Wednesday, December 1, 2010

John Shore's Two Big Failures

In response to Atheism’s Two Big Failures.

Christian blogger John Shore fails in these two ways in his most recent blog: by claiming Atheists cannot be in love—nor passionate, joyful, enraged, depressed, moved by art, or inspired, and are, therefore, out of touch with their emotions. And by claiming it's more desirable to believe we have an invisible, omnipotent friend watching over us (and not just any invisible, omnipotent friend, but John Shore's specific invisible, omnipotent friend) than it is to be an Atheist.

I have no idea if it's more desirable, on a personal level, to believe we have an invisible, omnipotent friend watching over the World than not to. I know some really joyless, uptight, hate-filled Christians and some really loving, fun Secular Humanists, but I also know some happy Christians and some cranky Atheists. Believe it or not, I know a LOT of cranky Buddhists. I also know some eternally-happy mentally-impaired people -- doesn't mean I want to be one.

In his recent blog, Shore paints a picture of Atheists as joyless, emotionless drones who have never danced on a table. I guarantee you that there are many Atheists and Secular Humanists that dance on tables as much, if not more often, than Christians. Some of us have wept at the Grand Canyon or Jasper National Monument or a documentary about the planets on the History Channel. Some of us have decided it would be really cool to be irrational and sing or dance while in public, just because we're in the mood at that moment (yes, I have). None of these acts are rational, but they are a heck of a lot of fun. You see, we don't need to believe in a bearded man on a throne in order to enjoy the splendor and wonder that the universe can hold. Perhaps we non-theists are even more wowed by reality, by all of the billions and billions of years and all the various natural forces that have lead us here.

Do all Christians think like John Shore? I hope not. I know that many of my Christian friends -- and Muslim friends, for that matter -- wish I was a believer, so we can all be raptured up together (you knew Muslims believed in the "Rapture", right?). And I respect their wish as a desire to continually hang out with me, and I just can't be offended by anyone wanting to continually hang out with me (unless that person is creepy). But I would be really hurt -- and have to rethink our friendships -- if I found out my Christian or Muslim friends think like John Shore: that I never experience silly, mindless joy, that they think I am incapable of being thrilled to the point of doing a cartwheel... though I am, indeed, now incapable of actually doing a cartwheel...

It isn't the first time he's grossly mischaracterized Atheists. It won't be the last.

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