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Anarchy and Statism: When We Know The Price Of Big Government Is Our Liberty Why Are So Many Prepared To Pay It.

by Ian R Thorpe

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Anarchy and Statism: When We Know The Price Of Big Government Is Our Liberty Why Are So Many Prepared To Pay It.

by Ian R Thorpe


The Fallacy Of The Atheist Bus

transhumanism

Far from heralding a new age of reason, today’s Miltant Atheists and science fanatics are at the forefront of a counter-Enlightenment, leading the charge to a new dark age in which authoritarian agencies proscribe the questioning of dogma.

On 21 October 2012, a debate entitled ‘Atheism: what’s the point?’, was held at the Battle of Ideas gathering organised by The Institute Of Ideas with The Barbican Centre, London as its venue.

It was an intelligent and thoughtful debate, Battle Of Ideas sessions are fairly but strictly moderated, so all speakers are able to put their case and receive a fair hearing. The objective was to question the rise of militant atheism, the brand of unreason peddled by followers of Richard Dawkins and others (and in the interests of fairness I should point out that while robust in his criticisms of religion, Prof. Dawkins deplores the bullying tactics adopted by some of his fans to deny opponents a voice.) To the objective observer, and few of us are capable of being totally objective on this one, it looks very much as if Militant Atheism has become a religion with dogmas, a creed and a philosophy that demands the persecution of heretics.

We see the symptoms of the Zealotification of atheism very frequently in comment threads on internet article. Not long ago I had one 'scientist' who was upset with me because he could not answer my logical demolition of Big Bang theory, for which there is no more hard evidence than for the creation myths of ancient religions. Such 'proof' as is offered amounts to mathematical speculation on top of mathematical speculation.

This guy, while screaming "you don't understand science" at me, then decided that as it is a 'scientific fact' anyone who did not accept Big Bang as proven must be a young Earth creationist who believes God created everything around six thousand years ago, he would trick me into revealing myself.

"How old do you think the Universe is?" He sneered.

I told him that I did not know or care as it would make no difference to my life, but within my memory it has gone from around ten billion years to thirteen and a half billion, getting older every time a new, more sensitive, generation of equipment detects incoming energy from a more distant star.

"Well how old do you think our planet is?" he demanded.

Again I said I did not know or care very much, it was here long before I was and would remain here long after I have gone. but again if he wanted to pretend scientists, guesses are as good as facts, then it is estimated at four and a half billion years. I them preempted his next question by adding "The first simple life forms are estimated to have appeared around three billion years ago, more complex single cell creatures that have a structure resembling our body cells, around two billion years ago.

"Well you're not as stupid as I thought," he proclaimed. "But everyone understands Big Bang is the scientific consensus of universal origins."

'Everyone. What about the well supported theory of an infinite and self renewing universe? And what's this scientific consensus? Does he mean only people who agree with him are scientists? Very scientific of him, that.' I thought. Surely the stupid person in the argument is the one who can see only two possible positions, those of the religious fundamentalist and the science fundamentalist, from which to debate the nature of God.

If you are British you may remember The Atheist Bus a few years ago. A big red bus toured around London for a while and on its side was a poster that read: ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’

Francis Spufford, in a book titled 'Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense', asked what was the most provocative word in the Atheist Bus slogan? Most supporters of the Atheist Bus project said ‘probably’; arguing that to an atheist there is no probably about it, God does not exist. Spufford’s main point of contention however was the word ‘enjoy’ - ‘stop worrying and enjoy your life’.

The point here is the underlying implication of this statement, that enjoyment, i.e. happiness, is a natural state that may only be altered by people having the fwar of God by preachers threats that unbelievers will face eternl torment, which is of course complete bollocks. The scriptures confirm that for us.

‘Enjoy’ implies that only those who reject God are capable of enjoying life, that religious people live in fear of the divine while secular humanists would find it impossible to be miserable. Does rejection of God free us from experiencing loss, bereavement, illness, death, and 'the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to' (h/t Shakespeare.) And where does it leave people like me, I do not believe in The God Of Abraham, The Olympians of Greek myth, the Norse Gods of north European paganism or any other deities but I do not reject the concept of the divine. In fact among the educated classes the pagans, Romans, Greeks, Norse etc. did not 'believe' in their Gods and Goddesses in the way followers of the Abrahamic religions believe in Allah, God or Jehovah. The Gods were not personified as conscious beings except in stories, otherwise they represented the uncontrollable forces that shape our lives.

Atheist Bus was a reaction to evangelical Christian propaganda that promised all who did not accept Jesus as their Saviour were heading for hell. This made it rather out of place in Britain where only around four per cent of people worship regularly and evangelical Christians are a small fraction of those. The Atheist Bus however was a big success as militant Atheists rallied to the campaign in the way that Islamic jihadists response to calls for holy war.

But how is Atheist Bus different from the man with the sandwich board that proclaims ‘Repent, the end is nigh’ apart from its having been started by journalists and media people and therefore having a more sophisticated approach to spreading religious propaganda. Until the 1990s atheists were content to just quietly get on with living (not necessarily 'enjoying') their lives while leaving the raving and the fanaticism to the more extreme followers of religion.

Why has shouting down all arguments for religion now become a major part of he atheist belief system, why have those in society who like to present themselves as thoughtful, rational and logical suddenly prone to becoming completely irrational at the mention of God, Creation or Intelligent Design.? And what drives the anger they display when somebody challenges them? And if enjoyment of life is only something we can do without God, why do so many atheists seem miserable and permanently angry.

This use of the tactics employed by fascist thugs in the 1930s has become part wave of so-called 'progressive liberal' approach to debate, and the ‘four horsemen’ of the atheist apocalypse movement, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, who all published polemical books ridiculing the 'superstition and magical thinking' to borrow a phrase from Dawkins, of those who practiced any religious faith around the same time as Atheist Bus took to the streets of London. It was not just people who regularly worship or who have a literal belief in the scriptures who were scorned, but those who simply thought 'there might be something bigger than us'. We should also stand back and look at the broad view to see what is driving this atheism as a religion movement, because the idea of atheism as a religion with science (not even a proper noun) as its god is rather disturbing.

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Philo and Sophia
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