% of the country. And yes, it is sure fortunate that most Americans have enough sense to recognize the inane rantings of atheist evangelists for what they are--and rightfully not pay them any attention. Unlike so many of the other whiney persecutionist groups, atheists probably won't be able to actually do anything.

So anyway, thank you for that insightful blogging. Sadly, people who have the balls to stand-up and acknowledge the "persecution mania" for what it really is are all too uncommon these days.

Posted by: Joshua White at October 12, 2003 04:00 PM

Belief in the supernatural, especially a god, a goddess, a deity, or a demigod, has been the primary cause of all the violence, bloodshed, terrorism, and war throughout human history.

Posted by: Rev. Mowery, M.D. at May 17, 2004 09:11 AM

I cannot believe the stupidity of this web log. How can you quote an article from the 18th century and pretend it can be still valid? Shouldn't we, then, be using the Napoleon Civil Code's sexist rules for marriage and divorce nowadays? Yes, it is ridiculous that everyone be demanding a regognition of their rights, and, yes, the expression "atheist rights" refers to a moronic ideal, but can't you respect---I'm talking to Mr. Joshua White, here--other people's beliefs and thoughts? Don't you even know what your country's constitution is about?

Posted by: Schaheb at November 23, 2005 11:22 PM

Predictably self-righteous. Do you see atheist slogans printed on your money? Do you see people wearing clothing that promotes atheism? Do have atheist programming on your cable TV? We are inundated with one religion or another in this country in practically all aspects of life. Atheists, though you may not like it, are just as entitled to an opinion or belief as anyone else. The difference is they are generally much less obnoxious in expressing it. Because atheists don't generally believe in a system of reward and punishment in the afterlife does not invalidate their view of the universe. I can't believe people whine because some atheist actually got some air-time on TV. So what. That's chicken feed compared the exposure other groups receive. Our country is unique in that if was founded with a clearly defined intent to protect the individual's rights. I don't think I need to rattle them off do I? That means everyone. I don't like what you have to say and it's likely you won't like what I've said either but if we lived in a country dominated by one brand of religion or another and religion being typically intolerant of other points of view (as demonstrated by the above comments) this site would not be possible. If you want some good examples, check out Iran, Packistan, Afghanistan,etc. If you are secure enough in your own beliefs, if you have true faith, then what do you care? Last but not least. If all the Atheists are wrong and there is a god then I guess it's between them and god. No one else is in a position to pass judgement or unilaterally make the determination that they are destined for heaven or hell. Simple as that.

Posted by: justin at December 25, 2005 02:48 AM
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