Thursday, April 4, 2013

All atheism is "McAtheism"

Confusing piece from Graham Veale that conflates YouTube sound bites with some of the in-depth writing on religion by folks like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.  I'll select a few points to respond to:

"The result was what Chuck Colson labelled ‘McChurch’3 . The Christian message was sliced down to easily digestible portions. The nutritional value of the church’s message was neglected in favour of more appetising nuggets with mass appeal. We believe that in the 21st century many atheists are making the same mistakes that evangelicals made in the late 20th century. It is this general ‘dumbing down’ for mass appeal that we label ‘McAtheism’."
How do you "dumb down" the belief that no gods exist?  That's about as digestible a portion as you get.

"Maher is incredibly ill informed — his film inexplicably states that there is no historical evidence for Jesus,"
Oh, is there?  Let's see it.

The result of these three movements — online atheistic communities, the literature of ‘New Atheism’ and iconoclastic satirists — has been what we call ‘McAtheism’. McAtheism is marketable, popular with the young, and fun. It is also ill-considered, wilfully ignorant and on the rise. McAtheism has no time for complexities, for once careful thought enters the equation the product ceases to be fun."
He's really suggesting that reading the works of the "New Atheists" detracts from the use of careful thought?  The "ill-informed" charge is pretty ironic, if so.

"As an illuminating example, the ‘Problem of Evil’, once the bedrock of atheism, is not central to McAtheism."
It's not central to atheism at all.  It's irrelevant to the belief that there are no gods.

"Feelings are central to McAtheism, arguments are peripheral."
No atheist is required to make a single argument.  If religious people can't show evidence for the existence of gods, atheism results by default.

"It is an attempt to give atheism a mass appeal by avoiding serious thought and dialogue."
What attempt has the author made to engage in such dialogue?  This is an easy conclusion to reach when you're not even trying to make the connections you're saying "McAtheism" lacks.

"What is it about your faith that offends them so very much?"
In my case, it's your desire for it to have special treatment under the law.

"What merits such ill-considered ridicule?"
The fact that your beliefs are ridiculous.

"We should not answer in kind, with marketing campaigns and sound-bites of our own."
Sounds good.  I'm sure Christian activists everywhere will quickly abandon billboards, TV commercials and YouTube videos, on your advice.

"McAtheism answers mankind’s deepest questions with witticisms and clichŽs. If the Church can have the courage to whisper God’s answers to anyone who will listen, God’s kingdom will continue to grow."
Criticizing the use of cliches with a big fat cliche.  Well done.

There's just nothing to this "McAtheism" thing.  What they're talking about is plain old atheism, which has not changed in and of itself.  What has more and more young Americans are finding it appealing.  Since people like Veale can't wrap their heads around the fact that society is starting to wise up to religion's bogus claims, they have to try to minimize it with goofy labels.  Tough luck, fellas; atheism's here to stay.

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