Is atheism good news? The government might think so. Recently in federal court the government weighed in with a 10 page document saying that the leaders of the atheistic movement might qualify as ‘ministers of the gospel’ and be eligible for the tax deductions set aside for the clergy’s housing allowance.
I think it might be useful to understand what atheism seeks to accomplish, as a whole, before we try and wrap our brains around this little ditty.
The eradication of organized religion has never been the goal of the Anti-theists. The advent of ‘pure’ science and naked reason came not as a natural progression, it was forced, like a chicken bone, down the throat of every Tom, Dick and Harry in all areas of civilization; now simply taken as a matter of fact; a societal presupposition (accepted and unchallenged truth). The systematic catechizing of our kids with fanciful tales of the cosmos’ origins, complete with big bangs, primordial goop and monkey’s uncles, in as early as 2nd and 3rd grade classes, is now an accepted part of everyday life. And, once they were able to successfully impeach God for not being, and also being a big cosmic jerk at the same time, they never intended leaving the throne of the universe vacant. So, Bertrand Russell kicks Tom Huxley in the back of the feet and Dawkins hot-wires Hawkin’s wheel chair in the embittered ascent for the king of the hill. And then the new cosmic jerks proclaimed the good news of ‘their gospel’… the forgiveness of sins and the annihilation of shame, because there is no sin to be forgiven; and that guilt, you feel in your soul, that’s indigestion from reengineered wheat products, you know, the meat lovers pizza you had last night after 8pm. So what’s the solution for shame? Go gluten free? Vegan?
Every religion seeks to deal with a few key elements from reality: Origins, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny. And, the materialism of the Anti-Theist is firing on all cylinders here.
-Origins? Big Bang - check
-Meaning? There is meaning for you, for you, but not for me, for you… This one is a bit confusing I confess but it nevertheless makes sense to me, for me. -check
-Morality? We should all be good to each other, for mutual self interest, until it’s not in my best interest and then I shall go all William Wallace on you. -check
-Destiny? Admittedly, we’re a little lite here… Check back in 30,000,000 years or so and we might be back from lunch on this one. For now: eat, drink, and make much merriment.
The key issue that all religious practice seeks to address is the problem of guilt. What do you do with it? The official word from the British Humanist Association and Richard Dawkins is ‘There probably is no God. So stop worrying and enjoy your life.’
Do whatever the hell you want because there is no hell… I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point. Guilt is essentially eliminated, and what about shame… don’t forget shame too. But, the anti-theists can’t seem to get their story straight.
The recently converted Christopher Hitchens said in his book ‘Letters to a young Contrarian’,
‘You may if you wish take on a another man’s debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral’
So, there is no absolution and we have real personal responsibility for the stupid things that we do; to even think of robbing a man of individual responsibility (viz. guilt) is ‘positively immoral’. So enjoy your life, but responsibly. Says who? And where do they get off saying it? If there is no God then I’m doing what ever I want to, and there is nothing you can do about it. I might start with reducing the size of chicken coops, and murdering buffalo with a high powered rifle from a helicopter, you know, just to get a taste for things before I step up to the really inconsequential stuff, like the whole sale slaughter of the unborn. What’s the big deal? There is probably no God, right? Whose to say that’s not a satisfactory way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
So the Atheistic ‘minister of the gospel’ has really good news… you are responsible for your guilt. Wow! Awesome sauce!!! Makes you want to go do something really heinous, right?
So, for all this prattling about they want to get the same tax benefits as actual ministers of ‘real’ good news. As well they should. They’ve worked really hard for it. What’s fair is fair… for you, for you, but not for me.