Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Holy Bile - Terry Eagleton's stupid book

Terry Eagleton - and Andrew O'Hehir - are shockingly ill-informed about atheists, as evidenced by O'Hehir's inane review of Eagleton's hackneyed book, "Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate".

As always, I must first state that "atheist" and "atheism" should no more be considered words than "aSanta Claus" or "aEaster Bunny".

Any book that serves as a defense of Jesus Christ should be automatically discarded, instantly. The only exception would be if that book first incorporated all preceding Christ-like figures. Simply put, Christ - and Christianity - are completely unoriginal, plagiarist works, as are most of the Abrahamic works. So without having read Terry Eagleton's book, I feel completely comfortable dismissing it as ignorant drivel. But Salon's Andrew O'Hehir's insipid review has motivated me to speak up, simply for the reason that in his review, he - as does Eagleton - makes the claim that Dawkins and Hitchens and us modern atheists don't understand Christianity as it truly is. I must first ask why Smugleton - and O'Hehir - think they understand Christianity better than nearly every practitioner of the faith? I wonder if either of them have read and thoroughly studied the bible - in various translations - as well as other religious texts.

Eagleton's fundamental mistake, which is so readily co-opted by a sycophantic O'Hehir, is that the [childishly named] Ditchkinsian brand of atheism is a direct response to the brand of worshipping in Abrahamic faiths that are being practiced today. Smugleton (my childish name for Smugleton) calls that discount-store atheism, which is classic, considering Ditchkinsian atheism is a response to third-rate theology. Abrahamic religions are bargain basement rehashed works from far superior works that either preceded them (Upanishads), or were contemporaneous works of the period (Buddhism). The easiest way to say it is that Abrahamic religions are the "Religion For Dummies" for those who need to believe. They have succeeded merely for the same reason pseudoscience, mysticism, and Ghost Hunters have been so successful. It's just easier for people to believe in magic than it is for them to expend energy taking advantage of the real power of their brains.

I may have to buy the book just so I can take apart Smugleton's work, which O'Hehir's review makes it seem easy enough. But for now I'll just focus on what I've gleaned from the review. Below are some specific outtakes and my response to them:

Smugleton and O'Hehir attack Dawkins, Hitchens, et al., and their "brand of atheism" as being a useful straw man, and then go on using their own straw men.

"Many secular intellectuals, for instance, have claimed as Christian doctrine..."

I'll stop there since anyone with a modicum of intelligence can smell the fresh cut hay in this straw man. Everything that follows is but pieces and parts of this straw man, worthy of nothing but flame.

"Christian theology cannot explain the workings of the universe and was never meant to, Eagleton says."

This is a straw man of epic proportions. That any human alive can say that with a straight face deserves to have that face slapped. Of course it wasn't, and no one other than nearly every "believer" in America (who all accept that as the truth) has said that. Dawkins and others have merely taken a position on this in direct response to the Jewists, Christianists and Islamists who do believe that their religious books are in fact science books.

Indeed, the Bible, and nearly every book of faith, mysticism, and superstition that preceded it was a collection of morality tales and stories written for the purpose of instructing others in society in particular ways live for the benefit of the greater said society. Dawkins and others know this, but most "Believers" seem to not.

"why there is anything in the first place, or why what we do have is actually intelligible to us."

Is Smugleton a child? There is NO WHY! Maybe he and O'Hehir can meditate on that for a bit.

There are plenty of theories abound that seek to address these concepts from non-religious perspectives, and they make a lot more sense and are a lot more interesting than anything any religion has ever offered. Yes, it is very possible that our ability to question our very existence is a sort of great cosmological joke.

"Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Fichte have all observed in different ways that unspoken assumptions about the world around us (that is, faith) are the precondition of all knowledge in the first place."

A canard. Scientists might make assumptions, and then seek to prove those assumptions, and may "believe" their assumptions are correct, but that is not faith. While there is a similarity to that and the broad definition of faith, that is merely due to a weakness of language. That's the same as saying someone who merely has an appetite is starving in the same way someone who hasn't eaten is days is starving.

"Enlightenment narrative of steady upward progress from superstition to reason..."

There is no upward progression from superstition to reason, just as there is no upward progression in human morality and ethics. To this, I refer you to the recent US practice of torture.

Just as Smugleton has accused Dawkins, Hitchens, and other folks who think like me as not having a thorough understanding of the "real" Christianity, whatever the hell that means, he has proven beyond a doubt that he does not understand most atheists - or non-Believers - at all. If he did, he would know that most of us know religions better than those who practice.

blog comments powered by Disqus