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New Brit: Welcome to a world where flip-flopping is the only respectable answer to atheism

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In “The New Atheism” (The Guardian, 26 August 2011), James Wood advises “Writers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens tend to equate religion with fundamentalism. A more nuanced examination of religious belief can be found in modern fiction.” Wood exemplifies the utter bankruptcy of those who would sniffily defend “religion” by holding up as the virtuous examples – who rescue religion from “fundamentalism” the people who didn’t just make the right choices:

Part of the weakness of current theological warfare is that it is premised on stable, lifelong belief – each side congealed into its rival (but weirdly symmetrical) creeds. Likewise, in contemporary politics, the worst crime you can apparently commit is to change your mind. Yet people’s beliefs are often not stable, and are fluctuating. We are all flip-floppers. Our “ideas” may be rather as Woolf imagined consciousness, a flicker of different and self-annulling impressions and convictions.

What if you were a strong Christian believer, and you woke one night, terrified by the sudden awareness that God does not exist? Hours pass in this unillusioned crisis, and then blessed sleep finally returns. The next day, you wake up and the awful doubt – a thing of the night – has mysteriously disappeared. You continue to “believe in God”. But what does such belief now mean? If it has not been annulled by the doubt of the night, does it now contain the memory of its inversion, as a room might trap a bad smell?

It starts worse and gets worse than this sample.

Faith, in Wood’s world, is not about holding on to ultimate reality and making right choices despite temptations to do otherwise; it’s about endlessly attenuating nuances and complexities, secure in the knowledge that one is at least better than those narrow fundamentalists who just stay the course.

Wood provides some perspective on the Brit riots, doesn’t he? Just think: His type of people have been the Brit moral guides for over a century. And what do you see? The evangelical and Muslim youth, who are not nuanced, stayed home from the riots. How backward, how narrow of them.

And over-educated Brit toffs, how utterly morally bankrupt of you.. You’ve succeeded in being worse than the rioters. They are the harvest you sowed.

See also: The Brit riots: “When churches disappear, the vacuum is filled by gangs or tribes.”

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7 Responses to New Brit: Welcome to a world where flip-flopping is the only respectable answer to atheism

  1. LOL. So there were no riots in England back before the religious flip-floppers took over?

  2. In a word, no, Nick. Certainly not involving tens of thousands around the country. That’s partly why it was such big news.

  3. Nick’s quite right – in the early 19th century, mobs around the Parliament buildings were just part of the London scene. But the problem was that Parliament was corrupt and unrepresentative in a way almost unimaginable today.

    As Parliament grew slowly into a representative assembly, public esteem for it grew greatly.

    The waker upper about these riots is not their severity, but the fact that they were not really about anything. There was a trigger, yes, but no specific common cause, just the general malaise of people with no apparent direction in life.

    This mess is not going to be easy to sort out, but one real help would be to quit listening to people who encourage the idea that doubt about basic issues and ultimate values is – in itself – some kind of a virtue or proof of intelligence.

    That may work in the Ivy League, but is disastrous in general application.

    Put another way: When the philosopher wonders whether there is any real right or wrong – for example, would it be wrong to mug an old lady – his students know he ain’t gonna do any such thing. When the street punk is wondering the same thing … is that an ambulance I hear in the background? Police sirens?

  4. If someone can produce a street punk citing a nihilistic philosopher, I’ll be impressed.

    There were a few riots in Britain and the rest of the world other than those already mentioned. Which ones are clearly attributable to atheism, or whatever, again?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_riots

  5. Nick, the main feature of these riots was very widespread and opportunistic looting by selfish (mostly young) people who have no respect whatsoever for society. Do you really think that any of them believed that they would be brought to account for their crimes in this life or the next?

    Please go back to “Wikipedia (said it so it must be true)” and try to find a list of riots in Great Britain which remotely resembled what happened here in August 2011. I can tell you now, you will fail. What happened here was unprecedented and heavily linked to “post-religious” influences (and the absence of religious influence).

  6. Nick, are you at least honest enough to admit that good and evil really exist? Were the riots evil or were they not evil? If you are consistent within your atheistic/materialistic worldview then you must deny the objective existence of good and evil. i.e. you must deny this ‘real’ existence of objective morality. Thus, if you are consistent, you must deny that the riots, the holocaust, the Soviet gulags, the Chinese ‘great leap’ forward, abortions, etc.. etc.. are either evil or good.,,, Yet if see the patent absurdity of saying everything is neither good or evil (i.e. saying everything is amoral) but you then refuse to live consistently in your atheistic/materialistic worldview, and you try to have your cake and eat it to, and you try to say that good and evil are both real, but that they merely ‘emerged’ from a materialistic basis,, so as to encourage ‘flourishing’, as the atheist Sam Harris has tried to put it, then you run into a insurmountable problem of maintaining a coherent identity towards a consistent cause so as to rigidly define what should be good and evil in your atheistic worldview.,,, This insurmountable ‘identity problem’ for morality, for atheistic/materialism, is clearly illustrated here by Dr. William Lane Craig:

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    As well Nick, This ‘inconsistent identity’ towards a coherent cause is what also leads to the failure of atheists to be able to make absolute truth claims for any particular beliefs that they may hold:

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? (‘inconsistent identity’ of cause leads to failure of absolute truth claims for materialists) (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNg4MJgTFw

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig On Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    Moreover Nick, science, which atheists have put so much ‘faith’ in in the first place, to ‘replace’ their lack of faith in God,, would be impossible without God;

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Thus Nick, atheism ends up being a completely ridiculous flop as far as to being able to ground anything that we humans consider of utmost value in our lives. i.e. truth, beauty, integrity, honesty, morality,, etc.. etc.. etc..,,, You may find this ultimate destination of your atheistic philosophy appealing, but I find it is but a twisted path of irrationality!!!

    Further notes:

    Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M

    “Atheists may do science, but they cannot justify what they do. When they assume the world is rational, approachable, and understandable, they plagiarize Judeo-Christian presuppositions about the nature of reality and the moral need to seek the truth.
    As an exercise, try generating a philosophy of science from hydrogen coming out of the big bang. It cannot be done. It’s impossible even in principle, because philosophy and science presuppose concepts that are not composed of particles and forces. They refer to ideas that must be true, universal, necessary and certain.”
    Creation-Evolution Headlines

    Alter Bridge – Rise Today – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYG3BPvFOgs

  7. NM:

    What did that New Atheist double-decker bus advert say, again?

    Was it:

    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    (Nah, that was Geo Washington’e 1796 farewell address . . . )

    We are seeing a predicted reductio ad absurdum, with the promotion of an inherently amoral system of thought in the name of science, as a censoring a priori on science.

    Is it any surprise that what we used to call lumpen proletariat elements would soak in the atmosphere of amorality and resort to nihilistic, opportunistic looting; without being able to quote Nietzsche. Why should they, it was all written into their school books and the teacher’s scripts for classes, it was trumpeted all over TV, it was in the papers and it was on the net.

    Have we so soon forgotten Keynes in the closing words of the General Theory?

    Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

    QED . . .

    GEM of TKI

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