Thursday, October 09, 2008

Militant Avampirists Are So Irritating

Tuesday's post Skeptics Sellout to Christians provoked "M" to comment:

As an agnostic I have read your posts on religion with amusement. Has it occurred to you that a strident atheist is no less dogmatic and irritating than a strident Christian or a strident [your religion goes here]? Who has time for this?

Before I could respond, Peter Harrington commented:

M -- I am also an agnostic, but I think you err deeply in comparing an Atheist to a strident religious person. The worst that a "militant Atheist" will ever do is scoff at religion -- they are far too busy enjoying their one and only life.
In contrast, the worst a militant believer will do is kill you and your family, for the crime of having chosen a different myth (or no myth at all, in the case of agnostics/atheists). Furthermore, I know many Atheists who call themselves that as shorthand for "insofar as I can be sure of anything, I am sure that there is no God" -- this conclusion is not dogma (which implies argumentation by authority), but one based in logic and self-skeptical analysis. I myself prefer the term Tooth-Fairy agnostic as short hand for the same position. Be that as it may, give me a world filled with Atheists any day over Religulous people -- true morality can be achieved only by the non-religious.

Thank you, Peter, for saving me the keystrokes. As for you, M, I love your use of my catch phrase at the end of your comment, but c'mon, am I really no less irritating than dogmatic Christians like Sarah Palin? I would never prevent the use of stem cell therapy to cure disease, or fight wars to spread Christian ideals, or deny loving couples the same rights as their heterosexual neighbors, or legally compel rape victims to bear the children of their violent tormenters. These assaults on people's lives don't irritate you even a tad more than my strident blog (which you can always choose not to read)?

It's simply unfair to characterize atheists as arrogant, militant know-it-alls simply because we believe that deities are as mythical as easter bunnies and vampires. M, don't you ever think someone somewhere is wrong about something, or are you agnostic about everything?

I offer up the following words to describe people based on their beliefs. M, I would be most curious which of these labels describe you...

Paschalepist -- one who believes that on the Sunday following the full moon closest in time to the vernal equinox, a fluffy white mountain hare (of the species lepus timidus) hides chocolate eggs.

Apaschalepist -- a person who does not believe that the Easter Bunny is real.

Vampirist -- one who believes that pale, fanged immortals stalk the night, sometimes in the form of bats.

Avampirist -- a person who thinks that un-dead, bloodthirsty demons are mythical.

Pastafarian -- one who believes that the universe has been created and tended by the great Flying Spaghetti Monster, blessed be His name.

Antipasta -- a person who doesn't believe that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists.

So are you indeed an apaschalepist, avampirist, or antipasta? If so, how can you be so sure of yourself? How can you be so dogmatic? Wouldn't it be more polite to just profess agnosticism about the Easter Bunny?

Now how would you feel if people derided you for being one of those arrogant militant avampirists? You'd probably think, "Huh? I don't think I'm arrogant. I know I'm not militant. And I'm certainly not trying to distinguish myself as an avampirist. I just don't buy supernatural fairy tales, and frankly I'm surprised that avampirist is even a word."

M, welcome to my world.

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  1. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Kaboom. Brilliantly put.

  2. Anonymous12:29 PM

    I am now a Militant David Cowanist. So there.