(What’s this? A post from Tildeb? Does this indicate the End of Days? Possibly, but my reasons for not posting is because I’ve said much of what I wanted to get out there in the public domain and found that new posts were too often merely the same criticisms pointed at different objects. I found I preferred to comment directly on different sites. But this post is for a new topic and one that I think is worth reading and considering.)
I don’t know. But it’s ubiquitous in all kinds of faith communities. And it pisses me off not just because it’s so dishonest but because my ability to legitimately criticize this lying one-on-one with the guilty party is then moderated out of existence and removed from where it actually needs to be read.
Take Eva’s conversion story for example.
This once reasonable and admittedly agnostic person gives us the Cole’s Notes version of her supposed transition to becoming a Christian but, of course, she can’t do that on its own merits or take responsibility for chucking reasonable skepticism out the window before diving into the faith pool (usually done, in my limited experience, for meeting some emotional need). What is necessary, apparently, is to create a fiction of the depraved former state of non belief and this is usually done by ‘witnessing’ some highly negative and derogatory references to the previous and deplorable state of being an atheist, of making up lies to describe the atheism one has left behind.
This is what Eva has done:
“See, I was an atheist. And not a nice, breezy atheist who doesn’t believe in God but it completely happy for those who do, like my husband. I was an angry opinionated atheist, and I really didn’t like religion. Especially Christians. The God Delusion was my bible, and I was about as intolerant and fundamentalist as you can get. This started early; in Grade 3 my best friend and I staged a revolt and refused to attend Scripture, where a nice elderly volunteer woman got us to colour in pictures of Jesus every week. We sat outside and felt superior and enlightened. And I’m sorry to say that that is a pattern that continued for the next 30 or so years.“
Having followed her writings for years, I am aware of no such intolerant and fundamentalist ‘pattern’. Quite the opposite, in fact. She was almost always polite and considerate to believers and non believers alike. Of course, from her blog title am quite aware of the agnosticism she admittedly had. So, when I wrote a comment to the above conversion story directly criticizing her for doing this seemingly mandatory smearing of atheism, she then did what so many religious bloggers do: exercised knee-jerk censorship and removed my ‘offending’ comment (plus ban me from any further commenting apparently).
That, in a nutshell, is what religious belief does: the method is to impose a belief on reality and pretend it’s descriptive of it rather than dare to allow reality itself to arbitrate beliefs about it.
The thing is, I don’t mind being banned by those dimwitted lightweights and intellectually dishonest and intolerant bloggers who can’t handle legitimate criticism or legitimate differences of opinion. They are not worth my time.
What I don’t get is how a once reasonable person open to receiving contrary comments and even criticism falls so quickly, so effortlessly, so righteously, into using lies, self-loathing PRATT, and a form of fiction to knowingly and falsely describe his or her previous atheist life and then turn to the bludgeon of banning of any contrary commentary to make themselves appear reborn in meekness and humbleness wrapped in their newfound faith. Of course, the religious allies come out of the woodwork to ‘welcome’ their ‘rescued’ brother or sister but nary a one actually questions the truth value of the fictional anti-atheist narrative.
Not one. Ever… and I read this kind of conversion story many times (usually but not always related to some non believing person having to become a person of faith in order to gain sexual access with a partner who is a believer). Vilifying atheism seems to be just the ticket to acceptance without any added concern for what’s true. In fact, I read it so often that I am beginning to think it’s like a requirement.
It’s not just tedious: it needs to come with an associated cost.
Vilifying atheists and atheism by these convertees speaks to the inherent dishonesty that seems to accompany a mental transition to become a religious believer later in life and in some weird way grants a level of ‘street cred’ to these recent convertees. Over and over again, I see their fictional narratives recycled and used by other religious people to support the ongoing, pernicious, and intentionally dishonest vilification of atheists.
Hence, the need for this post. This kind of religious deceit needs to if not stop then at least be challenged and loudly criticized.
A little dose of Truth to Power.
Sure, convertees can ban people like me and think their secret maliciousness is safe from being exposed, from being criticized for the lying it is. But I am not going to go quietly into this good night of religious moderation but use such banning as the prime reason, my motivation, for exposing it to a wider audience and link it directly to the person responsible. Avoid being responsible and honest on your blog all you want but don’t expect me to go along with this charade and stay quiet.
The offending author will receive a pingback from this site and so will know that this is what will happen when you choose to stop allowing me to comment truthfully on your site: I will introduce your deceit and dishonesty to a wider audience because vilifying atheists and atheism for your own selfish gain and shutting us down on a site where you do this shouldn’t be a benefit, shouldn’t be something only you can control. Exercising such dishonesty should earn just the opposite: wider exposure of what it is you’re willing to forego – your intellectual honesty – to further yourself at the expense of others.
If nothing else, such wider exposure should should cost the person in reputation… cost the person who is so willing and even eager to harm the reputation of others on the basis of some fictionalized version of atheism.
Put another way, one should reap what one sows.