Friday, August 12, 2005

It's My Blog and I'll Cry If I Want To

Ah, the Daily Pundit, mostly the commentary of Bill Quick, who coined the term blogosphere.

I enjoy reading that blog immensely. Mostly, I guess, because my politics tend to lean right and he has a way of cutting through the crap and getting to the point. He has an equal zeal for launching little tirades against all things religious, however -- his general disdain for Intelligent Design (at least, as a science or taught in the context of science), delivering a smackdown for some Christian's explanations for natural disasters (where I take issue with attributing these explanations to all Christians), and most recently his issues with folks who believe there is a war against religion in the United States.

I don't have a dog in the race for the ID argument, I don't believe that God has his finger on the "smite" button with respect to natural disasters, and I don't know that there is a war against religion in the U.S., although there are times when I think that non-believers promote more freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion.

My input in those discussions tend to be an attempt to divorce all things whacky from Christian belief in general. Every group of people are going to have fringe edges -- even rational atheism has it's Jeffrey Dahmer's. Yes, some Christians espouse whacky things but, please, don't marry them to Christianity as a matter of course.

Bill's most recent rant starts off well enough, but he has a habit of quickly descending into condescension (something he accuses Christians of enough) where he can fit it in -- copious uses of "Christian Hysterics," for instance. The conversation turns into a discussion of whether or not atheism is a religion unto itself or not, and Bill notes that atheism is not a religion or belief system, but simply describes a person who is "without a belief in gods."

...which is where I jumped in on the discussion. I noted that there are at least two forms of atheism -- "weak" atheism (which Bill describes) and "strong" atheism, which says positively "god does not exist" (there is a decent description of weak/strong atheism on wikipedia). My other comment to Bill was something pointed out in another comment, which is that discussion of anything religious on the DP tends to really get under his skin. I showed skepticism for his espousing weak atheism in print while handing out the title "Big Thunder God" and other condescending terms when describing others' beliefs. You're not simply lacking a belief in gods at that point, you believe the notion of belief in gods to be looney.

Bill's not pleased. He denies having strong atheism ties while letting me know that I'm participating in a "plainly fantastic and hallucinatory divine clown circus," and then lets us know that, it's his blog, he's an atheist, he can say what he wants, and that I can't force him to be silent. Well, nobody was forcing him to be silent, but he's forced everybody else to be silent (at least on that thread) by closing down comments... and deleting the trackback I had made to that post. That's one way of ensuring you get the last word.

At the end of the day, it amounts to Bill exercising the same level of hysteria that he rails against.

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