Sunday, April 2, 2017

What Does Atheism Have that Christianity Doesn't?

In my exciting blog brawl at Religion Dispatches, with two of their resident semi-pro blog trolls and the um..... visiting heavy-weight champ from Eschaton, "Skeptic Tank" a question ocurred to me that I don't recall anyone ever asking in one of these things.

What does atheism have that Christianity doesn't?

While waiting for them to answer - there would seem to be crickets there - I'll give you a few observations.

You would think that these atheists who are trying to convert Christians to their religion would want to be able to tell them what they'd get from atheism that Christianity doesn't provide them.  In the context of this particular blog brawl, the question might be put as what they'd get from converting to atheism over retaining their liberal Christianity.  I don't see that there's a single thing in it for all but a very few academics and those who want to live their lives of nihilistic, amoral depravity at the expense of the large majority of living beings.

Atheists can't offer them hopes for justice or equality because atheism doesn't contain even the acknowledgement that those are real endowments that people have a right to.  Atheism doesn't even contain the idea that human rights or the rights of any living beings are real and more than a mere delusion.  When you press a sciency atheist-materialist on that question it's far more likely that they will, in an effort to preserve their materialism, they will deny those are there.  And it's not just the current fashion of evolutionary psychology and other sects and cults of Darwinism.  It's not any accident that the previous majority faith in such things, behaviorist psychology produced popular lit about a scientific world "Beyond Freedom and Dignity"* where we will be scientifically managed into a superficial and banal contentment like a well managed herd of well provided for sheep.  And, of course, when pressed to the ultimate they go a hell of a lot farther than that denying that even the very consciousness which comprises our real being exists.

Though in all of their tortured, twisted, turgid verbiage over that,  one thing that inexplicably is, apparently, to survive is the notion of academic-intellectual distinction for such ideas and the inexplicably to be honored right to propriety over them and the professional, academic, legal and monetary rewards they are, somehow, entitled to as well as justice against those who deprive them of, especially, the proprietary and monetary rewards of such ownership.   They never seem to question the existence of the owners of such mental property as they are in the business of producing.

So, there is something in it for the scribbling, publishing, teaching entirely inconsistent and entirely unwilling to live with the consequences of their ideology atheist, though, if made a matter of law and custom, there's not even the ownership of the vast majority of us to even own our own consciouness, never mind a right to equal justice and the liberality that an honest application of The Law, the Prophets and the Gospel say is our due as a matter of endowment by God.

Naw.  atheism has got nothing that is of any use to people who don't want to live as conceited, arrogant, snobs.  As I've been saying, it destroys the very basis of egalitarian democracy.  That is something that has been being asserted by materialists since at least the 18th century.

* Younger folks might never have heard of it but it was as big in the early 1970s as sociobiology and evo-psy would start being a few years later after the New York Times ordered everyone to read it.

Image result for beyond freedom and dignity summary

It was sort of the last gasp of the behaviorism that we were all taught in those awful Intro to Psy courses we were required to take as a prerequisite before it was overtaken by the next fad of Darwinian Fundamentalism (Stephen J. Gould's name for it, not mine) that is still with us but which is showing signs of its many lapses and internal contradiction catching up to it just as those of behaviorism caught up with it.  

2 comments:

  1. As W.H. Auden said: "Of course behaviorism works. So does torture."

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    1. I remember using some programmed texts when I took German and when I reviewed some math that I was really impressed with how well they worked. Then, later, I realized that it only worked with a certain kind of subject matter, the kind of stuff that you usually needed to drill by rote and that it wasn't all that impressive an accomplishment to make such rote learning more efficient. It didn't constitute a major break through in understanding of how the mind (I can't remember if Skinner would have insisted on "brain" or not) worked, it wasn't any more of a breakthrough than a thoughtful, efficient 3rd grade teacher might have come up with. Later I saw a Plane Geometry textbook by one Royal Avery (now, that's a WASP name if ever there were one) which seemed to me to have done largely what Skinnner invented decades before he did.

      I remember a friend of mine who had a BS in psych, when I told her about a local "school" for the mentally retarded in Maine where they used cold showers as negative conditioning her answer wasn't that it was cruel and immoral it was "Everyone knows negative conditioning doesn't work." Apparently not everyone did, not even the many behavioral psychologists who hung out a shingle as therapists, who most famously used to deliver shocks to the genitals of those who were scientifically trying to drive the gay away.

      I also remember that case of the girl who was the victim of extreme abuse and neglect who fell into the hands of the then fashionable behaviorists who were going to condition her into normalcy. Only to abandon her as they failed, tragically. I often wonder what happened to the poor woman. I'll bet it wasn't more than a hiccup in the well-paid academic lives of the scientists who did it.

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