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“What Atheism Gets Right (And Wrong)” by Liam Scheff

Though I find it to be one of the least interesting of all current religions, I concede that Atheism does get a few things right. For example, it points out that literalist religion is a myth. That is, people who believe that any text written eons ago is an historically accurate document are kidding themselves. They’re not reading the history, and not making a good analysis of how societies create religions. I think they’re correct in this – organized religion looks to me to be pure mythology masquerading as history, terrorizing people with fear of sin and damnation, and collecting a lot of money while they do it.

Atheism argues that religions (like any power-brokering business) are easily and often corrupted (and profoundly so). Who can argue? A history lesson will tell you so, and more.

Finally, Atheism loves to mock ‘faith-based thinking’ for really being ‘fear-based non-thinking’ that strenuously avoids all critical dissection and self-analysis. And I think that is often the case, and certainly with any fundamentalism.

But then, they get the rest wrong. Atheism, as an organized, going concern, reveals a deeper question about human beings which it doesn’t ask of itself: What are we? What is the nature of the human species? Can we avoid creating religions?

The answer is that we cannot. Or, we can’t avoid telling stories about the world around us that relate to the large, existential questions – questions of existence – that keep us awake and rouse us from sleep: ‘who are we, where do we come from, why do we get sick, why do we have to die, where do we go, where were we before we got here?’

Atheism cannot resist trying to answer these questions. Its answers are very shallow and very silly, and they ignore entire fields of thought and research, especially those of plasma, electricity, and that of psychic or psychological awareness that is not based on apparent physical contact, but rather travels through the electromagnetic ether. (I talk about the electromagnetic universe in Ch. 9 and 11 of my book, “Official Stories.”)

Hungry for answers, they make a new God or ‘truth-bearing figurehead’ out of a notion of ‘science,’ which is a process as corruptible, venal and profoundly mythological as the one they’ve been critiquing and dismantling. They shuck “Genesis” and put “Big Bang” in its place, though it’s precisely the same story. “First there was nothing, then there was everything; it was a ‘singularity.’ A magic trick that can only happen once.” This is their best myth. It is, however, Genesis, reborn with a little bit of ‘theoretical math,’ which is to say, unreal numbers and utter speculation that only make sense to people who think that Star Trek is a documentary series. No, it’s just a redo of Yahweh’s magic trick – and they don’t care to look further (back to plasma physics, for example…)

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Big Bang: It is Biblical Genesis, reborn with a little bit of “theoretical math,” which is to say, unreal numbers and utter speculation that only make sense to people who think that Star Trek is a documentary series.[/pullquote]

In the realm of the Ten Commandments, atheists and liberals feel entirely self-satisfied that they are in the ethically, intellectually and morally superior position to their hypocritical religious cousins. But they’re just re-doing Leviticus with pharmaceuticals.

They tell themselves they’re ‘sexually liberated’ and no longer slaves to Old Testament voodoo, but then they fall into every convention; they pound the drum for gay marriage, rather than questioning the historic property-binding, female-bartering process of marriage itself. They tell women, gay men and brown-skinned people to line up for HPV shots and HIV testing, as though sending them to a confessional, without realizing that the shots are poisonous and the tests are an absolute fraud. (They’re repeating Leviticus all over, but with pharmaceuticals – see Ch. 5 and 6).

And they argue that life is a big cosmic “whoops” that they call “random mutation.” They tell themselves that the organizing forces apparent to anyone who can look at any bit of the patterned world are just a result of a new God they call “random chance,” or “Darwinism.” They sometimes acknowledge “Nature” as being the governess, without realizing that “Nature” is a mystical, transcendent mind that is in all places, at all times, creating and destroying and recreating in a panoply of repeating, improvisatory patterns. (And they don’t have some respect for that magical force? See Ch. 8 and 11.)

They don’t, because their myth is: Deadness. The world is a dead wind-up box, after Rene Descartes’ poisonous thinking; it came about by accident, it will go away in time, and nothing will remain. It’s a cold, sterile worldview, and it leaves them very unhappy, by and large. I think this angst adds to the venom with which they fight against the admittedly oppressive church.

So, what’s true? They have a myth; the Christians have a myth, so do the Jews, the Muslims and the Hindus. Trekkies have a myth, too. So do Star Wars fans…can you see the pattern? We’re a myth-making species. Whether your myth is “Liberal progressivism will save the world,” or, “Jesus will return and vanquish his foes,” or, “Global warming will kill us all unless we stop it by complaining on the Huffington Post,” or my  personal favorite, “Michael Bay is the anti-Christ and has destroyed American Cinema, you bastard!” We all have our mythic center.

I wonder if you probed your psyche for long enough you’d be able (or really, willing), to answer the question:

What Is Your Myth?

Me, I’m a mythicist. I lean east, I enjoy and admire all mythologies for the ancient stories and feelings they transmit. I think that the soul of the universe cannot be held in language that we can speak. Not in a book, not in a thousand books, but only in the going experience of living, hard as that often is…isn’t that the challenge?

Liam Scheff is author of “Official Stories,” drilling to the core of the gooey religious center of science.

One thought on ““What Atheism Gets Right (And Wrong)” by Liam Scheff

  • richard ray

    Well, God, the majestic Sovereign, says that it is impossible for Him to lie. See Hebrews 6:13-20. So, Mr. Scheff, who is the liar you
    or God? R

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