- Published on Thursday, 06 January 2011 06:11
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2021
Many Muslims get insulted at any criticism of their faith - especially if it's criticism of their founder - Muhammad. But now Christians are getting insulted by atheist criticism - especially when religion is called a scam. We all know the intent of any criticism of religion is to enlighten believers but sometimes it is taken further. The accusation that religion is a scam is really saying that religion is a fraud. So the "faithful" have been duped - they have been taken in by the scam. Very often a police spokesman will warn of an internet or phone scam and there is no thought that those duped are insulted. In the case of the religion scam, it's the religious leaders who are committing fraud. Perhaps they too have been duped because this scam has been around a while! (For more on religion as a fraud - see footnote below).
But there are a lot of people involved - the Pope and all his priests, all the pastors and all the imams are complicit in the fraud. There is a bit of an insinuation that anyone duped in a fraud is a bit stupid - but hey, they can think what they like. I know if I ever get taken in by a scam, I get mad at myself for being "so stupid". I don't get mad at the person who told me about it. The person (messenger) enlightening the world about a scam is not trying to insult, but trying to educate. But calling the leaders fraudulent is an insult because they are being accused of being liars - albeit probably unknowing. If you don't think you are lying, you will feel insulted.
What do people usually do when they are told of a scam? [There's a billboard telling them Relgion is a scam in Alabama - see right]. They check it out - investigate to see if there is any truth in what they were told. But it seems that in the case of religion, for many people there is no thought of investigation. People KNOW they are right. I'm sure if I told any of my religious friends that religion was a scam, that they would laugh. Unfortunately, there are unstable people who take it as a personal insult. This includes all the Muslims who want to kill cartoonists or who want to kill blasphemers - they are confirming that they do not want to question their religion. To them, religion is not something to be questioned. Sad really, they deserve our pity.
The video below is an interview on Fox News by Bill O'Reilly of David Silverman. O'Reilly is clearly insulted by the accusation that religion is a scam - I wonder if he'd be insulted by my observation that he's an idiot.
The unspoken question:
Is it a good strategy for atheists to say things that Christians take as an insult? I'd say yes - it gets visibility, maybe causes a few people to actually think.
Religion is a fraud
After a decade teaching Philosophy of Religion at the University of Houston, Professor Keith Parsons has finally decided he's had enough. He has been atheist for quite a while but tried to teach both sides of the case until September 1, 2010 when he quit teaching that subject. In a post on Secular Outpost he said (amongst other things):
I have to confess that I now regard "the case for theism" as a fraud and I can no longer take it seriously enough to present it to a class as a respectable philosophical position - no more than I could present intelligent design as a legitimate biological theory. BTW, in saying that I now consider the case for theism to be a fraud, I do not mean to charge that the people making that case are frauds who aim to fool us with claims they know to be empty. No, theistic philosophers and apologists are almost painfully earnest and honest; I don't think there is a Bernie Madoff in the bunch. I just cannot take their arguments seriously any more, and if you cannot take something seriously, you should not try to devote serious academic attention to it. I've turned the philosophy of religion courses over to a colleague.
Update Jan 8, 2011
A number of people have noticed that Bill O'Reilly thinks that the tides are unexplained. While he may be stupid enough to think that, the normal intelligent Christian has equally difficult questions he can ask that either cannot be explained by today's science or cannot be explained in the few seconds O'Reilly is likely to allow his guest. So making a big production out of this particular goof on the part of O'Reilly does not get you anywhere. I presume that's why David Silverman simply made a joke about it. However, it does underline O'Reilly's lack of knowledge of Science.