The Politics of Unbelief

There are plenty of odd political parties which have sprung up recently, all seeking to make some inroads in the next Federal election. All sorts of weird and whacky parties are now out there, including the Australian Sex Party, the Communist Alliance, and the Gamers 4 Croydon (South Australia).

And those evangelistic atheists are at it again as well. They now even have their own political party. Called the Secular Party of Australia, this party might be better called the Silly Party, based on what one finds on their website. It reveals plenty of sloppy thinking and twisted reasoning.

Indeed, given how much the fundamentalist atheists go on and on about reason and rationality, it is remarkable just how much irrationality abounds here. Get a load of this for example: “The Secular Party thus advocates rational discourse as the antidote to delusion and unfounded bigotry.”

But just who is being deluded and wallowing in truck loads of bigotry? A simple look at the website reveals just how delusional and bigoted these guys are. Consider this whopper: “We contend however, that only wilful blindness to the violence and destruction caused by religion, over centuries and to the present day, could obscure the fact that religions are on balance harmful to society. Whatever moral, charitable or consoling advantages religions may have had, in the 21st century these are best obtained by other means.”

They acknowledge some charitable goods of religion, but then turn around and say it is all evil and harmful. And then they incredibly claim that non-religious goods will do just fine thanks. OK, show me the goods. I am aware of tens of thousands of hospitals, schools, social agencies, soup kitchens, aid groups and charitable bodies set up and run specifically in the name of Christianity.

I certainly am not aware of even dozens set up and run in the name of militant atheism. I bet every one of these anti-Christian bigots have benefitted from some Christian social work or charity. However I have yet to benefit from one atheist social work or charity.

Consider also this gem: “Belief in religions requires faith, which necessarily entails a departure from rationality”. Oh really? Spare me please. Every time an atheist sits on a chair he is acting on faith. He has no certainty that the chair will bear his weight. He is simply going on past experience, assuming the likelihood and probability that the chair will be the same today as it has always been.

Every person on planet earth exercises faith dozens of times a day. On faith I expect the sun to set tonight. Can I rationally prove that it will? Of course not. All I have is the probability that it will, based on past experience. This is true of most of our life experiences.

Does the atheist watching his plasma TV know every scientific and technical aspect for how and why it works? Nope. On faith he watches the thing, aware that he lacks plenty of certain knowledge about its basic operation. That is how life is, with a million faith commitments made every day.

Indeed, scientists accept on faith a whole range of givens which cannot be proved. They assume that the world is rational. Science assumes a sense of order in the universe. Scientists accept without a priori proof the laws of logic and mathematics, and so on.

All scientific theories are adhered to with a mix of evidence and faith. Indeed, we do not know what evidence may arise tomorrow which will invalidate scientific theories held to today. Faith commitments are as much a part of the scientific enterprise as any other human endeavour.

So enough of this juvenile and false rhetoric about faith versus fact. No one lives without a mix of both, and it is pure arrogance and ideological bigotry to suggest otherwise. But just how rational are these guys anyway? Indeed, what can you expect from people who have set up a “de-baptism” ritual using hairdryers? And these guys want us to believe they are the epitome of rationality?

Of course some religious leaders can be equally obtuse and lacking in clear thinking. Consider the remarks made a few days ago by Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft. He told the Weekend Australian that Christians should not be concerned about Julia Gillard’s atheism.

Said Herft, “Christians need to remind themselves that those who do not profess the Christian faith are still capable of adopting an ethical and moral framework which assists in public policy decision-making for the common good.” Yes, but he misses the point here.

Can an atheist seek to live a moral life? Yes. But the real question is why, given their worldview. How can talk of moral behaviour even arise in a naturalistic world where we are simply the products of our genetic makeup? Morality has nothing to do with an impersonal and totally material world.

The fact that atheists make moral pronouncements at all indicates the poverty of their own worldview. It shows that they are indeed moral creatures who live in a moral universe. That makes perfect sense in the Judeo-Christian worldview, but none whatsoever in the atheist worldview.

As Edgar Andrews explains, “If our world is the product of amoral forces, and if man is simply cosmic flotsam scattered on the shores of time, then morality (including Dawkins’ longed-for generosity and altruism) simply does not exist. . . . To their credit, older atheists like Nietzsche, Russell, Sartre and Camus recognized this and saw that it led logically to nihilism or, at best, to absurdity. The ‘new atheists’ (who want us to call them ‘brights’) seem oblivious to the obvious.”

But unfortunately sometimes our religious leaders are no more rational and coherent than some of our atheist leaders. The good thing about a free country however is the fact that both can freely disseminate their ideas – twisted and tortured as they might be.

And given that the Judeo-Christian worldview in large measure made such freedoms possible in the first place, our atheist crusaders ought to be a bit more thankful. But of course in their worldview, there is no one to give thanks to. Nor is there anyone to pray to as well.

Which makes the recent remark by Julia Gillard all the more bizarre, when she said she was praying for Kevin Rudd’s recovery while in hospital. Just who exactly was she praying to? And never mind that her knife in his back was just as serious a matter in terms of his health.

The world of atheist inconsistencies and irrationality is ever something to behold. Because most people have more sense than to adhere to the mumbo jumbo of the atheist evangelists, I won’t expect to see too many Secular Party candidates elected.

But if they do, they can thank their lucky stars, or their pre-programmed DNA, or a bundle of chemical reactions. Better yet, perhaps they better not even bother giving thanks.

www.secular.org.au/example-pages
www.secular.org.au/mnu-viewpoints/mnu-separation-of-church-and-state

[1160 words]