Dear Ivy Ash,
I read your article vilifying atheism [Leave religions alone, February 8] and I had to comment. Perhaps it is cowardly of me, but I chose to copy most your letter because you express unoriginal thoughts on a subject that is far more simple than you think. You’ll find I make no apologies.
There is a certain truth to what you’re saying. Graham Templeton is as bigoted as your postmodern relativism. His article reads as a blind attack at people. And there are Christians, Muslims, Jews, and even Wiccan atrocities. Yet there is actual substance to the critiques of religion that are being provided, and ad hominen attacks back and forth solve little. And it’s easy to conflate an attack on blind, irrational faith with one directed at the believers themselves.
There’s more to atheism, Ms. Ivy Ash (a funny name for a fundamentalist Wiccan – see that, we can all use useless ad hominens and oxymoronic terms to emotionally bias our readers) than just bigotry. There’s love, for one thing, and tragedy (those exist in every human). There’s critical thinking. There’s understanding that, as Richard Dawkins points out, without an understanding of the Bible, “you can’t understand English literature and culture.” But there’s also a greater subtlety to atheists critiques then you seem to comprehend. These include realizing that the Bible is a myth that was written and rewritten by human beings over long periods of time. It’s realizing that the ethnography of the Bible is more likely a fictitious myth, as no actual evidence that the events of Exodus exists. But you can throw a few more ad hominens in to ensure that if your shoddy arguments aren’t enough, you can at least make fun of us.
Now, lest you think I may be an atheist, I’ll tell you right now, I am. But I’m also more than that. I’m a humanist, a person who finds inherent worth in every person.I’m a naturalist, someone who accepts the scientific method as our greatest source of knowledge, and that method has yet to reveal any evidence of something beyond this world. And I’m a skeptic, someone who only accepts claims that are backed up by objective evidence. Our views have also survived Roman Catholicism’s widespread eradication efforts of the past, and present. And yet to this day, religious bigotry still targets atheists as immoral and subhuman.
Now we need to talk about the truth. Since you seem to believe in a postmodern, relativistic form of truth, in that whatever works for you is true, I think I ought to take a second to explain what’s behind the apparent aggravation of atheists (alliterations are always awesome). Atheists, in general, arrive at their worldview via a critical evaluation of the claims that are made by various proponents of the true faith. Similarly, when new evidence is presented, atheists are generally open to evaluating that evidence to see if there’s an inconsistency within their worldview. To date, there hasn’t been enough evidence for the vast majority of us to require supernatural explanations. If there’s anything the success of the sceptical scientific method has taught us, it’s that an objective truth does exist outside our minds (this keyboard I type on exists). Yet postmodernists are making intellectual war on the existence of objective truths in an attempt to destroy several hundred years of scientific progress. That is, progress that has led to the ability for you to write an article on your computer, email it to the Peak, and for it to appear within the hands of tens of readers within a week.
Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t have the highest esteem for theists. In fact, since most theists rank atheists the least trustworthy demographic, there’s evidence of a deep seated, and in this case hypocritical, bigotry. Why? Apparently in your case it’s partly daddy issues. Or as you admit more likely, you were raised with a bigoted view that sees belief in a god as necessary for a meaningful and moral life. Both of which are demonstrably false by the growing number of happy, fulfilled atheists across the world. Of course, we can all get annoyed by fools with whiny diatribes, but that by no means gives you the right to write off all atheists as assholes. I’m not about to declare all Wiccans as overly-sensitive hypocrites because of your piece.
Finally, who is it that you think you’re talking about? Who, exactly, are you preaching to? Obviously you are writing to Mr. Templeton and trying to publicly chastise him for writing such tripe, but 90% of the articles in The Peak are crap. More likely you feel you need a stage to showcase how progressive and accepting your Wiccan beliefs are. You try to save yourself a little at the end, by admitting there are “fine upstanding atheists who aren’t bigoted at all.” And I will agree that Graham’s (suddenly you’re on first name basis?) article was offensive, but you failed to define it as either hate-filled or hypocritical. Clearly, the only hate literature that’s appropriate in Canada is anti-atheist hate literature. Or perhaps, you might want to understand that free speech is still allowed in Canada, but hate literature, defined as literature that incites and advocates violence, is properly regulated.
Most sincerely, Ian Bushfield
P.S. Because you couldn’t fit enough ad hominens in the actual 958 word letter, you had to give us a pointless post-script.