and have a crappy New Year!
Apparently, according to Tom Sears article in the Oneonta, NY Daily Star, Atheists’ numbers doom [us] to irrelevance
As a foreword to my summary breakdown of the utter twaddle that Mr. Sears is trying to peddle to us in his disturbingly biased article I would like to point out that if we are going to be talking irrelevance then let us please focus on a religion whose founding rules are over 2000 years old and were composed by nomadic desert-dwellers in the bronze age. That doesn’t exactly sound like the most relevant and up-to-date place to base your society on, now does it? On the other hand, godless, secular societies base their rules and social interactions upon the latest and most substantiated evidence they can find. Relevance kinda sounds like our thing there Tommy boy.
So, let’s just dive right in shall we? In the style of P.Z. Myers I’m going to annotate the giant quoted pieces of his article with my own responses and thoughts.
[LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The following article is quoted as part of a commentary of said article and qualifies as legal under the terms of Fair Use]
Atheists are once again trying to bring attention to themselves by attempting to denigrate, insult or demean religions and, in particular, Christianity and therefore Christians. [Actually, no, if anything we are trying to draw attention to the irrationality, the hypocrisy, the inanity and, of course, the dangers of Christianity. We’re not really that pushed about ourselves, to be honest we think we’re kind of shit, but at least we’re a damn sight better than the Catholic League! That being said it’s totally okay to denigrate, insult and demean Christianity, I mean, come on, it’s kack and we all know it.]
This time it is a billboard advertising stunt in New Jersey; the billboard was placed there by some atheist activist group that calls itself American Atheists. [Can you hear the vitriol in that comment? Simply because a group happens to have the name American Atheists. I mean, how dare they!? How dare a bunch of American Atheists label themselves so wantonly and descriptively!?] Once again an attempt to put down Christianity will be doomed to irrelevance. [To be fair we just point out the evidence which shows Christianity administering the lethal dose to itself]
Polls show atheists to be 3 percent or less of the total population of the United States, a number that has remained about the same over past years. However, in a desperate attempt to make the number appear higher, the president of this organization now claims that there are many more “closet atheists.” He goes so far as to say that there are many who attend religious services during the holidays but don’t believe in them. Kind of pathetic if you ask me. [First off, and this was your first mistake (after choosing to believe in a sky fairy) where are the polls you speak of? Where is the link? Where is the evidence for your claims? Second of all, it is distinctly true that a significant percentage of church-goers especially around the holiday season are merely doing so for cultural reasons out of tradition rather than genuine adherence to religious beliefs and tenets. If you think it’s “kinda pathetic” to say something that is actually true, then we may have found the root of our dispute… Also, if someone happened to be a “closet atheist” in a family where some of the members shared a disposition such as yours it’s not hard to see that they would just shuffle along to church services rather than suffer the cruel stinging tongue of a closed-minded twaddle-peddler. You’ll notice here I’ve only called you closed-minded and the twaddle-peddler is a link to my earlier comment that you are trying to peddle us twaddle in the form of this article so there are no ad hominems here, just before you start throwing strawmen around the place fouling up my nice carpet you fiend!]
Fortunately, the country is headed back on the right track to sanity. A few years ago only 20 percent of the nation’s top companies dared to make any mention of Christmas in their stores. A great many were simply intimidated by the American Civil Liberties Union or similar organizations. The number mentioning Christmas has reversed itself and is now up to 80 percent and continuing to rise. It’s also nice to see the Salvation Army bell ringers back in places where they were previously banned. [Here I will give you a little credit, it is a sign of sanity that department stores are mentioning Christmas again. I think it’s a little ridiculous to be put out by displays of a particular religious tradition by a private company in a society that has a large number of adherents to those traditions. The problem is when that kind of thing start getting public support from the Government. The point is Walmart are within their rights to make a big fuss over Christmas and wishing people a Merry one, but the President, for example, in his official capacity cannot endorse religious traditions as this would run contrary to the wishes of those who established the separation of church and state. As a Christian he’s free to celebrate whatever he wants, just not as the President. Also the Salvation Army should be banned from receiving any donations whatsoever until they clean up their act.]
Why are atheists so afraid of Christianity that they feel they have to go out and aggressively attack it every year around this time? [No, you misunderstand, it is not fear of Christianity that has us railing against it, it’s outrage towards Christianity and pretty much all of it’s teachings that has us railing against it. To be fair Christmas is probably the time when we’re heard the most; we spend the whole year shouting just as loudly about how ridiculous and dangerous religions like Christianity are for our modern world]Why don’t you instead proudly proclaim your “atheistic religion” and explain all the reasons and research that led you to your stance. Maybe you can’t? Maybe your choice was made out of laziness and you didn’t even give religion a chance? Are you going to give your children the right to choose?
Tell you what; why don’t you pick a day, any day, call it Atheist Day, and spend the day celebrating your atheism. Get yourself an atheist tree, exchange atheist gifts and have a great atheist meal. Call all the other atheists you know (won’t take long) or send them a card and exchange happy atheist wishes. [Well, since Jesus was actually born sometime during the summer and Mithras, a pagan god-figure, was the one who was proclaimed (among a few others) to have been born on the 25th of December, the Christmas tree comes from 15th/16th century Germany and Eastern Europe and Santa Claus comes from St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas as he was known then and was arguably celebrated as a pagan figure not a Christian one. Add to that the fact that the Winter solstice was generally a time for celebration of making it through the harsh winter, all in all Christmas is itself a fairly godless celebration. Gifts are godless (unless you’re in, surprisingly, Catholic parts of Mid and Eastern Europe where the Christ Child, a.k.a. Jesus himself, brings your gifts) and even the meals are godless. As a last sly shot to the ribs, I know a lot of atheists as do a lot of those atheists so your sly attempt at a disparaging comment based on supposed low numbers is both wholly transparent and offensive.]
Since you believe that there is no being more supreme than yourself (a rather egocentric viewpoint), you can celebrate you by staring at yourself (or small groups staring at each other) in the mirror all day. [Since we believe that we are descended from an extremely long line of other animals (which is not just a belief but a fact of reality) we have no illusions about just how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. Most Christians, however, believe that not only are they created in the image of God himself, but Jesus died on the cross for you guys, I mean come on! How much more special do you get than that?!] Isn’t this a better idea than going around and putting other religions down? At least you are doing something more positive for yourself if you follow my strategy for you. [I fail to see how believing something which is utter bollocks and is founded on the worldview of bronze age nomads who actually knew very little about the world around them and how best to interact with their fellow man and woman is more positive than a humanistic belief which embraces the best available current knowledge of the world and how best to live in it, alongside every one else. Somehow I doubt even the most tenderly nuanced apologetic argument for Christianity can change that overwhelming fact.]
We Christians are on the Right Side of this issue. [Politically, maybe…] Atheists have no real beliefs; [I’m sure Atheists have lots of beliefs, I know I do, and I am an atheist, I believe in freedom of expression, I believe in honest debate, I believe in myself etc… However, just because Atheism itself is not an active belief does not mean that Atheists themselves are devoid of beliefs.] they just want to tear down one more longstanding tradition and belief. [Longstanding traditions deserve to be questioned and if they cease to perform a useful function in society they slowly disappear. As for wilfully tearing things down, the only thing atheists as a group maybe wish to tear down is the culture of mindless adherence to nonsense, whether that is represented by Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Scientology, Homeopathy, Astrology etc…] How can they claim that a baby in a manger, a cross, a Christmas tree or some innocent Christmas songs cause them untold suffering and still keep a straight face? [It’s the claims you people make on the back of the belief in that baby in a manger (which is only just referenced in one of the four gospels as an aside) that cause untold suffering and not just for us but for people all over the world.] And then they tell the rest of us to be more sensitive to their feelings. [No, we don’t care about our feeling, we care about the truth. Are your claims correct or not? That’s all we really care about at the end of the day.] Wrong, atheists; you are the ones who need the sensitivity training sessions. Your claims of hurt and pain are bordering on the side of ridiculousness. [Well, since we claim that religion directly causes suffering and then point to thousands of people dying right this instant because of the teachings of the Catholic church, I think your denial of that reality is what is ridiculous.]
As has been shown over the past few years, Christians can make their feelings known by voting with their feet and their wallets. [Feelings and money do not change facts. Unless that money leads to research which overturns previous knowledge. Hey, hang on… that’s called science, isn’t it?] As much as the atheists hate to admit it, their impact is becoming smaller each year. Remember the movie, “The Passion of The Christ”? It is now No. 15 of the top 1,000 grossing films of all time in the United States. On the other hand, Bill Maher and his classic film, “Religulous,” is number … well, I can’t find it on the list. As a matter of fact, I wonder if it even covered its costs. I think it was popular for about three weekends. Examples like this abound. [So long as your examples are based on banal box office successes I don’t think we have much to worry about.]
The same thing holds true for retailers. Whose business do they want? Do they want 3 percent of the population frequenting their stores or a much larger percentage? I think the answer is obvious when you look at all the establishments that realized they made a huge mistake a few years back and have since rethought their positions. [The answer is they want ALL the business they can get which says very little for your dear old delusion about a sky fairy made man dying to forgive sins he invented in the first place.]
Even though I do push back hard against you atheists, I still hope you will rethink your position and change before it’s too late. You are making the biggest mistake of your lives by not at least giving religion a serious try. In the meantime I wish you a Merry Christmas and I will be praying for you. [I hope you have a Merry Christmas too Tom, but I seriously hope the New Year sees you peddling less twaddle to gullible people who don’t have the relevant knowledge to avoid getting burned by your wilful ignorance.]
By the way, I urge you all to email Tom Sears at the email address he provided publicly at the end of that article and let him know what a biased meanie he is! I intend on emailing him with a rather choice response to his “I’ll be praying for you” quip!