SEB Mailbag: “You have won, its time to move on and deal with greater questions.”

Got the following missive this morning:

From: John Kraft
Subject:  Give up materialism

Taking comfort in religious peoples misunderstandings is not noble or intelligent Its simply selfish.  It is like making fun of a child for not understanding that which adults do.  By continually trying to show how dumb these people are you are being locked in to a lower debate and a lower understanding.  You have won, its time to move on and deal with greater questions.  There is nothing satisfying in telling others how they are wrong.  It is better to understand how you yourself are wrong, and in this way come to understand what is right.

Here’s my reply:

    John,

    A good portion of the problems I often point out go well beyond being simple misunderstandings on the part of the True Believers. Too often they enter into the realm of harmful, not only to the believers themselves, but to those around them as well. The Muslim girl who’s father and brothers kill her because she had the audacity to develop a crush on an American soldier. The young girl who dies from diabetes because her parents decided to sit around and pray for her instead of seeking reasonable medical treatment. Those aren’t misunderstandings, those are examples of idiocy run amok.

    Do I sometimes poke fun at otherwise harmless believers? Yes I do. The thing you seem to forget is that these people aren’t children, they’re adults and they should know better by now. There’s no real debate to be had here to begin with. Most of the True Believers are impervious to reality and will continue to cling to their delusions no matter how good of an argument you present to them. Ridicule is one of the few things that seems to sink in with them.

    When the secular humanists, atheists, and freethinkers are in the majority in this country then perhaps I’ll concede that it’s time to move on from my puerile antics, but until then…

    Les

6 comments

  1. This seems to me to be akin to moderate atheists telling the outspoken atheists like PZ to shut up. It’s pointless, pisses people off, and communication between both sides comes to a stand-still or turns into pissing match. When in reality it much more effective to let people say what they want and you the listener chose what to listen to.

  2. If everyone shuts up because it might be impolite to say something, eventually no one says anything because anything anyone says can be taken the wrong way by someone.

  3. John Kraft: There is nothing satisfying in telling others how they are wrong.

    That’s so fucking wrong, and I’m glad I said it.

    I would also argue his other claim that it’s better for us all to understand how we’re wrong and through our wrongness come to understand what it right.  What kind of jibber jabber neo zen crap is that?  Instead, I would think it’s better to simply accept that none of us are perfect.  Regardless of our relative personal merits, there are still some profoundly and stupendously idiotic ideas in the marketplace. Many of those have their source in holy writ and are believed without reservation by lots of otherwise intelligent people. 

    To ridicule intelligent people who do and believe stupid things is our duty as moral atheists.

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