Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Charles Lewis: you just *think* you don't care

Charles Lewis, religion writer for the National Post writes an absurd attack piece against atheists, showing that despite the title "Dear atheists: most of us don't care what you think," Mr. Lewis does indeed feel threatened by them.  His message of "Sit down and shut up!" is not because atheists are taking up too much precious time of the national dialogue talking about trivia, but because atheists are finding a voice, and others are beginning to listen. 

He calls Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens "dreary," and that debating with atheists is a waste of time.  Why?  "Most atheists do not have a clue what religion is about."  Of course this is an outright lie, given that many atheists once were raised in religious households, and surveys show that atheists know more about religion than Protestants and Catholics.

Next he trots out North Korea as the quintessential atheistic society, while conveniently ignoring the Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Norway, countries that are largely peopled with atheists and are models of societal health.  Mr. Lewis, here's a simple quiz for you:

* Atheism plus Totalitarianism makes for an unhealthy society (North Korea, Stalin's Russia, etc.)
* Religion plus Totalitarianism makes for an unhealthy society (Nazi Germany, Saudi Arabia, etc.)

Can you spot what those two items have in common?

Lewis continues the strawman attacks: "Atheists are under the ridiculous illusion that religious people think that all they have to do is call out to God and help will be on the way."

Right, because religious people never pray when action would be more useful.  Parents never watch their children die because they chose to pray over a treatable illness rather than seek medical attention.  Jesus never said that whatever you ask for in prayer, just believe that you'll receive it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).

Lewis likes the monk Thomas Merton, quoting him twice:
Thomas Merton also said: “Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.”

He could have said the same thing about faith.

And he could have said the same thing about fetishism, mindless devotion, and superstition.  But why let facts get in the way of a baseless attack against atheists, backed with no supporting evidence?

1 comment:

Charles said...

Thanks for promoting the story. Greatly appreciated.

Charles Lewis