Posts Tagged ‘Atheism’

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Not All Atheists Against Mother Theresa Stamp

02.01.10

An atheist organization called the Freedom From Religion Foundation has come out against the US Postal Service’s new stamp commemorating the late Mother Teresa, because she is a religious figure.  Naturally, an uproar on the blogosphere has ensued and rightly so.  This type of inflammatory event is precisely what many bloggers – on both sides of the political divide – live for.

I have no real interest in treading the same territory that has already been well covered.  My issue is with the leap that many bloggers have taken in suggesting that one atheist group speaks for all atheists everywhere.

The main news article breaking the story that I found was from Fox News, which bore the title: “Atheist Group Blasts Postal Service for Mother Teresa Stamp.”  From what I’ve read about the event, this is true.  Unfortunately, many in the blogosphere have neglected to include the word “group,” suggesting that all atheists are in fact against this new, postage-related development:

Patrick Madrid: “Atheists ‘go postal’ over new Mother Teresa stamp”

Right Pundits: “Mother Teresa Stamps Spark Controversy with Atheists”

Belief.net: “Sticky problem: atheists slam Mother Teresa stamp”

World Net Daily: “Atheists attack Mother Teresa”

To be fair, these are all very right-leaning websites that cater to their American Conservative audience, which is comprised of a strong Christian base, so it shouldn’t be surprising then that they have lumped one atheist group into the entire population of all atheists.  But, it doesn’t make it right.  And not all conservative blogs make this error, either:  The Christian Post reports on this with the headline of “Anti-Religion Group Chides USPS Over Mother Teresa Stamp.”  (But the author wastes no time marginalizing the atheists and agnostics as “freethinkers,” complete with snarky quotes around the word, in the first line of the story.)

A simple omission of the word “group” with regard to this story changes the tone and substance drastically.  It also removes much of the author’s credibility by revealing a very obvious bias off the bat.  And given how ridiculous the opposition to a Mother Teresa stamp is to just about everyone not part of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, it wouldn’t take much to show that they don’t have much credibility on these postage matters (given that they didn’t oppose MLK, Jr.’s stamp, apparently, because he was involved in civil rights and just-so-happened to be a minister).  But when it’s reduced to an attack on all atheists as a group, the retort fails as well.

When your opposition already makes themselves look ridiculous and marginalized, there’s no point in bringing yourself down with them.

(H/T Hot Air)

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More Spaghetti Monsters

01.28.09

It seems that I wasn’t the only one who had an opinion on Ross Douthat’s article that I posted about yesterday.

Andrew Sullivan posted a comment from a reader that offers up a defense of Douthat’s stance:

“But you can no more avoid making a positive choice about the source of meaning in your life and the universe than you can avoid living in some country. You can talk about which country is best to live in, but the atheist pretends you can live in no country at all.”

It’s amazing that the reader actually hits it right on the head of the nail.  He links what type of belief system you follow to which country you live in.  That is to say, you have no choice in the matter.  How then does any one creed have any more validity than the one down the hemisphere?

Aside from the Born-Again Christians (which by definition are the exception), majority of believers are born into it.  They’re raised by their parents to believe in a particular faith.  If you’re born in Alabama, odds are that you’re Baptist.  If you’re born in Salt Lake City, you’re probably Mormon.  If you’re born in Iran, you’re most likely a Shia Muslim.

The fallacy of his analogy is that he suggests atheism is synonymous with nihilism.  There is a vast difference between not believing in the concept of god and believing that life is meaningless.  To not see that separation is ignorant.