Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Professor Shitferbrains

Dr. Roger Olson is a professor of theology in George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He has the following to say about atheists.

I feel sorry for atheists. They are so much in the minority in American society and they are bound to feel some marginalization if not persecution. Christians should be the last people to persecute anyone -- including atheists. But that doesn't mean Christians have to accommodate atheism as they tolerate and love atheists.

So, right out of the gate...we have this common Christian confusion over saying they should be tolerant, but defending actions of intolerance. Because, you know, they shouldn't have to accommodate the sin...just love the sinners. *rolls eyes*

We have to recognize atheists' full freedom to believe God does not exist, but we don't have to embrace atheism as a social good. In fact, I would argue that atheism has no redeeming social value.
You condescending fuck! Christianity isn't exactly a "social good", numb nuts! Atheism has "no redeeming social value"? What about the values of truth, honesty, and rationality? What about the personal examination of ethics and morality without the threat of your big sky daddy? Tell me, good sir - what "societal value" came out of Waco? What beneficial "social value" comes out of Hilldale, UT? What "social value" was there when a handful of Islamic terrorists represented their allegiance to Allah by flying four airplanes into various targets in the United States?

Atheism undermines values. How? Let's look at care for others. Yes, an individual atheist might care for other people. But when have you heard of an entire atheist organization serving the poor, the sick or the hungry?
Where are you statistics, sir? Read this blog. If you truly believe that atheists don't care for others, than you are selectively blind. Since a majority of the world's scientists are, in fact, atheists, I think it's pure ignorance to suggest that those atheist scientists do not care about caring for others. Atheist scientists are, you know, working towards cures for diseases and engineering drought resistant crops...and any number of discoveries that will help humanity. And, on a personal level, I donate to quite a few charitable organizations.... I just don't feel the need to wear my contributions on my shirt sleeves, as Christians are so fond of doing.

So far, at least, atheists haven't demonstrated their concern for others in any organized way.
Bullshit. Do your homework, professor.

But more importantly, atheism undermines values such as care for others because it cannot explain why anyone should care for others. If there is no God or anything at all above nature, then nature is all there is. The law of nature is survival of the fittest. Why help the less fit survive unless there is a God who loves them because they are created in his image?
I can tell you, without pause, WHY I should care for others. I should care for others in hopes that they will, in turn, care for me in times of need. I should care for others because doing "good things" releases pleasing chemicals into my brain and causes positive psychological and physiological feelings. I should care because, if something were to happen to me, my children would benefit from my having been a caring and compassionate person. I should care because I want my children to learn empathy, compassion, tolerance, and charity. You don't need a belief in a deity to give you justification for not being a complete asshole (you, on the other hand, will use your belief as justification for being a complete asshole).

What argument can atheism marshal against "might makes right"?
Are you kidding me? How about the age old favorite of: if your friends jumped off the cliff, would you jump, too? Being in majority (or having might) does not make one right.

Many atheists argue that caring for others can be encouraged based on self-interest.
But what answer can an atheist give (that is consistent with atheism) to the question, "What if I figure out a way to be personally happy and fulfilled while oppressing other people?"

Let's see if you can follow along,...I'll try to make it simple.
I, maybe selfishly, hope that people will not harm me. In return, I pledge to not hurt other people. If someone violates that principle, then I may defend myself (or my children). I have the right to be "happy and fulfilled" so long as that happiness and fulfillment does not unfairly or unjustly burden other human beings. Wow...that was easy. Next!

There is no answer to that without appeal to someone transcendent to whom we are all accountable.
Bullshit. See above.

And atheism has no answer to social Darwinism -- the idea that society should not help the weak because it's nature's way to weed out the less fit.
Maybe because atheism doesn't address Darwinism. They're two entirely different positions. It's obvious that you are a complete blowhard, since you don't know that these two things are unrelated. Furthermore, I've never heard someone who believes in evolution who says, "Yeah. Fuck the weak." Usually, that role is filled by the Christian assholes spouting "might equals right".

Not only does atheism undermine values; it also undermines meaning. I'm talking about meaningful reality -- life with meaning and purpose.
Yep. You got me. I have no appreciation for the wonders that occur all around me. NOT!! You arrogant fuck - every action has meaning. Every item has a purpose. Every moment should be treasured, because that moment is irreplaceable. It will never happen again. Every laugh and giggle of my children sears itself onto my heart because I know that I will never hear that particular laugh or see that particular smile ever again. That moment is fleeting and, therefore, priceless.

But most atheists demonstrate their basic trust in the meaningfulness of reality by being outraged at evil and injustice, thereby demonstrating that atheism cannot be lived out consistently.
What kind of babble is this?

What makes something evil or unjust if nothing like God exists -- if nature is all there is? Only subjective choice either by an individual or a society. But that can change and it often does. Without God, the social prophet has no way out of relativism.
My eleven year old can answer these questions:
"Hey, P3! What makes something evil?" - "Disregarding the basic rights of another, like, put yourself in a better position at their peril; doing horrible things to other people; making people less than people."
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Finally, let me repeat that I have nothing against atheists as persons and neither does Baylor University.
But in my opinion, they are people of character and virtue in spite of their philosophy of life -- not because of it.

And, I'm quite sure that your lack of intelligence and understanding is directly related to your desire to believe in a selectively omnipotent and omniscient being. Your God forbid that you would have to think for yourself and be ethical and moral because it's the right thing to be and not a COMMANDMENT.


Russ said...


I do not live among gods; I live with people. I am not accountable to gods; I am accountable to people. My fortune is in no way influenced by gods; my fortune is deeply influenced by people. I do not need gods; I need people. Gods add no meaning or purpose to my life; people mold me shape me and allow me to see who I am and what I should strive to be.

So, it is with Olson. So sad he can't acknowledge it.

donna said...

Like it says on my son's t-shirt:

"Tell your God to stop picking on me."

I'm really sick of the Christianists who run around trying to run other people's lives telling us all how immoral we must be since we don't believe in THEIR version of the invisible sky God.

Log in own eye, Mr. Olson, log in own eye.....

tina said...

You know, I can see how some passive atheists, is there such a thing, would become militant, as some people say. It is so frustrating to read crap like this coming from religious people's mouth's. He can kiss my ass!

Ben said...

Baylor sucks.

Perpetual Beginner said...

That first statement from Dr. Olson is just astounding in its cluelessness - paraphrased "I feel sorry for atheists because their in a minority and we treat at completely unimportant - but we should continue to do that."

Chris said...

As you said, PM, most scientists are non-believers of one kind or another, and I'm under the impression that that's especially the case with those involved in the kind of science directly involved with ending human suffering (ie, medicine, pharmacology, etc) as the whole Theory of Evolution, skeptical thinking due to a scientific background and constantly being near misery and pain tends to make one question traditional religious beliefs.

I was also reminded of an article I read not too long ago, one that talked about a study comparing religiosity and caring for the poor in doctors. The study seems to have been originally meant to prove that the religious doctors were the ones actually out serving the poor community since, you know, their religion calls on them to do so. The first author of the study, who describes himself as an orthodox Christian in the Protestant tradition, is quoted as saying the results "came as both a surprise and a disappointment". Here's the link, and here's a quote summarizing the result:

"Researchers from the University of Chicago and Yale New Haven Hospital report that 31 percent of physicians who were more religious—as measured by "intrinsic religiosity" as well as frequency of attendance at religious services—practiced among the underserved, compared to 35 percent of physicians who described their religion as atheist, agnostic or none."

Ooooh, snap! A hypocrite says what?

Terra said...

So, we're very much in the minority and are bound to feel persecution, eh? But, he's absolutely sure we are a bunch of self-interested heathens?

Or, perhaps there are good people out there doing good things day in and day out, but we don't feel the need to shout about what we're doing. Perhaps, professor, if we were to take a page from the Christian book and say, "I'm doing this in the name of godlessness" we might fear that persecution you mentioned? Perhaps some of us feel it more important to go on doing the good works, rather than make sure you know that we're doing it? Perhaps these good people feel strong enough in their own convictions that they don't feel the need to make sure some supposedly omniscient asshole recognizes every good move? This is the sigh of relief that comes with giving up on the fairy tale of the invisible sky daddy. You can just work hard for your own satisfaction and perhaps even to the benefit of your fellow man and not be a blow hard glory hound with every action.

Poodles said...

Perhaps, before one writes about atheists, one should, oh I don't know, TALK TO SOME.

This dipshit needs to stop getting his information about atheists from christians and ministers and maybe try getting it from atheists themselves especially if they think it is appropriate to put DR. in front of their name.

Russ said...

As a point of emphasis Terra used the phrase, "I'm doing this in the name of godlessness." For me, seeing that in print really does strongly emphasize a point: it makes me realize that many things I do for others are indeed done in the name of godlessness. It is rarely stated in exactly those terms, but it is truly the case. The fact that I fully understand that no god will ever intervene on another's behalf - not in the case of flat tires; not in the case of child-raping priests; not in the case of witch hunts; not in the case of Nazi extermination camps - places a greater burden of compassion and empathy on me than I suspect it does on a theist who holds the false hope that god-born help is always on the way.

Ironically, theists, too, know that such a hope is false, but they are never allowed to admit it to either themselves or others. They look after the needs of their fellow man in precisely the same humanitarian way that an atheist would - but of course they consciously repress that in-the-back-of-their-minds understanding that they need to ameliorate the situation since god is not going to show up - then they attribute any desirable outcome to their deity. I fully acknowledge that those holding the theist mindset have done much in the way of humanitarianism, but they refuse to admit that their motives are no different than mine: when my fellow man is in need of help, since god is completely imaginary and thus completely powerless, it is incumbent on me as an empathetic human being to lend a hand.

So, thank you very much, Terra, for capturing in a phrase the humanitarian motive of atheists and theists alike: "I'm doing this in the name of godlessness."

shaun said...

What a pompous, bloviating douchebag. I used to just blow off stuff like this because it was completely illogical and not based on any reality that I know. But these arguments just keep being perpetuated by these elitist xtian fucktards and I just can't take it any more. Yes, I have now become the stereotypical "angry atheist" - thanks fundie assholes!

Kat said...

Wow, where did he learn to make an argument? The Rants and Raves section of Craig's list? Because he uses the same logic as most of the backwards idiots on there.

ShadesOfGrey said...

Did this Olson dude get his Ph.D. as a mail-order certificate from the University of the Lesser Carribean Islands?? (uh, no offense to those in the Carribean) Boy, makes me really want to send my kids to Baylor. HAH! And, hey, here's a fun article about other Baylor staff:

ShadesOfGrey said...

p.s. the "html" part seems to be cut off the end of that link above (at least with my browser it is)

AlisonM said...

It's always so obvious when Xtian blowhards make these statements that they've never actually met anyone who fits their mental picture. They'll rant about a "gay agenda" without ever having gotten closer to a homosexual person than watching "Will and Grace." They'll have plenty to say about practitioners of other religions with no more information than what they've seen on Fox News. And when it comes to atheists, they have a whole list of what we're like, what we believe, how horrible we are, and it's just a rehash of the list they got from someone higher up in the church who heard it from someone else who never met an atheist, and passed it on down like a chain letter.

Then again, it seems like christianists are most likely to ban books they've never read, protest movies and TV shows they've never seen, and rant about science they could never hope to understand. Clearly, it's a thought pattern.

Dawn said...

Ugh, what a waste of air. Things like this really piss me off. Especially when I have to deal with my fundie Catholic parents constantly telling me to join a church, you know, as an answer to any problem I might face. Ugh. Puke.

What would make me happier if Christianists would just keep their feelings to themselves and leave us logical thinkers alone!!! Oh, and take their hands out of our public schools and government, too.

Ian Adams said...


While I agree with each and every one of your points, I have to say that for the sake of argument, you should really cite your examples as much as possible. The whole time I was reading your post, I kept mentally inserting Wikipedia-style [citation needed] after each point.

For example:

>So far, at least, atheists haven't demonstrated their concern for others in any organized way.
>Bullshit. Do your homework, professor.

I can think of about a half dozen secular organisations that fit the bill just off the top of my head, but the chances of a theist on the other side of the argument doing a little fact-checking on their own is about as likely as, well, as God existing in the first place.

Like I said: I agree 100% with you, but citing your sources can really help your arguments, especially when dealing with people who think that we're soulless, moral-less liars anyway.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Good point, Ian!