Thursday, February 15, 2007

On the debate over The Blasphemy Challenge: What Will The Neighbors Say?

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I've been reading posts at various blogs about the debate over the Blasphemy Challenge particularly at Debunking Christianity. Some say that the Blasphemy Challenge is a bad move in some political game "we" are playing to get atheists liked by Christians, or "America," or something like that. Well, that's the way I'm seeing this.

Here's my take:

I hope that no one makes the mistaken assumption that these (mostly) young people are making some sort of cheeky political move. I don't agree with making it into a political move, either, because politics are necessarily dishonest. It's, well, gross.

Many of these individuals making the statement are asserting something so much more important than joining some "movement" called capital A "atheism." It's almost opposite: they are claiming moral independance for themselves. They are pointing an accusing finger, yes, at the systems that claim to own them, but it's much more important that they are saying to themselves "I am now responsible for my life, not a god," and probably not anyone else.

To take this away from these individuals and suck them into a "movement" that can take credit for their courage and use them to attain power is pretty hypocritical. If they want to lose their identities in a Group, that's their choice. But just because that's the way the Others sees it is not a justification for it. They cut themselves off from imaginary entities. Why would anyone want to suck them into another imaginary entity called "Atheism," except to get political power? I see it as dueling ghosts against ghosts: the State, the Church, Jesus, and The Interest Group. (Also "radicals," "centrists," and "extremists.") What about People?

The Blasphemy Challenge, as I see it, is definintely an important thing, and I think it's benefit is already attained by those who asserted it. No need to rub our hands together in contemplation of how to use it. Our own benefit is already there.

And There's More!

I had to come up here again after thinking about this post in the shower.

I had to wonder: have those involved in this debate actually sat down and watched some of the Blasphemy Challenge videos? Or is the individual benefit something completely outside of their thinking? Do they understand the benefit of their own personal deconversion, or, if not, do they actually value their atheism? I'm not trying to say that "anyone who debates this is callous and cold," I'm asking if individuals can try and connect their experience to others'. Isn't the experience these individuals are having the point to this whole thing, or are we just talking about How it Makes "Us" Look?

I'm reminded of the debates in the eighties within the "gay community." Many used the exposure the AIDS crisis gave the "gay community" as an opportunity to shove their weight around and tell gay people how to walk and talk. "We are representatives of the Movement," they would say, "so stop being Nelly Queens."

As if.

I'm certain that, as the Intelligent People You Are, you can see how "Movements" are really great at dictating one's life. Some individuals love nothing more than subjugating themselves to political movements. That's their choice. Some of them also see it as a staus that gives them the obligation to dictate to others who share an aspect that the movement is centered on, as if any individual who possesses this Aspect is now subject to their rules and regulations. It's their Duty! Many saw it as a War, a Culture War, I guess you could call it. What else is going to cause this kind of robot behavior, this protective tribalism?

The surreal thing I see here is that the belief system All Atheists are "supposed to" share is that THE ONLY THING CONNECTING ATHEISTS IS THEIR LACK OF BELIEF IN GODS. (Ahhhh, Mennnnnn!)

So, in the quest for political power, I suppose this one similarity is enough to grant one the reponsibility to either correct behavior or the duty to "represent." I say, "'Nuh-UH!" Hey, teacher, leave us kids alone!

And for Christ's Sake, watch some of the videos before making a Pronouncement about it.

For more disjointed ramblings, (and some audio from the actual videos) check out my podcast, Mondo Diablo salutes the Blasphemy Challenge.

5 comments:

Jim Lazarus said...

To answer your question, I've watched about 70 or so of TBC videos.

- Jim

John W. Loftus said...

Then Jim, you have way too much time on your hands.

Jim Lazarus said...

John,

At the time, you would've been right. I was on vacation, New Years week, when I watched them all.

- Jim

Aaron Kinney said...

The Blasphemy Challenge fucking rules, Jim. Admit it. It is empowering for all those young, delectable, nubile atheists to express their (sometimes newfound) intellectual independence and feel validated about believing in THEMSELVES instead.

C. Andiron said...

This challenge does not accomplish what it sets out to according to the best commentators: here's Gill on Mt 12:31- "'but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, shall not be forgiven unto men:' by which is meant, not every ignorant denial of, and opposition to his deity and personality; nor all resistance of him in the external ministry of the word; nor every sin that is knowingly and wilfully committed; but it is a despiteful usage of the Spirit of grace, an opposing, contradicting, and denying the operations wrought, or doctrines revealed by him, against a man's own light and conscience, out of wilful and obstinate malice, on purpose to lessen the glory of God, and gratify his own lusts: such was the sin of the Scribes and Pharisees; who, though they knew the miracles of Christ were wrought by the Spirit of God, yet maliciously and obstinately imputed them to the devil, with a view to obscure the glory of Christ, and indulge their own wicked passions and resentments against him; which sin was unpardonable at that present time, as well as under that dispensation then to come, when the Spirit of God was poured down in a more plenteous manner."

Ie. the Challenge is merely a 'denial of and opposition to his deity', which is not what the verse is about.
Or as Doc Morey succinctly puts it, "There are some sins you can't commit anymore. For example, you can't throw a rock at Jesus."