Monday, July 19, 2010

No More Silly Privileges

The atheist critique of organized religion is not that the religious do silly things. Civilized people do a lot of stuff that is in some sense "objectively" silly. We are fortunate to have developed a level of material prosperity such that a lot of people can spend a fair fraction of their time doing things for no better reason than that they like doing them. There's nothing objectively sillier about magic underpants or incense and funny hats than there is about Dungeons and Dragons or any professional sport. If you don't care for something something that doesn't have an immediate material reward, anyone who does like it is going to look silly to you.

The atheist critique of religion is that they claim social, political, economic and philosophical privilege because of their silly activities. Religion is not just something that religious people enjoy doing; mastery of the details of religious silliness gives people an inordinate influence over the material workings of our society. Atheists therefore point out the silliness of religion not because we're against silliness per se, but because we want to undermine that privilege. We don't care that Mormons wear magic underwear; we are outraged, however, that one's diligence in wearing magic underwear is at all helpful in Utah politics. We don't care that the Pope wears a funny hat; we're gobsmacked that people actually listen to him about important matters of medicine, ethics, and law because he wears a funny hat.

The Barefoot Bum: Atheism in modern society

No comments:

Post a Comment

If the post you are commenting on is more than 30 days old, your comment will have to await approval before being published. Rest assured, however, that as long as it is not spam, it will be published in due time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails