Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Why Christians Need to Hate Atheists

A theist comforts himself after losing another argument on the Internet.
Fox & Friends Says Protecting Atheists From Discrimination Is Anti-Christian! | Crooks and Liars

This little item by Heather from Crooks and Liars shows Christians arguing that protecting Atheists from discrimination is anti-Christian.

In other words, so they imply, to be a Christian, you should actively discriminate against people who disagree with you, or at least you should have the right to, so treating them as lesser people deserving of lower standards than you are entitled to by virtue of your religion.

None of that essential equality of man or all people being created equal stuff. That's all very well in theory and certainly applies when Christians are being discriminated against, but Atheism threatens Christianity so Christianity needs to abandon ... er... Christianity to defend itself.

So what is it about Atheism that threatens Christian fundamentalists that way? There are a couple of reasons, none of which reflect well on Christians:

  1. Claim to power and privilege. Undermining Christianity undermines any claim Christians think they have for power and privilege (such as the privilege to discriminate, for example). These are the Christians who are using their 'faith' as an excuse for their claim to the right to hold power over others, to determine social priorities and government policies... and of course to defend and protect their power and privileges.

    As we see in the craven support of the evangelicals for the racist, misogynistic political extreme right in the USA, happily abandoning any pretense of support for high moral standards of marital fidelity, respect for women, sanctity of life (unless it's a matter of trying to restrict and deny women's reproductive autonomy).

    These people know Atheism threaten their only claim to power - God wants it!
  2. Terror Management. Christians invest a great deal in the idea that life is merely a preparation for something much better and a something that all depends on pleasing an irascible god who can read secret thoughts and sees every action. Everything depends on this being correct. Their entire future - indeed the entire purpose of their existence - depends on it.

    Atheist, apparently living quite happily with the idea that there is nothing better to look forward to and that this life is all they have, to be enjoyed to the full, free from fear of a snooping invisible deity in the sky, are a real existential threat to this cosy, 'obey all the rules and be rewarded' mentality.

    It's not even the fear of being wrong, but the fear of even being made to consider that they could be wrong. This is the reason for the extraordinary phenomenon that, in the USA and in other countries with a high degree of religiosity, Atheists are regarded as amongst the least trusted of all people. Some surveys even put them on a par with Islamic extremists.

    A paper published in the journal, Social Psychology and Personal Science in September 2015 sheds some light on this strange and irrational attitude. The authors cite 'Terror Management Theory' as the likely cause:

    Terror management theory posits that the uniquely human awareness of death gives rise to potentially paralyzing terror that is assuaged by embracing cultural worldviews that provide a sense that one is a valuable participant in a meaningful universe. We propose that pervasive and pronounced anti-atheist prejudices stem, in part, from the existential threat posed by conflicting worldview beliefs. Two studies were conducted to establish that existential concerns contribute to anti-atheist sentiments. Experiment 1 found that a subtle reminder of death increased disparagement, social distancing, and distrust of atheists. Experiment 2 found that asking people to think about atheism increased the accessibility of implicit death thoughts. These studies provide the first empirical link between existential concerns and anti-atheist prejudices.

    Corey L. Cook, Florette Cohen, and Sheldon Solomon
    What If They’re Right About the Afterlife? Evidence of the Role of Existential Threat on Anti-Atheist Prejudice
    Social Psychological and Personality Science September 2015 6
    : 840-846, first published on April 27, 2015 doi:10.1177/1948550615584200

    Copyright © 2016 Social and Personality Psychology Consortium.
    Reprinted by kind permission under licence #4001331203306

The demand as expressed in the Fox and Friends clip is simply a reaction to these two threats that the mere existence of Atheists hold for Christians, especially Christians from the fundamentalist extreme forms of the religion and those who are using 'faith' as an excuse for their power ambitions.

It's not that Christians believe we Atheists are wrong; they are terrified that we might be right.

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