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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Um... yeah.

So, when browsing over at the usual wretched hive of scum and villainy I happened to notice something bizarre, even by their standards:

Or, to quote:

Evil atheists upset nursing home residents and their families with a "sinful" and "profane" atheist publication mailed to nursing homes.

Given the accelerating decline of global atheism, militant atheist and their father the devil are getting desperate. Did you ever notice that atheists often criticize God, but never criticize the devil? Many times people are reluctant to criticize their father.

Now there are a couple of things here I just want to briefly remark upon. First, I'm actually weirdly pleased to see them refer to "evil atheists", as this inadvertently implies that all atheists aren't evil. Otherwise, why the need for the adjective "evil" when describing the atheists in question?* Second, if you follow the supplied link to see what all the hubbub is about you'll reach an article over on about a mailing received at a nursing home. What was the mailing? Well, I'll quote from the article:

Often, our readers send in various atheist publications or promotions, hoping that we will answer them. In reality, there are so many that we are rarely able to do so in detail. However, when a supporter sent in a Free Inquiry promotion, with a note telling us it was sent to his mother, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home for the elderly, we decided this warranted an exception. So, we are bringing it to your attention to highlight how aggressive the ‘new atheists’ are becoming.

Free Inquiry magazine claims to be the largest humanist publication in the English language, and features contributors such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. As you read on you will see that they are going to attempt to take the high moral ground, but right off the bat their promotional material boasts that it is “blasphemous, sacrilegious, irreverent, impious, godless, profane, sinful” and then adds “(sounds like something you would enjoy, doesn’t it?)”. So much for their own warped version of what they think is ‘good’. They say that Free Inquiry is “the magazine religious fuddy-duddies are afraid of and don’t want you to read.” Their publication is, in their words, “bold and brave”—though mailing their advertizing to Christian little old ladies in nursing homes does not exactly match that self-awarded accolade.

Right, so what they're upset about is that a magazine for atheists, agnostics and free thinkers was being advertised- not pushed like crack, for crying out loud, but advertised- to elderly people. Apparently the folks at also can't quite grasp the notion of sarcasm- if you're an atheist, the notions of blasphemy and sin are rather silly and, frankly, most of us really appreciate irreverence. But it gets better:

Moreover, if they had any real concern for others, why would they not allow the elderly, who might only have a few good years left, to feel some comfort in their belief in God and that there is something to look forward to after this life? After all, the atheists don’t believe in an afterlife, so what difference does it make what someone believes? If their aim is to eradicate religion, these elderly folks in nursing homes are hardly the ones to be targeted. That is, they are most likely not ‘on the streets’ evangelizing others.

And, see, this is problematic for two reasons. It's problematic because it assumes that everyone in the nursing home is Christian to begin with. That's almost certainly not true, and for those who may already be atheists, agnostics, and free thinkers, this may be just the magazine that they would like to see. It's also problematic, however, because it implicitly assumes that for someone nearing the end of their life, belief in an afterlife will be a positive thing. In Christian theology with death comes judgment and with judgment comes the possibility of hell. I've met more than a few religious people who seem to be constantly tormented by fear and anxiety about hell- either the fear that they will end up there or the fear that their family and friends may end up there. In quite a few of its modern incarnations, Christianity is more a religion of fear than a religion of hope. And yet, somehow I doubt these folks would view sending evangelists into a nursing home armed with threats of eternal punishment to be quite as evil as a simple magazine advertisement.

But, getting back to Conservapedia, the last thing I find interesting is the intimation that atheists don't criticize the devil because we don't want to criticize our father. Mainly this is funny to me because it confuses criticizing the concept of a god or gods with criticizing a specific god as though he/she/it were a real thing. Atheists don't accept the entire supernatural bestiary of Judeo-Christian religion, so when we criticize "god" we're really criticizing the entire enchilada, not just a specific dude. Additionally, however, I just have to chuckle at the notion that atheists are really derived from the devil. I mean, hell, if that were true maybe we'd get some awesome powers or something but, in reality, we're just regular people. But as long as some people believe we're allied with satan, I guess we might as well make the best of it.


* Yes, this really is all it takes to make me feel complimented by Conservapedia. They really are that hateful.

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