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Aug 08 2009

I guess I’m still not civil enough. Go figure.

Recently, there have been several posts that I’ve read (even commented on a couple of them) in which the topic of discussion was the continuing saga of whether atheists such as PZ myers are hurting the cause of atheism. How are these atheists hurting the “cause”? It seems that their actions are often seen as very uncivil (even offensive!) by those religious people that some call “moderates”, as well as by those atheists who believe we must court this group of moderates, because we’re really on the same side.

Who are these moderate Christians™? Some of them have written comments to the posts that I’ve been reading. It seems that some of them are Catholic™. I won’t hold that against them—so am I. At least that’s what the Catholic Church™ thinks.

Okay, so they said they’re moderates, and I take them at their word. But what does it mean to be a religious moderate as opposed to a fundamentalist? I think part of it might have to do with whether or not a person believes that the Bible™ is akin to a history textbook. Another part might be whether a person thinks that the biblical creation story should be taught as part of the science program in a public school. Another part might be whether or not they are offended by an advertisement on a bus that says, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

Let me see if I can’t get a better grasp on exactly who these people are, and how best to court their friendship, since we’re both essentially on the same side.

  • They go to church. (Since they consider themselves religious, moderate or not, I’m assuming that they attend religious services somewhere.)
  • They don’t believe the Eucharist™ literally becomes the body of Christ.
  • They know that the earth is about 4.54 billion years old, not 6000 years old
  • They accept the Theory of Evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on our planet
  • They think prayer is “nice”, but know that if they want to get over that illness, modern medicine is the only way they’re really going to do it.
  • They know it’s actually okay to be homosexual. (If they said differently, their brother’s husband would probably beat the shit out of them)
  • They realize that stem-cell research is probably our best hope for defeating some illnesses
  • They know that abortion isn’t the worst evil on the planet, and that at times it is a vital necessity

From what I’ve read lately, these moderates are also very much in the majority when it comes to the religious people in the United States. It turns out that the Fundamentalist Christians™, vocal though they are, are really just a small minority, a fringe group as it were.

I’m still a bit confused about the whole thing though. If the fundamentalists are just a minority, how does somebody like Chet Culver get elected as Governor of Iowa? Do you remember the bus advertisement I mentioned? Here’s what good ol’ Chet had to say about it:

“I was disturbed, personally, by the advertisement and I can understand why other Iowans were also disturbed by the message that it sent.”

How is it that several states’ constitutions still forbid an atheist from holding office, or even serving as a witness in court? You would think such blatantly pro-religious laws would have been swept under the rug long ago with all you moderates around.

Hold on just a minute! Now I feel really silly. Here I’ve been trying to figure out who the moderates are and what they stand for when I’ve known the answer all along. The problem was that I wasn’t aware of the name change. It’s the term “moderate” that really threw me off the track. If I’d thought about it a lottle more before starting this post I would have figured out the connection.

You see, I’ve been missing the fact that the moderates have been out there all along, and they do have the majority over the fundamentalists. I was just confused about the name. You see, the other members of the church have a name that they’ve used for the moderates all along, but I had failed to make the connection. Not to worry, though, as I’ve got it now.

They’re all a bunch of fucking hypocrites.

Why the fuck are you people still going to church if you really don’t believe all that mumbo-jumbo claptrap and hatred that’s spewed forth on a daily basis from the world’s churches? I figure it’s got to be one of two reasons. Either you really do believe all that garbage and you’re just embarrassed to admit it, or you don’t believe any of it and you’re afraid of the repercussions you might face if the rest of your community found out that you’re an atheist at heart. Shit or get off the pot, already!

If you’re a rational, thinking human being, how the fuck do you buy in to all the fucking garbage that comes out of these churches? Are you Catholic? Do you think condoms would be helpful in reducing the blazingly fast spread of AIDS in Africa? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then why the fuck are you still a Catholic? Why aren’t you calling up Ratzinger telling him what an asshat he is, and that he should be considered culpable for the deaths of millions in Africa, and that he should be prosecuted in a criminal trial at The Hague for his actions and words?

Like I’ve said before, Fuck being civil! Being civil and all buddy-buddy with the millions of enablers in this country who want to call themselves religious moderates gets us nowhere. If they’re so fucking moderate, let’s see a little fucking action. Let’s see them speaking out against the nutjobs in their own churches. Let’s see them speaking out about legislation that continues to treat atheists as second-class citizens (at best). Let’s see them calling their pedophile pastor a fucking pedophile when he’s arrested, not boo-hooing about how his family was devastated too, and his parishioners are just sick with grief because he was always such a good man, a man of God™.

We’re sick of the fundies trying to turn our country into a theocracy. If you aren’t part of the solution, then you’re part of the fucking problem. If you happen to be in the way when we come along to point out the latest garbage from the fundies, you’re going to get some of the mess splashed on yourself too. If you want to stay out of the mess, you’d better distance yourself from the fucking fundies, and you’d better do it with more than just a few well-placed words on a blog.

7 comments

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  1. Rystefn

    This echoes my feelings on the subject pretty closely. Fuck those people. Why in the Hell would we ever want to court a bunch of whiny hypocrites as allies?

  2. Lou FCD

    You bring up an interesting tangential point, Dan. Is there even such a thing as “a religious moderate”?

    Using moderate as a noun in this way seems to me to imply a definition, a defined set of boundaries. Is that the case? If so, what are the boundaries? What are the limits of this box into which we place this person, but not that one?

    How many parts of reality are they permitted to deny before they get put into the fundy category? Six? Seven? Fifty-two? Who gets to decide? Does it matter which parts?

    I think we’d do well to scrap the moniker altogether. At best, we can describe a sliding scale (turns out I see a lot of the universe better described with scales than categories), where we can say that this religious person is less looney (or more moderate, if you prefer) than that religious person. By separating into little categorized boxes, I think we run the risk of conceding that believing X amount of nonsense is somehow inherently different than believing Y amount of nonsense, when it is really just a matter of degree, not substance.

    Anyway, enough with the off-topic wanking.

    Sweet post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. zdenny

    Ya, these moderates are what are becoming the norm for Catholics in particular since Vatican II. The moderates are really on the side of what you call a fundamentalist; however, they seem to share so many things that an atheist believes is true.

    There is a difference between fundamentalist and evangelicals. I consider myself an evangelical.

    I can see the love/hate relationship between atheist and the new Catholic. You should keep in mind though that the new Catholic is just as committed to the Catholic church as the old one.

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