Neal Larson: Moran

Neal Larson is angry at ‘militant atheists’. Why? It’s not entirely clear, but after carefully reading his ‘Militant Atheism Rears its Ugly Head‘, I conclude it’s because these terrible, ungodly people dare to speak up for themselves.

Since we should never assume malice where simple incompetence suffices, let’s be kind and assume that Neal really lost his marbles writing this.

First, he flat out states that he

would refuse to vote for a proud and vocal atheist for high office, regardless of any offsetting credentials.

But he would vote for proud and vocal theists who flaunt their faith – who make a show of going to church, and make it a point to use phrases like under god during allegiance, …so help me god for their oath, or finish their speeches with God bless America. Because double standards are a sign of healthy morals, right? I guess his regardless of any offsetting credentials is the cherry on top to underscore his open-mindedness.

He then unintentionally proves that he doesn’t know the difference between private and official roles, claiming that a school official who leads everyone into prayer over the intercom is merely someone who privately affirms their faith. A little later he bemoans the fact that many Americans are falling prey to political hyper-correctness, who then outlaw phrases like ‘bless you’. Doing that would indeed be silly – but it is in no way something that Atheists would demand. It’s what religious people do because they erroneously believe that saying ‘bless you’ would offend Atheists. It doesn’t. And here’s a hint: we don’t mind people saying ‘merry Christmas’ either. We know how to interpret kindness, thank you very much.

But those are only small fry. Neal goes full-on Moran with this:

While atheists are certainly capable of doing good works, those good works are not inspired by an absence of belief in God. How could they be? If atheists do good, it is in spite of – not because of – their atheism, so let’s stop acting like not believing is just another super awesome way of believing.

Can you be more condescending while spouting world-class stupidity? His complacent ‘How could they be?’ alone is weapons-grade stupid, merely underscoring the fact that Neal has skipped Ethics 101. So he’s never heard of Euthyphro – his (rather obvious) loss. But to really kick this into a universe of stupidity of it’s own is to accuse Atheists that they believe Atheism to be a religion. Not understanding non-belief is one thing. But confidently stating an idiocy of this magnitude is really asking for it.

He then whips himself into a truly righteous anger, condemning the activities of some atheists:

Particularly insidious are the atheists who get a sense of satisfaction eroding the faith of others and behave as though it is a favor to rattle another’s belief in a higher power.

Although I, too, have qualms about ‘proselytizing’ Atheists, I would like to pose the following two questions to Neal:

  1. Do you think that Christian missionaries are equally reprehensible?
  2. How do you define the word hypocrisy?

At the end of his text, Neal forgoes the classic ‘Hitler’ argument (which I was expecting), likening atheists to jihadists instead:

I think we could all be more tolerant of unintrusive atheism, because who doesn’t have doubts? But let’s separate them from the purveyors and jihadists of Godlessness

It requires an extraordinary level of incompetence – or, ideed, malice – in times of daily beheadings, rape and torture by jihadist ISIS and militant believers who kill for their god, to use either term in conjunction with atheists who until today have never killed, tortured or raped anyone in the name of unbelief.

What a piece of self-important, hypocritical, holier-than-thou drivel. It’s difficult to believe someone can be that incompetent.

Write less, think more, Neal.