Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why ask, "Why are you here?"

I have to admit that Eliot Daley seems like a nice enough guy. He seems to genuinely want to understand what motivates atheists, at least in regard to reading religious based articles and commentaries.  He may be nice but his article on Huffington Post, "Welcome, Atheists. But, Really, Why Are You Here?", reveals him to be, like so many others, ignorant and bigoted.

The question itself, though understandable, implies a number of ignorant assumptions. Why would someone have to believe something to be true in order to find it interesting? I like stories about all sorts of fantastical creatures. Just because I know they are fictional does not mean I can't enjoy them. Religion plays an important role in many peoples lives. I don't understand why but that only increases rather than decreases my interest in reading about it. Daley also admits to be shocked at the "knowledgeable references to elements of faith" made by atheists commenting on his posts. Even worse, he then jumps to the conclusion that these atheists must have been religious at some point. It never seems to occur to him that an atheist just might be as knowledgeable or even more so than a theist without ever having been a believer. I have never believed but have always been fascinated by religion. By the time I graduated high school I had already read cover to cover the sacred texts of a handful of Religions.

Daley also seems to think that atheists are not aware of there being more than one version of the God concept. It is ironic since in his expounding on this view he mixes the versions without realizing he is doing so. His grasp of science and natural history comes across as being as flimsy as his understanding of atheists which he then projects onto the atheists who comment on his posts. This confusion and misunderstanding apparently is partially why Daley gives in to the stereotype that atheists are arrogant.

I also find it interesting that in a few places Daley talks about avoiding judging atheists who comment on his posts. He passes judgement throughout. The question is also somewhat hypocritical since he, and many others, prefer to believe that atheists have come to non-belief through ignorance and lack of understanding. Wouldn't such people want atheists to read religious materials? Why question us when we choose to do so?
Perhaps, it has occurred to him that we are well informed and our understanding surpasses his own. It may be easier for theists to stomach the idea of ignorant atheists rather than well informed ones.

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