Monday, December 5, 2011

So you're an atheist, yawn

This morning I got an e-mail, a new post from a blog I subscribe to.  In it the author claims there is absolutely no historical evidence for the story of the Buddha. He and some of the commenters get all worked up and use insulting language regarding those who believe this "puerile" legend is true.  Boring, yet aggravating.  Full of Monday energy, I wrote a short comment, as follows---
I just don’t get it, why some of you are so riled up about this. It’s a myth, an extended metaphor. It’s one step more symbolic than language itself.
A similar heated discussion exists in the perennial modern anti-Christian-theology movement called atheism. Why? So you don’t believe what someone else believes. Fine. We get it. Why so angry?
A rhetorical question, I guess.  I am sure people get fixated on this kind of thing for reasons deeply rooted in their own childhood and their neurosis, using that term as Chogyam Trungpa did to describe the general kind of messy human brain we have if we don't make a real point of engaging with reality (as the Buddha said, nudge).  As an English major trudging through degrees I met a great deal of elaborate thinking along the way, and many who subscribed to atheism, which seemed to be seen as The Thinking Man's Religion.  I observed that they were often anti-authoritarian, sometimes anarchists, disliked the idea of codes of ethics, loved transgression, and lived in these elaborate dreams of argument - and believed it mattered.

There is no good reason for me to engage in something like this.  I just think it's not nice to make a big point of trying to bring down other people's beliefs.  And, of course, name-calling is a low tactic, a rhetorical trick categorized as a logical fallacy.  There.

But at least they have a sense of humor (see image above).  And here, courtesy of an evil website, is an atheist joke:
Catholics are against abortions.
Catholics are against homosexuals.
But, I can't think of anyone who has fewer abortions than homosexuals! -- George Carlin


  1. I have also wondered why so many atheists are also such angry people. Do the 2 truly go hand in hand? I sit comfortably on my fence and wonder why people have to put themselves into clubs. Oh well, birds of a feather and all that.

  2. I think it's an American cultural trait to divide and argue. Our culture forces us to take sides. I've blogged about this as well from an astrological perspective.

  3. Greetings Dalai Grandma!

    If it's aggravating, it's not boring!

    I think there is a post at the site you're referring to that discusses anti-intellectualism among Buddhists. You may want to have a look.

  4. Hello, Anonymous. First, you're right, "boring" was an inexact use of language. It stood for something like, gosh, I've heard this song so many times. . . . Yes, I see the site that shall not be named has that article, and I intend to read it. I have at times in my life been very concerned about anti-intellectualism as a founding American value, exemplified, I thought, in "Huckleberry Finn" and then too often in our electoral processes. My PhD studies in critical theory led so far from the experience and meaning of literature that they turned me against the whole enterprise of unproductive high thought. I got my degree in 1995, and could probably back off a little from that reaction now. Thank you.