Friday, 20 November 2009

Calling All Literalists

Atheist Religion seems to be on the minds of some of our politicians, and for once it’s something other than dog-whistling for easy conservative votes.

Last week Coalition leader-in-waiting Joe Hockey made a speech to the Sydney Institute about the evils of religious ‘literalism’, and this week senator Nick Xenophon called Scientology a ‘criminal organisation’ that should have its tax-exempt status revoked. (I agree, but why stop at Scientology?)

I’d like to think it’s because the increasingly vocal atheist community is getting noticed as a potential vote-winner … but sadly, ‘tis not the case.

Hockey has no time for atheists, despite taking the same line as Dawkins on fundamentalists. The interesting thing though, is that he has no time for theists either.

Hockey wants to promote a kind of touchy-feely deism, where scriptures can be accepted or ignored as you like and God doesn’t intervene in the world in any meaningful fashion.

Sounds a lot like atheism doesn’t it?

It strikes me that that’s what moderates like Hockey effectively are. They just choose to eschew the label.

Why? Maybe it’s the desire to distance themselves from the Dawkinses and Hitchenses of the movement. Or maybe it’s the inexplicable desire to continue considering the bible a source of meaning and purpose.

Either way, I’d like to see more moderates calling out the literalists in their midst. But I can understand why many don’t.

After all, to remove the literalists from Christianity is to remove the movement’s core support base.

Without those who consider God an extant interventionist force, and the political and financial clout they bring with them, Christianity would be just another school of philosophy.

And not a particularly interesting one.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Hockey's speech was piss weak, something I think many atheists and theists would agree on. He equated god to all faiths - he came across as confused and inept apologist.

Matt said...

That's true, Sean. I suspect he was trying to be inoffensive to both sides, but he just came across as someone with nothing to say.

Dave ~ said...

I'm no fan of Hockey - or anyone else involved in the 11 years years of Howard (or as I like to call him, the little Turdburgler), but don't be too harsh on him.

I see this as a first step. Imagine if he came out like Hitchens. Sure, we'd have a laugh and pat him on the back, but it would create such a backlash that it would do Atheism no good at all. If seen as a first step into a larger, more open debate. One that hopefully excludes the Fred Niles of the world and opens peoples minds up - ever so slightly.

Atheism will never take hold as completely mainstream if you bash people over the head with it. You have to plant the seed, give people the facts and let people come to at their own pace.

BTW - today's Word Verification - evulism. That's just 4 kinds of awesome right there.

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

Lookit this, friend, and you'll come to see what I believe. God bless you with discernment: