RELIGION IS F@#K3D UP!!! (On Atheist Elitism)

You know the saying, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner," right?

I've never understood the logic behind this. Even when I was a believer I thought it was an illogical statement. What if the "sinner" is a sinner because they are absolutely depraved, evil, SOBs?

It's like saying, "Hate the murder, but love the murderer."

Um... no thank-you.

Here's the thing--it's the act of sin itself that defines the sinner. If they never sinned in the first place then they wouldn't be "sinners." That's why the logic is faulty. But I get what it is trying to say, "Hate the crime, but have compassion for the person."

Even though this is a fine sentiment, I have had it up to my eyeballs with religion and the idiots who practice it. Now don't mistake me, I am not saying that all people who practice religion are idiots. What I am saying is there are countless idiots within the folds of religion.

Speaking of religious buffoons, Eliot Daley is a regular contributor to the religious section of The Huffington Post. Eliot has some questions for atheists. I thought I would try to answer a few of them--being the friendly atheist I am.

I've been struck by the number of "Comments" posted in response to my articles by people who are quick and loud to proclaim their atheism and the non-existence of God -- and equally quick and loud to disdain the rest of us who don't share their perspective.

What's up with this, anyhow? I mean, really, what are you doing cruising the Religion department?

I don't know about Eliot's tone here. He says he doesn't mean to insult, that he is genuinely curious, but his question is pretty rude. An atheist interested in religion? God forbid! It couldn't be that atheists could possibly find something of interest in the psychologically complex or historically relevant depths of religion, no, there must be another (less flattering) explanation. Naturally. 
He goes on to speculate. 

Since many atheists seem to be extremely knowledgeable about religion, his first speculation is that 

[Atheists] are disaffected veterans of church or synagogue life who, for some reason or other, are now vigorously renouncing earlier foolishness and still working at putting some distance between themselves and their own (or their parents') faith.

Actually, that would account for a large number of atheists turned apostates, I should think. But this merely explains why they might be knowledgeable, it doesn't explain why they would, as atheists, still be interested in religion. Mr. Daley goes on to speculate another possible reason might be atheists are simply conceited.

They [atheists] reflect a very confident belief in their own intellectual superiority and a disdain bordering on disgust for the witlessness of those of us who experience God.

Wait... what? Atheists are interested in religion simply because we want to rub it in religious people's faces that we are smarter than they are? Really?

I hear this accusation a lot. But in all my time as a "disaffected" atheist, I have never lorded my intelligence (what little there is) over others. I have never stopped in the middle of an argument to bask in my intelligence. I have never for a moment paused to say, "Haha, I'm smarted than you--idiot. By the way... God is imaginary--poor deluded moron."

Strange that I should so often get accused of "thinking I'm better and smarter than everyone else," as one religious person put it, simply for being *knowledgeable about religion. Having spent three decades of my life as an ardent theist and believer obviously couldn't be the reason I know a thing or two about religion. Obviously.

In their defense, however, they probably only said those hurtful things because they realized that they were, in fact, intellectually inferior. Thus, in realizing, they became defensive in their horrendous embarrassment at how much MORE I knew about their own religion than they did. I mean, I would never say so myself, but their words and actions actually implied that it wasn't I who thought I was "better and smarter" than everyone else. But it was they who thought that. But then again, they may not have actually been smart enough to realize what they were doing was paying me a compliment.

At any rate, because I was a godforsaken, no good, religious hatin', atheist--they couldn't simply commend me on how much my religious knowledge impressed them. That would be tantamount to fraternizing with the enemy. Couldn't have that now, could we? So instead they had to attack my "intelligence" because... well... this would put me in my place--just another godforsaken, no good, religious hatin' atheist.

I overheard this very conversation over Christmas, where a relative of mine (through marriage) was complimenting me to my wife. Little did she know I was within earshot of the conversation. As she told my wife about how intelligent I was, she couldn't help but add that I was obviously conceited because I so often acted "better and smarter" than everybody. My wife just stared at her blankly, and then sweetly asked the only thing she could ask, "What?"

What, indeed.

Regardless of what me or anyone else thinks about my intellectual prowess (although I would stress it really doesn't matter that much), Eliot Daley is correct. Many atheists are smarter on average than your typical religious person . Even so, as one atheist reminds us:

It's not accurate to make the generalization that "religious people are stupid": the data shows that as a whole the religious are only slightly less intelligent.... In fact, I don't think religiosity relates directly to intelligence at all. Intelligent people can be religious because they compartmentalize—they don'tapply their intelligence to their religion. Religion is in a psychological category all its own, one that's perceived as incompatible with skeptical inquiry.

I like the way he phrases it. Religious people are only slightly less intelligent. We wouldn't want them to feel bad about being less than brilliant--not as if that would actually be a good reason for believing in God. But let's face it, the statistics don't lie, the fact of the matter is, whenever a study like this (this, or this) is done atheists almost always come out on the high end of the I.Q. charts worldwide. 

That's not to say there aren't genuinely intelligent religious people out there too--but as our atheist friend correctly observed--religiosity doesn't necessarily relate to intelligence at all--since most intelligent people can be great at compartmentalizing and often neglect to apply their reasoning part of their intellect to their own religious beliefs.

Moreover, there may be something to note about the relationship between lack of education and supernatural/superstitious thinking, as proved by the fact that most third world populations are also, usually, the most religious and superstitious. Usually. 

I don't know if being smarter is something to boast about or not. I suppose it depends on the situation. I would hope places like MIT and NASA hire genuinely intelligent people. I doubt intelligence really matters at a place like your local Church. It seems like a weird thing to get angry about though, that is, to be riled up over the fact that somebody actually pointed out that NASA scientists are on average smarter than those churchy people. Is that something to get angry about? I don't know. I wouldn't think so.

My point is, simply pointing out, as a matter of fact, that atheists are on average smarter than religious folk doesn't mean that atheists everywhere feel they are intellectually superior and all religious people are intellectually inferior.

It doesn't seem to me very likely that a genuinely intellectually robust person, who would probably be aware of the Socratic method, would make such a hubris laden mistake. I suppose it is possible. Intelligent people are often known to have huge egos. Yet their hubris actually doesn't detract from their sheer level of intelligence--so there is no real objection to be had here.

According to Eliot Daley, the majority of atheists just love to revel in the fact that we're "smarter" than religious people (although some studies dispute the claim--yet it seems weird that only the critics are up in arms about three independent researchers all finding the same results, but I digress). Really, after having reviewed the posts Eliot refers to, it's hard to tell if atheists really were being conceited or if Eliot just was whining because he found out that--in all likelihood--he's not as intelligent as he thought he was. 

There are some things, however, which atheists could proudly boast about. Studies have shown we're also more loyal to our spouses and partners, and we tend to be more accepting toward other cultures (see here). 

But this is besides the point. Eliot's question as to why so many atheists and nonbelievers are concerned with religion is a good one. So why are so many atheists concerned with religion? 

I'd like to think it is like what the witty television persona Dr. Gregory House says when he claims to be interested in religion so as to learn about the mistakes people are making--so he won't be in danger of making the same ones. 

In the real world, there is no doubt about it, religion is simply f@#k3d up. 

As I was browsing the 'religious section' of the news this week, I came across several horrifying articles.

The worst of the bunch is an Indonesian man who posted an update status on his (private) Facebook page that said "God does not exist."

The next day a Muslim mob waited for him outside of his work and assaulted him. To add insult to injury the local authorities, instead of arresting the violent mob, arrested the victim of an unjust attack--no doubt for religious reasons. He now faces five years jail time for the irony of all ironies--something he doesn't believe. Indonesia, a predominantly Islamic country, has a strict anti-blasphemy law. In Indonesia it's apparently illegal to not believe in things. 

If you plan on traveling to Indonesia in the near future, best to act like a moron and believe in everything! This way you'll be safe (more or less... probably less). This is why I'll never visit a country like Indonesia. I don't care how good the hookers are, I don't want to be made a fool of, let alone face the threat of imprisonment for the arbitrary things I don't believe in.

Next, we have the dick-bag Bill Donahue, of the The Catholic League, who in light of the the Catholic clergy abuse scandals called the rape victims of pedophile rapists, "professional victims" and "a pitiful bunch of malcontents."

We don't need to do a study to know that we are all more intelligent than Bill Donahue. Only a complete and utter moron would utter something so inappropriate in a public forum and then think that all those who criticize his tactless douche-bagery are being intolerant of his right to say hateful things. Seriously though, who on God's green earth (pardon my figure of speech) would say such hurtful things about rape victims? Bill Donahue, that's who.

Does Bill Donahue even realize that most of these victims were *children when they were raped? Does it even matter to him? It should. After all, he pretends to be a man of God, but I think the proof is found in the wickedness of his tongue and despicable (not to mention wholly deplorable) actions. Donahue is obviously a cohort of Satan--working toward compounding the suffering of innocent victims everywhere. He's probably a Nazi too. Why else would he say such things? A Satanist Nazi who gets his kicks terrorizing rape victims--sounds like a horrible accusation I know--but normal people would show better judgement. At least, I would hope. Which only leaves Satan worshiping Nazi douche bag.

At the same time the Catholic Church proper, not to be confused with Donahue's The Catholic League of Terrorizing Rape Victims, a totally different organization altogether, is currently complaining that they have to provide birth control to their employees as covered by the universal healthcare plan--you know--according to the law. 

Apparently, the Catholic church finds birth control, such as contraceptives, to be "sinful." Never mind the amount of "theologizing" which goes into the construction of the belief that a piece of synthetic rubber used to safeguard you from life threatening diseases and other forms of disease could at all be deemed "sinful"--never mind that it is the woman who is at the highest risk when it comes to unsafe sex--never mind, the Church has spoken--and it's sinful to engage in sex in any other way than what the Church deems proper.

Never mind that what humans do in the privacy of their own beds is not the f@#king business of the Church, or anybody else for that matter.

President Obama called them on their retarded line of reasoning, and along with the Department of Health and Human Services, forced the Church to adopt the plan--you know--cuz it's the law. 

Suck it religion! But make sure you use a condom. Wouldn't want to catch an STD.

Just imagine. The Church would rather hold to the theological belief that birth control is sinful, because it goes against God's commandment for his followers to be fruitful and go forth and multiply, than to protect the safety and well-being of those it employs?

The logic here baffles me. So, let's run a hypothetical. Let's pretend a massive HIV breakout infests the Catholic church. Additionally, let's assume that some clergy somewhere probably contracted it from a monkey they had raped mistaking it for an alter boy. Now those that the Church employs all face the threat of infection, but low and behold, can do nothing about it because their lives are less valuable than a creed? What? Are they serious? 

Okay, fast forward several years, and due to a series of unfortunate events, everyone in the Church has "miraculously" contracted HIV--yes even the Pope himself--and are all due to die horribly and go be with Jebus in heaven-land, cuz we learned it from a kid with an overactive imagination that Heaven is for real, after all. Still--the Church has spoken. Birth control and any form of protection during sex is sinful. Whine whine whine. Until... oh no, wait... you're all dead. 

What the Church can do for us... is go fly a kite. We don't want to hear your Churchianity spewed all over, the stupid, archaic, outmoded, idiotic theologies and dumbass creeds. Keep it all to yourself. If not, you better believe we will tell you what you can do with that theology. You can shove it right up your goddamn ass. 

So to address Mr. Eliot Daley's question about why so many atheists seem to frequent if not downright infest the religious sections of the Internet.

Dear Mr. Eliot Daley,

The reason atheists read the religious section(s) of the news is, I think, two fold. One, we want to know exactly what evils we face as to best prepare ourselves for readying the best possible opposition to these corrupt and evil religious ideologies and institutions. 

Second, it is like Dr. House says, we want to know what mistakes others are making, so as we can better avoid making the same ones.

I am willing to grant you a third possible option, one you have already guessed. Atheists may just be logging on to rub it in your face that religion, everywhere, is a failed enterprise and that we can prove it--you know--by using our intellectual superiority to force you to see reason and think more logically by throwing up objections to your beliefs and shedding some light on areas you have hitherto taken for granted because you are, regrettably, a probationer of religion. We watch you to ensure our behavior and thinking is always superior and that our mistakes are never as embarrassingly absurd. We watch you to see you fail. We learn from your mistakes.

Then, like the little geniuses we are, we skip over the pitfalls you continually fall into, we bypass all the floundering and avoid the quicksands of your uncritical footsteps, and we stop to think through the difficult philosophical puzzles you get perpetually stuck in, like a mouse trapped in a maze. 

Not because we think we are "better or smarter" than you, but because we simply think better. It's one of the small privileges of being, on average, more intelligent.

Meanwhile, the religion you follow with conviction is the very same religion which is infested with the worst forms of corruption--but which you habitually fail to see--because like all good sheep--you unquestioningly follow your Shepherds into oblivion.

Just don't ask us to follow along. 


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