And besides atheism is ugly and stupid and old and fat

What was that I was murmuring about cherished beliefs and their not so healthy effect on people’s ability to think and argue? Hardly were the words out of my mouth, it seems, when Theo Hobson was inspired to give a truly showy demonstration of that very thing.

First, by way of warming up, he threw himself down on the floor and gave a really good loud scream. ‘Atheism is pretentious and cowardly,’ he howled, spit flying, ‘and I hate it really really hard!’ Then he got up and took up the serious business of making his case.

How odd that there seems to be an endless appetite for militant atheism. How odd that anyone over 17 admires these angry ageing men, scowling at us indignantly, and competing with each other in tough-talking God knocking. How odd that they get such an easy press, that their (usually female) interviewers are so fawning. Now it is Christopher “Hitch” Hitchens’ turn. Behold the jowly prophet…

Behold the ill-mannered petulant whiner, with his factual errors and his hyperbole and his frank and frankly irrelevant insults. What ‘endless appetite’? Five books, after a period of decades when such books could not find a publisher? What ‘militant’ atheism? Where are the buses and trains that atheists blow up? How odd that Theo Hobson, who (I surmise) thinks of himself as a benevolent Christian type, resorts to the pathetic insult ‘aging’ – does he think he is going in the other direction? Does he think it’s reprehensible to get older? And then there’s the bit about mostly female interviewers – oh yes – those stupid credulous dim-witted women, fawning on all the aging jowly cowardly atheists.

And that’s just the first paragraph. Needless to say, the rest of it is crap too, but I thought it was interesting to note how venomous and unpleasant pious Theo is once his beliefs are challenged.

I’m reminded of Mark Vernon, who is not even a theist but who seems to have a real hatred of atheists – at least I can’t imagine what else inspires him to talk such nonsense about them as he does in the comments on this post.

So here’s a few gently provocative comments in reply – though no doubt, to begin the provocation straight away, you conviction atheists will immediately reject them out of hand as confusion piled upon confusion, because, of course, you conviction atheists have all confusions ironed out by all-conquering reason, with your beliefs flowing cooly in streams of coherent logic…Doubt and belief go together. Let me just offer three reasons why that might be the case (‘Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish!’, I hear you faithful atheists reply – and you have company, with the fundamentalists)…It is only the fundamentalist – religious or atheist – for whom doubt, confusion, complications are seen as automatic failures of belief, opportunities to score points, or rallying calls for the soldiers to march around. Just being gently provocative.

Obnoxious, isn’t it. Inaccurate and sneery – an annoying combination. (I objected, in fact I objected twice, but answer came there none.) What’s the point? What’s the point of railing at the wrong target? Why not dispute real atheism instead of wild-fantasy atheism? I don’t know, but I find this kind of thing unimpressive.

49 Responses to “And besides atheism is ugly and stupid and old and fat”