Monday, July 7, 2014

... on First Ten Minutes of Madalyn Murray O'Hair's "Consider the Atheist" Speech

Video commented on:
Consider the Atheist
A few others speaking about her first 10 minutes, I only took two out of a bunch and my answer to the latter of the two :

This is a really good speech from 10:43 onward, but she almost lost me with 10 straight minutes vitriol against atheists. The history of the constitution and founders' outspoken contempt of churches is truly fascinating in it's own right; and the massive financial burden of government church subsidies, overshadowing the then 15 year long Vietnam War, is striking.

I wouldn't blame anyone for skipping the unnecessarily long and derisive preamble, but you're missing a treat if you don't listen to the last 35 minutes.

Jeremy Raines
The "preamble" was my favorite part. One day, when religion is virtually extinct, distinctions between non-theists will be much more interesting. I watched it with that point of view, and found it very entertaining.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
+Jeremy Raines
"One day, when religion is virtually extinct,"

When or if? How much of Atheistic thought is simply a not yet substantiated bet on the future?

"distinctions between non-theists will be much more interesting."

Oh, they are interesting now.

Therevada Buddhists, Mencian Confucians, Classic Western Atheism, Raelianism ... none of them Theist, no two very much alike.

And who says "non-theism" implies "non-religion"?

Not sure if you noted it BUT Madalyn Murray O'Hair is (unless wikipedia is a hoax just this article) a fair example that Western Classical Atheism (among non-Theists no one would consider her Raelian or Theravada Buddhist, and hardly Mencian Confucian even) is a sect of Protestantism.

"Madalyn Mays was born in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[4] on April 13, 1919, to Lena Christina (Scholle) and John Irwin "Irv" Mays.[5] As an infant, she was baptized into the church as a Presbyterian.[6] In 1937, she graduated from Rossford High School in Rossford, Ohio."

Presbyterian means Calvinist or possibly (at best) Arminian Protestant. But usually Calvinist.

Her diatribe against the Theistic "non-sense words" is very reminiscent of Calvin's diatribe against Popery. I had a little taste while refuting his take on a major Catholic proof-text against Protestantism: Matthew 28. But him calling Popery "sorcery" in an angry tone (with the word choices I have a hard time imagining him smiling) and her calling "transcendent" and "prayer" and creation" non-sense words in an angry tone (it is audible), it is so much one cultural phenomenon. Not two widely different ones.

Note that her least complex ridden atheist, the primitive one, is one who has intellectually let go of ... not Judaism, not Islam, not Buddhism BUT Christianity.

Another giveaway that Protestantism and Atheism are two successive stages of an anti-Catholicism that shares very many cultural traits.

I agree that negative words are not the same thing as bad words. But negative movements are often, even if good, angry movements. And she and Calvin had about the same anger. They negate about the same thing and in about the same direction. They negate Catholicism and they negate the transcendental and prayerful part of it. As well as the ritual part. She only does it more consistently than Calvin.

That the hate-ridden Atheist is an ex-Catholic may be because Catholicism takes more breaking away from than some other versions or perversions of Christianity. That the fanatical Atheist left Watchtower Society is perhaps because people do not become very different persons just because they change their mind about religion. I did not become an ascetic just because and immediately on becoming a Christian.

To get back to the hate-ridden, ex-Catholic atheist, it is probably partly also due to an Anti-Catholic culture in US. Jews say any Jew who is a Christian or otherwise non-Jewish is a self-hating Jew. What she seems to think of is a self-hating Catholic. A Catholic with a "Galileo complex" if you have heard the phrase.

"we exceptional few and our superior philosophy"


Here we have a very great part of the cultural background history of Atheism in very little verbiage.

I'd have enjoyed a discussion with her as Chesterton enjoyed doing debates with Shaw.

"we exceptional few and our superior philosophy"

It is also one trait which unites Calvinism and Atheism.

7:42 priests found living carnally with their housekeepers!

Ha, I knew the pædophilia scandals were tied to Vatican II. After that era, priests have so many fewer female housekeepers!

10:03 "he is as negative as Columbus, who denied the flat earth"

Was that what he did, or has she been reading too much Washington Irving?

The theory that stated he could not cross the Ocean and find China was neither flat earth, nor the truth there is an American continent between but simply saying parts of the globe would be impossible to survive in.

They more or less thought the Equator was as hot as we have better reasons to believe now that Venus is - a place where a man dies very quickly. And as for the Western "blocking zone" that was thought to be a too turbulent sea.

That theory was what Columbus was - luckily enough rightly so - negative about.

10:22 "he is interested in here and now and sees Theism as irrelevant to human life"

Reminds me a bit of a fictional character of Arthur Conan Doyle. Actually what HE (Sherlock) considered irrelevant to human life was Heliocentrism. Wonder if that trait was also from the doctor who inspired Sherlock's general scientific qualities?

As for Theism being irrelevant for human life, it is pretty inconceivable how a Catholic could come to think so, but very easily conceivable (yes, here I am harping again on Atheism in the Western version being a Protestant sect) how a Calvinism could come to think so, even before shredding the Calvinist remains of the Catholic religion.

Of course a Catholic apostasising could come there too, but only after considering his religion wrong.

As we Catholics know, God is very relevant, both because life is a waiting room for eternity AND our choices are really of importance to our eternal destiny. Calvinists would say a damned man cannot save himself by being pious and an elect could not damn himself by neglecting pieties - oversimplifying, but that is their general tendency.

And also, one more way in which God is relevant, is because God does miracles and hears prayers and rewards virtuous actions even in this life. So, better find out what kind of actions He likes and what kind of prayers He is likely to hear and if there are special places where He is likelier to hear them. Calvinists famously claim (against evidence) the age of miracles ended when the last apostle died and that pilgrimages are a waste of time. Of course, some of this kind of atheist actually do pilgrimages just for the fun of it.

11:06 "a need for a fuller life of mankind" (philosophically as well as etc)

I am not sure if you know of one French man called Charles Maurras.

He was intellectually satisfied, for himself, as a positivist, a disciple of August Comte, one of the guys who would celebrate Columbus Day or Darwin Day instead of Christian Holidays.

But he was also satisfied that for social mores, Catholicism was pretty adequate. I have heard a rumour he converted on his way to the gallows (he was shot or beheaded as "collabo") and I have heard a denial of that rumour. But his master in social doctrine was, for once, not Comte but de la Tour du Pin. A Catholic Christian. Which previously named Christopher Columbus was also.

"no man is an island"

quotation from one poet who was also an Anglo-Catholic "bishop" in CofE or CofI in his time. Like Ussher was.

Was it John Donne?

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