• PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: Please Take a Look At the Despicable Sean Hannity

    Ode to Sean Hannity
    by John Cleese

    Aping urbanity
    Oozing with vanity
    Plump as a manatee
    Faking humanity
    Journalistic calamity
    Intellectual inanity
    Fox Noise insanity
    You’re a profanity

    I generally like Psychology Today, it often has interesting pieces on advances in psychology, and it is were my favorite author, David Niose, frequently writes. But one of their recent posts, by Thomas Plante, titled “Atheist-believer conversations: What’s the anger about? Dump the anger and listen if you want to get anywhere with religious debates”took the fallacy of false equivalency to the point that it gave me a gag reflex.

    Sadly, some people of faith (and some people of no faith) can tangle in ways that are disrespectful, inhumane, and cruel. What’s up with that? I wonder why so many are so angry when religion is discussed.

    As a psychologist I have to wonder about what lies beneath the surface of these conflicts. Perhaps many who argue the loudest and with the most aggression have unresolved issues that may actually appear contradictory. For example, do their strong statements really reflect their certainty or perhaps suggest doubt in their own arguments and beliefs? Freud referred to this as reaction formation…basically act the opposite as you really, deep in your soul, believe.

    The patronizing bit of unsolicited psychoanalysis not withstanding, you really have to be delusional to overlook the violence and human suffering (say, the atrocities committed by Islam) and claim that the arguments center around arguers inner doubts or conflicts.  But he is only starting.

    It seems to be a great disservice to both religious people as well as to atheists that their often most vocal and well known proponents tend to behave in angry and know-it-all ways. For example, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins come to mind on the atheist side while Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell come to mind on the religious side.

    Well, of course he is not the first one to compare Dawkins to  Robertson. Except, of course, that the comparison remains as stupid as ever: Dawkins is not the one trivializing the Holocaust (by comparing the status of evangelicals in the US to the Jews under the Nazis); he is not the blaming terrorist attacks and natural disasters on people he doesn’t like; he is not the one trying to make gays second class citizens; he is not telling women that they are required to submit to their husbands; the list goes on and on and on.

    In order to have any meaningful, reasoned, and thoughtful dialogue about faith, or no-faith, one must approach the conversation with those maintaining different points of view with openness, tolerance, compassion, and a strong desire to learn from each other. Oh, and did I mention compassion?

    Yes you sure did.



    And while I am not disputing the fact hostilities atheists face in the US is not as bad as many parts of the world, they will go unharmed only as long as they keep their mouths shut and agree to being second class citizen through endless entanglements of church and state. Case in point: watch FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor facing all kinds of insults and ridiculous accusations from Fox “News” host Sean Hannity for getting a state-run hotel to take bibles out of guest rooms.
    Plante can call both sides insecure loudmouths all he wants, but that only reflects the fact that our culture automatically comes down on the side of religion, even if the atheist side (as in the example above) clearly makes all the valid points. In the example above, the FFRF did not ask for bibles to be replaced with atheist literature; it only asked for neutrality. And that point somehow is always missed, not just on religious right figures like Hannity, but also on “moderates” like Plante.

    Category: Secularism

    Article by: No Such Thing As Blasphemy

    I was raised in the Islamic world. By accident of history, the plague that is entanglement of religion and government affects most Muslim majority nations a lot worse the many Christian majority (or post-Christian majority) nations. Hence, I am quite familiar with this plague. I started doubting the faith I was raised in during my teen years. After becoming familiar with the works of enlightenment philosophers, I identified myself as a deist. But it was not until a long time later, after I learned about evolutionary science, that I came to identify myself as an atheist. And only then, I came to know the religious right in the US. No need to say, that made me much more passionate about what I believe in and what I stand for. Read more...