The end of the “angry atheist”January 2, 2011 — Deacon Duncan
Well, folks, it’s time for my weekly dismantling of Christian apologetics, but I’m afraid it’s not going to happen. As some of you have pointed out, Lewis is appallingly easy to deconstruct and falsify, to the point that the continued effort is becoming both tedious and repetitive. Also, my own life is taking somewhat of a different direction, and in the spirit of the New Year, I’ve been doing some thinking and course correction.
I’ll give you a little of the background below the fold, but if you’re impatient, you can just skip to my new blog over at Changing Religions.
It was early in the year 2000 that I admitted to myself that I no longer believed the Gospel, a confession that was followed by a good few years of “angry atheist” mode. I’d wasted the first 40 years of my life on a swindle and a con job, and I was seriously pissed off about it. I turned up on Usenet in talk.atheism, and made almost a career out of mocking and haranguing those few smug, self-righteous, and self-appointed evangelists who showed up to share with us the good news that we were all going to hell.
Eventually I mellowed out somewhat, and ceased raging and lashing out, at least publicly. I still harbored a deep resentment that would occasionally spill out, but by and large I moved on. I retained one lesson I learned, however; a seed from a chance remark by a Christian I was arguing with. He informed me, with predictable smugness, that I was a worshiper too: I worshiped the truth. He thought he was accusing me of idolatry, but it struck me that worshiping the truth was not really a bad idea, and that Truth made a far better God than anything he could come up with.
Thus was born my vision of Alethea as the One True God. I originally used it against him as a purely trollish maneuver, mocking him by showing how my “god” was better than his despite not even being a real god. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to see how Alethea might actually fill the role a genuine God would really play, if such a thing existed. Not of course the kind of Divine Person you might see walking down the street, but then again would a genuine deity be either? If you’re omnipresent, you can’t walk down the street, because anywhere you might go, you’re already there!
Anyway, the idea grew on my. I played around with it some, but wasn’t all that active. Then my home state passed a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage—a purely spiteful act of Christian persecution against gays that got me riled. I started Evangelical Realism partly to exercise my faith in Alethea, but mostly to speak out against the vile and hateful religion that was abusing the law to oppress an innocent minority. The angry atheist rose up again, and I was out to strike some blows against tyranny, ignorance, and superstition.
This is 2011, the first year after my first decade as an ex-Christian, and I think it’s time the angry atheist went away. I needed him for a time, and I think he may even have done a teensy bit of good while he was here. But now there are better things I could be doing, and I’m anxious to get started doing them. I’ve become comfortable and even predictable in the things I’ve been doing, and it’s time to shake that up.
So I’ve started a new blog, Changing Religions, that builds on the understanding I developed on my post about “Getting Religion.” Some of the comments on that post were along the lines of “Yeah, but what can we do?” and I even ended the post with a question about who will bell the cat. But the more I think about it, the more I think we can do something, and I think it’s time we, or at least I, gave it a try.
So thanks for all your support here at ER. It’s been good to have you all as readers and commenters. Some of you may want to join me at CR, some of you may not find its new direction entirely palatable. Either way I wish you all the best of luck.
ER probably won’t go away entirely; I may have a new post here now and then, and someday I may even finish the series on Mere Christianity. I’m going to focus the bulk of my attention on the new blog, though, so for those of you who will be joining me there, see you later, and for the rest, farewell.