Secular Church and Stock Answers

I’m going to try to write about two small things at once.

I visited the church of Atheism tonight (the CFI, that is). I always hated the Centre for Inquiry in the past, perceiving them as wildly skeptical debunkers who were afraid of the unknown, and I swore that I’d never get involved with those guys… but I took a deep breath and attended their panel discussion (which was hosted by Michael Coren), which had someone representing each faith. The Christians, however, were a little overrepresented, having two Roman Catholics and an evangelical.

Nevermind the panel discussion. It wasn’t very interesting and almost nothing was said.

As it turns out, Justin Trottier and the other handful of secularists in there are actually very reasonable and personable. I was amazed at how much better they were than I expected. Granted, I still encountered some classically skeptical, scientism-oriented people who I think could use a bit of shoehorn in the imagination, but it really wasn’t bad. It wasn’t bad at all. They’re nice people! And they aren’t as closed-minded as I thought they were. But I trolled them a bit anyway.

*   *   *

The next thing I was thinking about, just now, was Christian stock answers. It isn’t the stock answers I was thinking about, but rather, the total lack of respect that’s used in applying them. I was thinking about this because I had some used on me, and it made me so angry that I surprised myself. I didn’t know this childish rage was still inside me.

Why does it make me angry? Because I defended Christianity for my whole life, and knowing this, they go ahead and use them on me anyway. You can sit in a church and criticize Christianity, and people will take you somewhat seriously. They might even think about what you say. But as soon as you step outside the circle even for a moment–even after a lifetime of being on their side–all of it is moot. You’re one of them. Your lifetime of belief doesn’t mean two bags of llama droppings; they just turn right around and subject you to the same one-dimensional treatment that they give the rest of the world. I think I deserve to be taken a little more seriously on account of my history: but no.

“You chose to see it in that way. You choose to believe that such and such is true.” I’ve never heard of people choosing things that they desperately don’t want to choose, but perhaps I’m not up on my 21st-century definitions of “choice.” It gets even more interesting: “there’s always a choice [with regard to belief], even if you’re not conscious of it.” If you’re not conscious of it, in what sense is it a choice? Moreover, how exactly does one even acquire such a weird belief? If you’re not conscious of it, then you can’t even know that there exist unconscious beliefs, because you aren’t conscious of them.

Imagine you worked for the producers of Windex, and you’re told that everyone who denies the supremacy of Windex is suffering from indoctrination by the anti-Windex media. People who think that the Windex hasn’t cleaned their windows have blurry vision. So you work the phones for your whole life, doing door to door Windex sales and telling people who call in that they’re hallucinating the streaks on the windows. But one day you sit at home testing out the Windex against the competition, and you become convinced that the Windex really does have some issues. You tell some of your fellow employees about your findings, and what do they say? Your lifelong compatriots? You’re clearly suffering from indoctrination by the anti-Windex media. Doesn’t mean a thing that you’ve used that line on a thousand other human beings; doesn’t mean a thing that you’re gambling with your livelihood by talking about this. Everyone who denies the supremacy of Windex is suffering from one of the issues on the list taped above your cubicle. We who work here at the Windex factory know how it is. If you worked here and you deny this, then you never really worked here in the first place, for those who have gone out from us were never really on the payroll, for if they were on the payroll then they would not have gone out from us.

Just unbelievable. It’s not always like this, but when it is, I burn like a torch.


2 Responses to “Secular Church and Stock Answers”

  1. wabasso Says:

    Good for you for venturing into new territory! Not just this post but the United Church one as well.

    And lol @ Church of Windex

  2. After I really talked with them (the two main Atheist Warriors), I was pretty embarrassed by how badly I had cariacatured them. They were so much more sensible than I expected. It must be media spin…

    My windshield is actually all streaked and gummed up on the inside, so that’s why I’ve been thinking about Windex.

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